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First-name basis: No more 'Mr.' or 'Mrs.' in the classroom

Teachers at some Ottawa schools are breaking with tradition by asking students to call them by their first name.

Teachers shedding surnames in bid to build rapport with students

It's a given: Some teachers are bucking tradition by asking students to call them by their first name. (Radio-Canada)

Teachers at some Ottawa schools are breaking with tradition by asking students to call them by their first name.

Joel Westheimer, a professor at the University of Ottawa's faculty of education and regular CBC contributor, told Ottawa Morning host Hallie Cotnam that more casual approach to the teacher-student paradigm can help ease tensions in the classroom.

"Students and teachers have to feel comfortable," said Westheimer, who goes by "Dr. Westheimer," "Mr. Westheimer" or "Joel," depending on his own students' comfort level. "I spend a lot of time paying attention to the way relationships are built in my classrooms, and the way students connect with me."

However, the teachers must be comfortable with it, too.

"I never think that teachers should be forced to do this," Westheimer said.

Here's some of the reaction to the new, more casual approach some teachers are taking.

With files from CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning

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