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Say My Name in Coventry Schools

To celebrate the diversity of names in Coventry Schools, the Community Values Education Programme team, led by Dr Jane Bryan, is working with local schools to collect and showcase the name stories of young people in Coventry.

We are keen to work with School Partners to share the message about the importance of names and to celebrate the name stories of our school communities.

If you are interested in working with us, please contact Dr Jane Bryan at 

Research undertaken by the University of Warwick has shown the importance of respecting names and the negative impacts of routine name avoidance or mispronunciation/misspelling of names.

In collaboration with staff and students whose names are regularly mispronounced, we have developed some simple guidance on name use and some suggestions for activities that celebrate the importance of names.

The Name Story project

Celebrating names in class: teachers' guide

Preparing for lessons on names

  • To set the context for this important work, listen to this video on why pronouncing students’ names correctly matters to her and other students
  • To create a respectful learning community, it is important to establish norms for creating a safe space for students to engage in dialogues about names, identities, respect and empathy. Examples include: 1). Be present, 2). Show respect, 3). Be open and listen to ideas of others, 4). Speak your mind, etc
  • At the end of each lesson, it is recommended that teachers provide an opportunity for students to make connections with prior learning by asking questions such as, “How does what we learned today relate to yesterday’s lesson?”

With thanks to Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) for these guidelines

Collecting name stories activity

'Tell us your name story' exercise

Sharing stories about our names can be an effective, inclusive way to learn a little about the person behind the name and their culture, and to build community through making connections between people.

This name sharing exercise can be carried out in the classroom and can take various form (see this example shared by Sheffield Hallam University).

This exercise can be extended to give students opportunities to talk to others, undertake research, present their findings and to build intercultural awareness:

  • Students can research their own name online or by talking to their families
  • Students can research their family’s names or the names of others
  • Students can research and explain naming practices in their own family or wider culture

Further prompts for discussions on the importance of names

Sharing name stories may lead to discussions around getting names right.

  • Students might be encouraged to consider how they feel when they encounter a name that is unfamiliar. Do they have any tips that help them get the name right? How do they think the name-bearer feels when they get their name wrong?
  • Perhaps students might share the first time they realised their name might get mispronounced or misspelt by some people. They might be specific and give examples, perhaps sharing what they said or did or felt at the time or afterwards.
  • Students might reflect on how mispronunciations/misspellings make them and/or others feel more generally and if they change their behaviour as a result (perhaps adapting their name/avoiding names). Students might consider if mispronunciation/misspelling does or might change how someone feels about their name or their place in a community.

Celebrating name stories

The University of Warwick are collecting name stories in an online showcase. To be a part of it, please consider sharing your name stories with us. We are happy to provide digital posters and flyers for your school community, such as this example here.

Share your name story

We would love you to tell us your name story – either by writing it down, or by making a spoken-word audio or an audio-visual recording – whichever you prefer!

There is no right or wrong way to tell your name story, but we can give you some tips and guidance

Guidance and tips

My Name is ...

Tell the story of your first name and/or your family name. What do your names mean FOR YOU – for your self-identity, your family identity, your ethic identity. How does your name make you feel? Do you like your name? Can you talk about how your name was chosen for you? Prefer you chose it for yourself or have adapted your name in some way?

How to share:

  • If you have a name story to share, please contact us using this online form and we will be in touch to explain the process.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Dr Jane Bryan at j dot m dot bryan at warwick dot ac dot uk, Say My Name project lead.

Lady Godiva Statue

Say My Name in Coventry Schools:

Name Story showcase

If you have a name story to share, please contact us using this online form and we will be in touch to explain the process.

University of Warwick/I'm Not a Machine Music - Remix Contest

Students in secondary schools and colleges in Coventry and Warwickshire are invited to submit a remix of the 'From Afar' recording made as part of the Coventry Creates collaboration between the Say My Name researchers and Verity Pabla, music producer.

Find out more and register your interest here.

Winner will have their remix published by Verity.

Deadline for submissions:

30 June 2022