Friday, March 02, 2012


A poll of 3000 teachers run by the parenting club website revealed that roughly half of teachers make assumptions about children based upon their first names. Their judgements are shown below and are pretty accurate. (Read my books for a description of the game Top Set- Bottom Set)

Naughty Boys                                Naughty Girls

1. Callum                                       Chelsea
2. Connor                                       Courtney
3. Jack                                           Chardonnay
4. Daniel                                         Aleisha
5. Brandon                                      Casey
6. Charlie                                        Crystal
7. Kyle                                            Jessica
8. Liam                                            Brooke
9. Jake                                             Demi
10. Brooklyn                                   Aisha

It's interesting to note that 8 out of 20 bad kids' names begin with a 'c'

Now we move on to children assumed by teachers to be clever

Boys                                                         Girls

1. Alexander                                             Elizabeth
2. Adam                                                   Charlotte
3. Christopher                                           Emma
4. Benjamin                                               Hannah
5. Edward                                                  Rebecca
6. Matthew                                                Abigail
7. Daniel                                                    Grace
8. James                                                     Alice
9. Harry                                                      Anna
10. William                                                 Sophie

Pretty accurate, I'd say.
Please do not write in to say that your daughter Aisha is very well behaved, as I do not want to know. Buy a book on statistics instead.


Anonymous said...

I read a study once that of words people find funny a high percentage started with the /k/ sound. Wonder if that ties in here.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Why does poor Daniel appear on both lists? Is he a bit bipolar?

Anonymous said...

This comes as no surprise to me. the chavvy names in the 'Naughty List' are a common feature among the kids I deal with on a fairly regular basis. Most of them seem to lead a dysfunctional life, with little or no boundaries, either with one, usually unemployable, parent or in local authority care. One girl I saw a while ago had been named Vanilla (I kid you not) by her alcoholic mother because she thought it 'sounded nice'. The poor kid will, unless she has the gumption to change it, be stuck with this ridiculous name for the rest of her life.

On the other hand, I can't remember when I last dealt with a child with a name from the second list, it must be at least a year or more.

What do I do? Volunteer Panel Member for Ruralshire Youth Offending Service.

Anonymous said...

> roughly half of teachers make assumptions about children based upon their first names

rather, roughly half of teachers **admit to** making assumptions etc

Kimpatsu said...

How come Daniel makes both lists? (It's also my nephew's name.)

Anonymous said...

Suggestion as to how Daniel makes both lists:

Respondents were probably NOT asked to list the names themselves from memory, but were rather provided with a list of, say, 50 names for each gender, and asked to pick ten they'd assume clever and ten they'd assume naughty.

No individual put Daniel on both lists, but enough put him one or the other that he made the chart on both.

With a sufficiently short list of names to choose from such a result is near inevitable.

L K Jay said...

You have also forgotten the name 'Jordan', which should be avoided for both boys and girls if they are to avoid annoying the entire education system and ending up in prison in later life!

If I see the name Jordan on a class list, my heart sinks..

Misspre-school said...

I actually love your book! In the middle of reading it now, and it has inspired me to start my own blog with my own experiences of working with children!

Anonymous said...

and if she's called Anne-Marie, she's being shagged by her uncle

English Pensioner said...

I'm glad my grandson comes in your list of "good boys". However, I think that he is going to defy the statistical norm unless there's a sudden change in his behaviour within the next eighteen months!

window blinds said...

It's so hard to believe people would make those kind of assumptions, particularly teachers!

Anonymous said...

In my daughter's class, one of the top and bottom set has 5 girls in it - all their names end in -ie or phonetic equivalents. (Only 2 out of 14 in the control group) Is that enough information for Top Set Bottom Set experts to determine which of the two they are?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised 'Aisha' is on the naughty list, it goes against all the racial stereotyping regarding Asian girls being well behaved.

gobbyteacher said...

We had a TA who used to claim she could set by firstname, and I was recently provoked by a berk called 'Liam' into seeing if there was any merit in it. I've posted the actual numbers on my blog (shameless plug) but I did the following:
a) extracted from sims all first names of boys, along with any notices of class expulsions, b) grouped by Gaelic name versus non-Gaelic, c) totted up the numbers. Guess what? if the child has a gaelic first name then he's 15% more likely to be a headache... what can I say?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

As someone who has called his kids Elizabeth and Alexander I've got to say how true it is