The dilemma of class sizes has always been relevant, probably since the beginning of education as we know it now. Many kinds of research on the subject are available, but the results are inconclusive.
There are always two sides to one coin. Parents and teachers prefer smaller classes. But from an economic standpoint, it’s more expensive. So, what is the best way?
To answer this question, let’s see what small-sized classes can achieve. Knowing all the points will help you make the right conclusion.
Good Teacher-Student Relationship
The smaller the class, the more opportunity a teacher has to develop a close relationship with each student. Personal interest matters to people of all ages, let alone children at school or students in universities.
Besides, individual attention is almost impossible in bigger classrooms. To really reach everyone, an educator has to work with extra effort. And if this teacher has many big classes like this, it becomes mission impossible.
Moreover, in view of these days’ pandemic situation and online lessons, smaller Zoom conferences are even more important. With the absence of physical contact, the open teacher-student relationship may fade away completely. So, if the class is smaller, there is more room for good communication and connection.
More Personal Approach to Instruction
In smaller classes, the teacher can notice problems that each student may have. Consequently, it’s easier to help and explain the material in the best way.
For example, imagine that students are getting instruction on how to write their essays. In a smaller group of students, a teacher can address questions of every individual. But in a bigger class, there is no time to attend to everyone.
As a result, the first group is more likely to accomplish the task on their own than the second one. The latter probably will seek professional help from the best essay writing service because they need a good grade but do not have much time to understand how to do it right.
The same goes for Zoom sessions. With fewer windows on the screen, the teacher can communicate with each student. This way, learners are less likely to seek external help or additional explanation.
Better Interaction With Classmates
If the class is big, students separate into groups and communicate only inside those circles. However, smaller classes mean that learners will be able to get acquainted with all their classmates. This, in turn, will make a student more comfortable during discussions and group activities.
Going back to the topic of Zoom lessons or Google class, it’s easier to interact with your peers if around 15 or even fewer windows are open. Otherwise, scrolling through several pages of faces to find your friend might be challenging and demotivating.
With fewer students in the class, a lot is possible. You can work on the topic within the curriculum rather fast. So, the teacher can dedicate spare time to discussing how this material will come in handy in real life. Or they can even talk in-depth about some other topic connected with it.
Thanks to that, students will enjoy the lesson more and will understand it better. They will see how useful the material is and how it is linked with their life. This will keep them motivated to continue studying.
Because of the pandemic situation, teachers may feel a bit lost. They can’t do what they used to do before. And bigger classes wouldn’t help to implement new teaching methods.
Needless to say, teachers are comfortable with smaller classes. It’s a nice feeling when you see that everyone understands the material. You control the situation and do your best.
Hence, students are well educated, and teachers fulfill their purpose. The latter start putting more effort into teaching techniques, which results in a favorable classroom environment and helps improve academic performance.
What Does Official Research Say?
Now, let’s see the statistics. Due to Tennessee’s student/teacher achievement ratio (STAR) four-year project, it became clear that small classes improved children’s performance in the beginning years of study. Later, it stayed the same.
Another research that started in 1989 highlighted that students who originally went to smaller classes performed better than those who started their learning journey in bigger groups.
But in general, there is no conclusive information on the matter because one should take too many points into consideration.
Overall, the class size does matter. But it’s more complicated than it seems. Of course, parents and teachers would like classes to be smaller; yet, it’s under the control of the education system.
However, it’s not the only problem. Even smaller groups of students will not work if the teacher lacks competence and motivation. So, before deciding on the better option, you should consider the quality factor and weigh all the pros and cons.