Everyone hears about the uproar when class sizes are increased in an effort to avoid having to increase the budget enough to add a new teacher in a public school system. You probably know that schools with small class sizes are more desirable than schools with large ones; but what exactly is it about small classes that are so impressive? Why doyou want that for your child? There are several advantages to small class sizes that you should consider carefully.
Small class sizes lead to more one-on-one attention from the teacher. Let’s face it: teachers are overworked. They aren’t paid nearly enough for the chaos that they deal with on a daily basis, and they often end up taking work home with them in the form of papers to be graded or lessons to be planned. With smaller class sizes, teachers can get to know each student as an individual, working with them to enhance their strengths and improve their weaknesses.
Students get to know each other better. Instead of your student just being another face in a huge crowd, they’ll be more likely to develop deep and lasting relationships with the other students around them. That also has academic benefit: if your student has a question about the homework, he’ll be more likely to know who to call for a quick chat.
Teachers can tailor instruction more individually. It’s often said that teachers have to teach to the lower middle of the class. Anyone below that level has to fend for themselves, often being left behind in the shuffle, and anyone above it spends most of the class period daydreaming while they wait for everyone else to finish learning a concept they figured out ten minutes into the lesson. No matter which end of the extreme your student falls on, in a small class, the teacher is more likely to be able to tailor the instruction so that it stays on their level. With fewer students, the top student and the bottom student in the class usually aren’t quite so far apart, and the teacher can work with each of them to ensure that they’re getting the instruction that they need.
There’s less disruption. It doesn’t matter how skilled the teacher is when there are thirty-five students in the classroom. There are going to be disruptions. Even the simple act of allowing students to work together on an assignment can lead to chaos as thirty-five voices fill the air–and that’s assuming that the classroom doesn’t come complete with a troublemaker or two. Worse, in a classroom that large, personality conflicts are more likely to occur, and to occur in extremes. Discipline begins to take up more of the class period than actual instruction. In a classroom with fewer students, discipline is needed far less often.
There’s more time for instruction. The more the number of students in a classroom grows, the more time has to be used up each day on administrative tasks. Simply taking attendance takes twice as long with a large class size than a small one: even mid-year, once the teacher knows all the students and can glance up and look for them instead of having to call out their names one by one, they still have to look over a lot more faces for a missing child. Passing out papers becomes a monumental task. That’s entirely aside from the grading process, when teachers in a rush to get through a huge stack of papers are less likely to give individual feedback and more likely to simply give the grade and a quick comment or two.
They’re quieter. Even when everyone in the classroom is extremely well-behaved, thirty-plus bodies in a classroom is noisy. There’s a constant rustling of papers, sniffling noses, students shifting in their seats. For a student with attention issues, those small distractions can be the difference between a lesson that’s understood completely and one that they don’t understand at all.
Source: Method Schools