Posts Tagged ‘Names’

What’s in a Name?

November 25, 2014



I wonder if kids with the name Michael are more likely to stare out the window and think about their lunch:

It has long been claimed that names can influence your chances of doing well in life and now it seems that monikers can impact on behaviour at school as well.

According to a new study, children named Jacob, Daniel, Amy and Emma are the most likely to display impeccable behaviour while those named Ella, William, Olivia and Joshua are most often to be found on the naughty step.

The findings come from a survey that looked at the names of more than 63,000 school children who logged good behaviour or achievement awards in online sticker books.

Those with the most good behaviour awards were named Jacob and Amy, closely followed by Georgia and Daniel.

By contrast, girls named Ella and Bethany and boys named Joseph and Cameron proved to be the naughtiest.

Other naughty names for boys included William, Jake, Joshua and Jamie while recalcitrant girls were also called Eleanor, Olivia, Laura and Holly.

Well-behaved names included Emma, Grace, Charlotte and Sophie for girls and Thomas, James, Adam and Harry for boys.  

Baby names – and their impact on life chances – have been studied for more than 70 years, with the earliest studies finding that men with unusual first names were more likely to drop out of school.

More recent studies have found more correlation between names and social backgrounds, with the parenting skills of mothers and fathers having a more critical impact on future development.

Gregory Clark, the economist behind The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility, found that girls named Eleanor were 100 times more likely to go to Oxford University than girls named Jade.

Although there are proportionally more Jades in the general population than Eleanors, the former was rarely seen at top universities, while the latter was relatively common.

Other common names for Oxford students included Peter, Anna, Elizabeth, Richard and John, while among rarely seen monikers were Stacey, Connor, Bradley, Kayleigh, Shannon and Shane.

The latest round of research into names was commissioned by School Stickers, which creates online stickers for teachers to award to pupils. 

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Teachers Need to Have High Expectations for all of Their Students

February 8, 2014



It doesn’t matter if you have been warned about a student during a handover meeting or are aware of their reputation for misbehavior or lack of performance, your job as a teacher is to give that child the opportunity to start afresh.

Every child should see the beginning of a new school year as an opportunity to improve.  Some students only need to consolidate while others may need to make amends for recent poor habits.

As teachers we should have high expectations for all our students. If we set the bar low then there is no way the student can achieve to their potential. That does not mean we expect straights A’s for all, but rather, that each student works at their maximum and achieves to the best of their ability.

To read that some teachers modify their expectations due to superficial details like the spelling of a child’s name is both disappointing and quite preposterous:

Children who have unusual or oddly spelt names tend to fare worse in the classroom, academics have claimed. 

Teachers may subconsciously lower their expectations for pupils with names such as Destiny, Kayleegh and Chantal.

Alternatively, they tend to predict higher grades from students with traditional names – like Catherine or William.

This may suggest that teachers draw conclusions about pupils’ backgrounds on the basis of their names, according to The Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Meanwhile, what a child is called could also reflect their parents’ backgrounds and achievements. 

James Bruning, Professor of Psychology at Ohio University in America, told the supplement: ‘Clearly all of us use stereotypes about all sorts of things, and names are one of those things.

‘It is a first impression. If you only have a name as a guide then of course you make assumptions based on that.’

Mr Bruning said that if people were asked which of two students – Wa Wei Lee and Kahine Jefferson – was more likely to better at mathematics, most would opt for the Chinese pupil.

This decision would likely be based on an assumption that children of South-East Asian heritage are better with numbers, he said.

It comes as a study of two million children in Florida found that youngsters with traditional names were more likely to achieve higher grades in their end-of-year tests.


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