The importance of name tags in schools

school badgesPart of what impelled me to pursue a career in education was my vivid memories of childhood. Both the good and the bad aspects have stuck with me throughout my life, inspiring me to become a principal. I wanted to watch the kids grow, and also try to contribute a positive influence. Anyway, so I recently discovered how to incorporate name tags into my school and the benefits of doing so.

Starting out in new school can be pretty daunting for the year sevens. I gave all of my staff name tags of just their first names to bring down that hierarchy which creates a barrier between teachers and students. Teachers shouldn’t be the “boss”of the students, teachers aren’t there as superiors to dictate what the kids to do, nor to force-feed the kids information they don’t want to learn. I believe that teachers are there to facilitate learning, as equals, but having an expertise in a particular topic that the students can gain from. I think more principles should use school badges in Australia.

The first thing that happened when I introduced this new policy was that the kids’ attitudes totally changed. It was like they were no longer treated as disenfranchised inferiors to be pushed around by the rulers of the society. Instead, the kids smiled, used their teachers’ first names which was a bit weird and humorous to them at first, but it really worked to break down that wall between them. Now that the students feel that they’re treated more as equals, there’s less resentment and hostility towards the teachers, and more openness to questioning and learning which is what school should be all about.

This experiment worked to great success in my school but I wonder if it has broader ramifications across society, and if corporate name badges in Australia would have a similar effect. Instead of having all these hierarchical structures in society, we can start by eliminating stultifying titles and refer to each other as equals.