Imagine how much more your child would benefit from an education in a small class.
Consider how much better (s)he would learn if (s)he wasn’t just another number in a gigantic public classroom full of other students.
Here are 10 benefits for students who learn in the smaller class sizes that public charter school are able to offer. These benefits are strong, real reasons why one of the best things you can do for your child is to enroll him or her in a charter school that offers smaller class sizes. Let’s explore each of these benefits together.
1. Students Are Noticed
When class sizes are manageable, each student receives the attention (s)he needs in order to be successful. It is easy for teachers to overlook students when they realistically have too many to focus on.
2. Learning Increases
When students aren’t overwhelmed with massive class sizes, they are able to learn better. Teachers are able to teach better. Overwhelming class numbers easily loses kids in the shuffle. But when class sizes decrease, learning increases.
3. Communities, Not Just Classes
One excellent benefit of small class sizes is that the students truly become part of a community. The interaction and participation that increase as a result of the smaller class size allows each student to develop a sense of belonging to the group.
4. Learning Styles Addressed
Different students learn in different ways. Some learn by doing, some by seeing, and others by hearing. Although all three of these aspects overlap, as in, every student learns by all three of these methods, it is true that each student will have a predominant way of processing information that best results in learning for that individual child. Smaller class sizes allow for teachers to address the unique needs and learning style of each of their individual students. Rather than teaching one big class, the teacher is able to teach a small community comprised of multiple individual learners.
5. One-on-One Interaction
With fewer students pulling for the teacher’s attention, (s)he is able to give individual focus to each student one at a time. Walking through a classroom of 30 students while the kids work through an activity is merely monitoring for management (and survival), but walking through a room of 12 students during an activity is one-on-one teaching and learning.
6. Ideas Expressed
It is easy to feel lost in a crowd. When too many peers surround a student in a class, (s)he is not able to express his thoughts and ideas freely. There are simply too many people vying for the floor at one time and not enough time for each person to share. This, unfortunately, is detrimental to learning. Students need more than a mere input of information. They need to be able to process it and communicate it back to others. This happens in small classes because each student has the opportunity to share and express their ideas and opinions. Furthermore, it also allows for students to listen to and engage with the thoughts of others.
7. Feedback Is Possible
In large class sizes, feedback is often too generic. It has to be. It is impossible to show each student, for example, how to improve his or her writing when 30 students need to see how they each individually need to improve. Large class sizes force the teacher to generalize. If 20 students, for instance, wrote an essay with subject-verb agreement errors, the teacher may address this weakness during instructional time. The idea is to teach to the majority. But what about the other 10 students – the two who struggled with punctuation, the seven who show weaknesses in spelling, and the one who too often changes tense? When classes are small enough to allow for feedback, this problem dissolves. Instead of giving a shotgun blast of generic feedback, the teacher addresses each individual student according to that particular student’s needs.
8. Opportunity to Participate
It is easy for students to blend in with the crowd when the crowd is big. And for the kids who wish to be more involved, it is difficult to participate when so many other kids are already doing so. Students who learn in smaller classes have the opportunity to get involved and to participate in ways that large class sizes tend to discourage.
9. Minimize Distraction
One of the biggest problems with large classes is the difficulty of managing such an environment. Too many students can quickly result in too many distractions and behavioral disruptions. Furthermore, it is just like anything else – the more you have to focus on, the harder it is to focus. If, for example, you have 10 tasks to complete at work, think of how much (or how little) you would be able to focus on every task. Now, imagine you had 30 tasks instead of 10. How much more distracted would you be? How much more difficult would it be for you to manage that responsibility? The same is true for a teacher on his or her job. Managing a small class has its challenges, but trying to manage one that is unrealistically large is beyond difficult. The smaller the class, the fewer the distractions.
10. Enrichment Activities
Since distractions abound in large classes, students end up learning the required material but do not get exposed to supplemental curricula. There simply isn’t enough time for it. However, when classes are small, your child will benefit from exposure to additional enrichment activities. These activities will stretch your child’s education and will richly contribute to his or her experience in the classroom.