Challenges of Large Classes

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Advantages of Bigger Class sizes 

Most public schools globally have larger class sizes than private schools. This is due to the fact that accommodating larger groups of students lowers the cost of building extra classrooms, buying extra equipment and hiring more teachers. On the other hand, it is often argued that children from diverse backgrounds bring different perspectives and experiences to the classroom, making for a varied learning environment. 

Advantages of Smaller Class Sizes 

  However, there are several downsides to large classes. Studies show that primary school students benefitted significantly from smaller class sizes, especially those from poorer backgrounds. Students from a similar economic background find it easier to bond with each other, have more opportunities to interact with the teacher and are more confident about their learning. The teacher also finds it easier to manage class time, classroom behavior and generally give more individual attention. There are fewer distractions and the teacher can be assured of greater participation. Besides, she will be able to cover more material and ensure better understanding of the taught content. In addition, she will be able to devote more time to assessments and give tailored feedback. Finally, smaller class sizes could help to spare time for differentiated instruction as well. 

Moreover, the emphasis on student-led classrooms has paved the way for learner-oriented instruction such as the communicative language teaching approach. This approach works optimally with smaller groups of 15-18 students or fewer. Smaller class sizes increase student engagement, achievement and satisfaction. Both teachers and students are reported to feel more comfortable interacting in smaller groups. Not only is it easier to monitor behavioural issues in small groups, but smaller class sizes also promote ‘active learning’ – a term frequently used to define any instructional method which aids learning. 

Conclusion  

While this blog article weighs heavily in favour of small class sizes, the benefits of large class sizes cannot be ignored altogether. With the rising demand for education at reasonable costs, large class sizes will continue to be the norm in many places around the world.  

Do you prefer large or small class sizes? Start a conversation below! 

Mrs. Ozma Siddiqui is an English language instructor and has been in the field of English teaching for over 20 years. She has taught both the tertiary years and the international curriculum to young adults and beyond. Besides teaching, she is a reviewer of papers for the International Journal of English Language and Education. Mrs. Ozma has earned the MA in English Literature and ELT and the MA in Education. She is also qualified as a holder of the Trinity Postgraduate Diploma in TESOL. Mrs Ozma is currently a research scholar in Education and her primary interests lie in second and foreign language instruction, methodology and language acquisition, curriculum and testing.

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