Why Class Size Matters ?

  • By M IBRAHIM
  • 24 Aug, 2017

10 BENEFITS OF SMALL CLASS SIZE

The benefits of smaller classes have been proven in study after study, and a wide range of teachers and educators will give reasons why working with fewer children, improves the atmosphere and overall learning quality in the classroom. Smaller class sizes provide the opportunity for personal attention and additional instructional help when necessary. This article examines the benefits of small class size.

Academic performance is important, but it is not the only measure of student success. In the area of student engagement, findings consistently show the value of small classes. Students talk and participate more in smaller classes. They are much more likely to interact with the teacher rather than listen passively during class. Not surprisingly, students describe themselves as having better relationships with their teachers in smaller classes and evaluate both these classes and their teachers more positively than do their peers in larger classes.

Students display less disruptive behaviour in small classes, and teachers spend less time on discipline, leaving more time for instruction. Specifically, teachers in smaller classes can diagnose and track student learning and differentiate instruction in response to student needs. In smaller classes students spend less time off-task or disengaged from the work of the class, and they have greater access to technology. Research also suggests that smaller class sizes can help students develop greater ability to adapt to intellectual and educational challenges (Bedard & Kuhn, 2006; Dee & West, 2011).


Benefits

(1) EACH STUDENT GETS NOTICED
In a smaller class, it is more difficult for students to hide and get left behind. Fewer students means that each one gets attention from the teacher, and they are encouraged to take part and express their opinions.

(2) LEARNING IS ENHANCED
Students not only do learn more in small classes, they also learn faster. And this means the class progresses through the course material more quickly. Their learning is enhanced by the confidence students develop to share their opinions and ask and answer questions, which also benefits their peers.

(3) TEACHERS CAN TEACH
Teachers at the front of a small class have more opportunities to observe and assess the class as a whole and the students as individuals. Learning is further enhanced when teachers and students can interact spontaneously in the classroom. Teachers can also tailor instruction more individually to each student. LouAnne Johnson, (the education specialist and author of the book My Posse Don't Do Homework) said 'when classes are small enough to allow individual student-teacher interaction, a minor miracle occurs: Teachers teach and students learn'.

National surveys of educators believe that class size reduction is the most effective method to improve the quality of teaching. In a 2008 survey, 76% of teachers said that reducing class size would be "a very effective" way of improving teacher quality (Public agenda, 2008)

(4) BETTER RESULTS
Research has shown that high school students in smaller classes have higher grades and perform better on their university entrance exams. Researchers generally agree that lower class sizes, at least in the earliest grades, are linked to positive educational benefits such as better test scores (John, 2014)

In addition, smaller classes enhance the development of "non-cognitive" skills not captured by tests, like persistence, motivation and self-esteem, which are also linked to success in school and in life (Thomas & Martin, 2014; Philip & Julian, 2009; Heckman & Rubinstein, 2001). 

(5) STUDENTS GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER
With fewer students per class, individuals can connect more closely with their peers and become more confident and comfortable when it comes to sharing their ideas and perspectives. These connections lead to lasting friendships and help students respect and connect with peers who are from different cultures and countries - a skill that is very important in the globalized 21st century.

(6) OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE
Small groups mean fewer voices and that means the students those voices belong to have more chances to speak up in class. They can apply the knowledge they have acquired as they participate in discussions and express their opinions (Leonie, 2015).

(7) FOCUS ON LEARNING
In learning environments with a limited number of students, teachers can spend more time teaching the material and less time getting the attention of those who get distracted. Teachers can also cater to students' different learning styles and ensure that they stay engaged and understand what is being taught (Robert, 2015). 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.

(8) MORE FEEDBACK
Teachers have more time to individualize their feedback, ensuring that each student understands the material, gets the help he or she needs, and is reaching his or her potential.

(9) STUDENTS AND TEACHERS CAN WORK ONE-ON-ONE
Students and teachers can often work together one-on-one, which gives teachers the opportunity to customize instruction and guidance, and students receive their instructors' and mentors' undivided attention. 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.

(10) IDEAS ARE SHARED
With fewer students in a class, there is more time for them to share their own ideas, express their opinions and describe their perspectives and where these come from, all of which enrich improve their world view and general orientation.

Overall, research shows that students in smaller classes perform better in all subjects and on all assessments when compared to their peers in larger classes. These positive effects of small class sizes become more powerful and enduring the longer students are in smaller classes. In smaller classes students tend to score higher on standardized assessments. This is exemplified at Al-Awwal Tuition Centre where we have 8 student per Class, which has constantly helped sustain great results and performance.

 

References

Bedard, K., & Kuhn, P. J. (2006). Where class size really matters: Class size and student ratings of instructor effectiveness. Economics of Education Review 27, 253-265

John, H., (2014) Does class size matter? Research reveals surprises . Retrieved from http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/does-class-size-matter-research-reveals-surprises...

Leonie, H., (2015). The Benefits of Smaller Classes. www.classsizematters.org

Public Agenda (2008) New Teachers Talk About Their Jobs, Challenges and Long-Range Plans. Lessons Learned , Issue No. 3

Robert, K., (2015). Why Small Class Sizes Work. www.boardingschoolreview.org

Thomas, Dee., & Martin.W., (2011) The Non-Cognitive Returns to Class Size. Educational Evaluation And Policy Analysis ; Philip, B., & Julian, R., B., (2009) Reduced-class Distinctions: Effort, Ability and the Education Production Function. Journal of Urban Economics ; Heckman, J., & Rubinstein, Y., (2001) The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED testing program. The American Economic Review .

