September 2018
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TD Magazine

Eyeglasses on Name Tent

Friday, August 31, 2018

At some point or another, nearly every trainer must call upon a time-honored teaching technique: asking someone to read to the class. Whether it's an activity from a participant guide, a question, or a call-out, this can be a useful technique for getting learners involved and keeping them engaged. However, not everyone likes to speak in front of a group. People have a variety of legitimate reasons for not wanting to read aloud, such as dyslexia or feeling self-conscious about an accent.

So, how can you be sure you call on those who enjoy reading to the class and avoid calling on those who may feel uncomfortable?


If you've ever delivered an in-person training session, you probably know what a name tent is. It's a piece of paper training participants write their names on and fold up as a visual sign so everyone in the class knows what to call each other.

Here is the technique for using the name tent to your advantage when it comes to calling on individuals who like to read aloud.

  1. The first time you reach a point when you'd like someone to read aloud, pause and ask everyone to grab a marker or pen and their name tents.
  2. Explain that participants who are comfortable reading in front of the class should draw a pair of eyeglasses on their name tents, right next to their name. Emphasize that it's OK if they do not draw eyeglasses, because not everyone is a comfortable reader.
  3. Ask the participants to return their name tents to their table. Now when you need to call on someone, you can look around the room and focus on asking learners who have drawn eyeglasses.

For some individuals, reading aloud is a great way to absorb information. If they feel confident doing it, saying something instead of listening to it helps them remember. When learners put eyeglasses on their name tents, it's often a sign that they hope to be called on to read.

About the Author

Nikki O’Keeffe is an internal ATD Facilitator. She is dedicated training specialist who delivers a positive, memorable, and meaningful service that repeatedly meets or exceeds the expectations of the client. She has experience creating strategies and visions to ensure training requirements and deliveries are in line with quality, probability, and client need. 

Nikki has worked in varied industries, including education, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. In her role as the global senior training and development specialist at PAREXEL International, her focus was on managing and developing courses for new and existing staff on technical systems, process changes, new products, and soft skills.  Her educational background includes a BA in psychology from Butler University and a master’s degree in exercise science, health, and wellness from Northeastern Illinois University. Her specific areas of interest include virtual training, facilitation techniques, and mentoring new trainers. 

Nikki is skilled at providing face-to-face and online learning programs for global participants of varying experience levels. In addition to delivering training, she has performed training needs analyses to identify gaps and recommend training solutions, worked with SMEs as a consultant to develop courses and curriculums, and evaluated programs for effectiveness. 

As a certified ATD Master Trainer and certified ATD Master Instructional Designer she understands the value of solid training plans and strong facilitation. Nikki looks forward to sharing her experiences and expanding her knowledge base by learning from her participants in the upcoming ATD courses that she leads.

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