My name is Joris and depending in which etymological name dictionary you look it up, it means either farmer or dragon killer. I kind of prefer the first one. The long o sound in Joris doesn’t really exist in English amongst other languages and has proven quite tricky for family, friends and people I work with. They usually call me Yuris or Jures. On my first birthday card from my in-laws it said: “Happy Birthday Yurine”. You do get used to people mispronouncing your name though. What’s in a name anyway, right?
Learning to pronounce students’ names correctly is part of building positive relationships, a key aspect in holistic education. Ambereen Kan baker wrote: Pronouncing students’ names correctly conveys important messages: I care about you, I accept you, and you are important to me. By modelling this behaviour, teachers can cultivate a classroom climate that is equitable and fair to students.”
“Mispronouncing a student’s name truly negates his or her identity, which, in turn, can hinder academic progress,” says YeeWan, who also serves as director of multilingual education services at SCCOE.
When my students were asked to write a quote about their home language, many of them wrote about the mispronunciation of their name because it mattered to them.
It just proves how important it is. Is it that difficult to practise pronouncing a name? That’s all it takes really, a little practice. Considering how much we expect our students to learn in a school year, the least we can do is listen to how to pronounce their name and then practise saying it.
In the beginning of a school year we often do just that. Everybody pronounces each other’s names and we give each other a score between 0 and 10. Let them teach you! I think an eight out of ten is the minimum in order to proceed. However, once in my teaching career I didn’t get past a 5 when attempting to pronounce an Icelandic name which in itself was a tongue twister. In the end, he was much happier to be called Jay.
We learned how to pronounce the names Dostoyevsky and Schwarzennegger and we must now, also give value to the names of the students and families we serve!
Dr. José Luis Medina Hernández Franco López Jr. Díaz-Cruz!
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Yurine, yuris , Juris, yoris, aka …..
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