By M IBRAHIM 24 Aug, 2017

10 BENEFITS OF SMALL CLASS SIZE

The benefits of smaller classes have been proven in study after study, and a wide range of teachers and educators will give reasons why working with fewer children, improves the atmosphere and overall learning quality in the classroom. Smaller class sizes provide the opportunity for personal attention and additional instructional help when necessary. This article examines the benefits of small class size.

Academic performance is important, but it is not the only measure of student success. In the area of student engagement, findings consistently show the value of small classes. Students talk and participate more in smaller classes. They are much more likely to interact with the teacher rather than listen passively during class. Not surprisingly, students describe themselves as having better relationships with their teachers in smaller classes and evaluate both these classes and their teachers more positively than do their peers in larger classes.

Students display less disruptive behaviour in small classes, and teachers spend less time on discipline, leaving more time for instruction. Specifically, teachers in smaller classes can diagnose and track student learning and differentiate instruction in response to student needs. In smaller classes students spend less time off-task or disengaged from the work of the class, and they have greater access to technology. Research also suggests that smaller class sizes can help students develop greater ability to adapt to intellectual and educational challenges (Bedard & Kuhn, 2006; Dee & West, 2011).


Benefits

(1) EACH STUDENT GETS NOTICED
In a smaller class, it is more difficult for students to hide and get left behind. Fewer students means that each one gets attention from the teacher, and they are encouraged to take part and express their opinions.

(2) LEARNING IS ENHANCED
Students not only do learn more in small classes, they also learn faster. And this means the class progresses through the course material more quickly. Their learning is enhanced by the confidence students develop to share their opinions and ask and answer questions, which also benefits their peers.

(3) TEACHERS CAN TEACH
Teachers at the front of a small class have more opportunities to observe and assess the class as a whole and the students as individuals. Learning is further enhanced when teachers and students can interact spontaneously in the classroom. Teachers can also tailor instruction more individually to each student. LouAnne Johnson, (the education specialist and author of the book My Posse Don't Do Homework) said 'when classes are small enough to allow individual student-teacher interaction, a minor miracle occurs: Teachers teach and students learn'.

National surveys of educators believe that class size reduction is the most effective method to improve the quality of teaching. In a 2008 survey, 76% of teachers said that reducing class size would be "a very effective" way of improving teacher quality (Public agenda, 2008)

(4) BETTER RESULTS
Research has shown that high school students in smaller classes have higher grades and perform better on their university entrance exams. Researchers generally agree that lower class sizes, at least in the earliest grades, are linked to positive educational benefits such as better test scores (John, 2014)

In addition, smaller classes enhance the development of "non-cognitive" skills not captured by tests, like persistence, motivation and self-esteem, which are also linked to success in school and in life (Thomas & Martin, 2014; Philip & Julian, 2009; Heckman & Rubinstein, 2001). 

(5) STUDENTS GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER
With fewer students per class, individuals can connect more closely with their peers and become more confident and comfortable when it comes to sharing their ideas and perspectives. These connections lead to lasting friendships and help students respect and connect with peers who are from different cultures and countries - a skill that is very important in the globalized 21st century.

(6) OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE
Small groups mean fewer voices and that means the students those voices belong to have more chances to speak up in class. They can apply the knowledge they have acquired as they participate in discussions and express their opinions (Leonie, 2015).

(7) FOCUS ON LEARNING
In learning environments with a limited number of students, teachers can spend more time teaching the material and less time getting the attention of those who get distracted. Teachers can also cater to students' different learning styles and ensure that they stay engaged and understand what is being taught (Robert, 2015). 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.

(8) MORE FEEDBACK
Teachers have more time to individualize their feedback, ensuring that each student understands the material, gets the help he or she needs, and is reaching his or her potential.

(9) STUDENTS AND TEACHERS CAN WORK ONE-ON-ONE
Students and teachers can often work together one-on-one, which gives teachers the opportunity to customize instruction and guidance, and students receive their instructors' and mentors' undivided attention. 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.

(10) IDEAS ARE SHARED
With fewer students in a class, there is more time for them to share their own ideas, express their opinions and describe their perspectives and where these come from, all of which enrich improve their world view and general orientation.

Overall, research shows that students in smaller classes perform better in all subjects and on all assessments when compared to their peers in larger classes. These positive effects of small class sizes become more powerful and enduring the longer students are in smaller classes. In smaller classes students tend to score higher on standardized assessments. This is exemplified at Al-Awwal Tuition Centre where we have 8 student per Class, which has constantly helped sustain great results and performance.

 

References

Bedard, K., & Kuhn, P. J. (2006). Where class size really matters: Class size and student ratings of instructor effectiveness. Economics of Education Review 27, 253-265

John, H., (2014) Does class size matter? Research reveals surprises . Retrieved from http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/does-class-size-matter-research-reveals-surprises...

Leonie, H., (2015). The Benefits of Smaller Classes. www.classsizematters.org

Public Agenda (2008) New Teachers Talk About Their Jobs, Challenges and Long-Range Plans. Lessons Learned , Issue No. 3

Robert, K., (2015). Why Small Class Sizes Work. www.boardingschoolreview.org

Thomas, Dee., & Martin.W., (2011) The Non-Cognitive Returns to Class Size. Educational Evaluation And Policy Analysis ; Philip, B., & Julian, R., B., (2009) Reduced-class Distinctions: Effort, Ability and the Education Production Function. Journal of Urban Economics ; Heckman, J., & Rubinstein, Y., (2001) The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED testing program. The American Economic Review .

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