My Name Is

Listening to this module

My Name Is: Empowering Heritage Identity

Angela Lee-Smith

Name Board    (Image created by Angela Lee-Smith)

  • Educational Setting:

    Grades Grades 1~12/ Post-Secondary levels in community-based/school-based education settings

  • Genres:

descriptive, explanatory, inquiry, narrative, reflective

  • Thematic Keywords:

Heritage, identity, affective, reflection, language, culture, community, connection, Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (JEDIB)

  • Pedagogical Approaches:

Project-based learning, community-based, reflective learning, 21st century skills—critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication

  • Language Levels:

Intermediate-Mid to High

  • General Description:

This module invites students to engage deeply with their identities by exploring and empowering their heritage through their names. Heritage learners explore their identities through their heritage names, which are usually less equally respected, valued, and appreciated than their English names. Students explore the meaning of their names, the person who named them, how they feel when their heritage names are called, what their names mean to them, what memories and experiences are associated with their names, etc. Through this module, students research the origin and meaning of their name, complete the process of discovering their name’s meaning, and feel empowered by their name. This project can contribute to areas where attitudes and practices concerning diversity—one’s name in a language other than English—intersect with inclusiveness, belonging, and social justice issues.

  • Rationale:

Students come from diverse backgrounds. Students’ heritage names may sound unfamiliar to others. When members of a school community are afraid of mispronouncing a student’s name, the student may end up being excluded or marginalized in social or academic settings without anyone intending to do so. Through this project, students learn about each other’s names, explore the meanings of their names, relate stories about their names, and brainstorm strategies for respectfully approaching unfamiliar names. Finally, students create ways to guide and claim that their names are adequately represented within their cultural or personal contexts.

  • Teaching Objectives: 

    • Establish a respectful environment that encourages open discussion about the significance of students’ names.
    • Empower students by facilitating research and discussion about the origins and meanings of their names.
    • Develop a sense of community focused on enhancing awareness and promoting action through the study of language and names.
  •  Learning Objectives:

    • Research on Heritage Name : Students will be able to explore and document the history and meaning behind their names, enhancing family engagement.
    • Explore Personal and Social Identity: Students will be able to analyze how their names influence their personal and social identities and articulate the societal perceptions and challenges associated with heritage names.
    • Develop Critical Reflection and Action: Students will be able to critically evaluate social issues related to heritage names and formulate practical strategies for advocacy and change within their communities.
  • Outcomes/Deliverables:

    • Name Report: Students produce a report or presentation detailing their name’s meaning, associated feelings, and relevant family history.
    • Identity and Social Experience Presentation: Students create a presentation that shares their personal experiences related to their names, explores their identities, and highlights social issues related to heritage names.
    • Action Plan Project: Students develop and document an action plan that addresses social matters tied to heritage names, focusing on justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (JEDIB) strategies (e.g., PSA, Name pronunciation).

My Name Is © 2024 by Angela Lee-Smith is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0by-nc-sa