Small Classes Benefit Students
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Published: Mon, 04 Sep 2017
Every year class size reduction is one of the hottest topics. This topic has been studied numerous times, but is often ignored due to financial challenges. Teachers, parents, and students are constantly demanding smaller classes, because it would benefit education and faculty engagement.
There are many aspects that affect the teaching process. Class size is shown to be a major factor. How the teacher teaches, or the student learns all leads back to the classroom. An organization called, Project STAR ( Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio) has studied students since 1985 and found that the size of the classroom does indeed have an affect on the performance of the students. In Joe Agron’s “Good things come in small packages.”, He explains the findings of STAR, “…class sizes from 13 to 17 outperformed students from larger classesâ€¦”. With having smaller class size it creates a more manageable environment, and allows the students to learn more of the content. If schools would reduce class sizes it would up the graduation rate at least ten percent, and more kids will go to college (Argon). When having small classes the student will want to interact more, and not have the fear of not knowing an answer in front of thirty plus kids. The student will be open to learning and being more involved in the classroom. Creating a comfortable environment will cause students to drop out less frequently (Argon). If students are comfortable and more open to school, it allows them to be more eager to take challenging classes and learn subjects on a more advanced level which would later benefit them in college.
Along with the many factors , time plays a big role in students and teachers experience in school. Teachers must have enough time to teach their lessons, and students need enough time to fully understand the topic they are being taught. In Cakmak’s academic journal it states, ” Time is an important aspect in teaching because teachers need time to manage time effectively in order to implement their strategy.” (Cakmak). This meaning if the teacher has less students they would be able to thoroughly teach the content. In the classroom of thirty students, at least twenty of them need more time studying the topic. With having a large amount of students and a small amount of time, only ten of those students are able to fully understand the topic while the rest have to stay behind. The teachers offer tutorials before and after school, but out of seven class periods about one hundred and forty students are coming in for help. If the classes are reduced, the amount of students that need help will drop. This would allow the teacher more time to have one on one with each individual. Class size not only affects younger children, but it also takes a big toll on students who are studying in college. The amount of time a teacher has with a student only shortens as the children get older. The class sizes are constantly growing, once a student enters college they are facing five hundred plus students. In a class that big the professors help or attention is limited to a small portion to the class. There is little to no interaction between the student and teacher. When or if the student needs help on a subject, they are more liable to push it aside because they are not comfortable with speaking to the professor. This will change if the professor was allowed more time to understand each student and know more about them as well as the student knowing their professor. Time and interaction plays a large role in the classroom and is constantly ignored. If they are not allowed either one, the desire to be in school and get help becomes less of a want each day.
The reason behind not having enough time to interact and teach a lesson all leads to the amount of students in the classroom. At any age the teacher must deal with the behavior of the children in the classroom. Everyday a student is prone to act up and disrupt the class, whether it be horse playing or refusing to do work. Having a large class creates chaos with student behavior, which cause the teacher to stop his or her lesson to correct the issues. Each time the lesson is stop, a student is distracted by the situation and has loss focus on the topic. While the teacher is correcting the behavior, the lesson remains on hold and the content is never fully explained. If the student is unable to have the teacher’s undivided attention due to discipline, then they are left with having to figure out the content on their own. According to “Does class size really matter?” less students create a steady environment, ” Teachers believed to cover more content in greater depth and have fewer discipline problemsâ€¦”. Reducing the class size will not completely end behavioral issues, but it will bring it down to a minimum. Each student will then be allowed more time in the classroom, and will allow the teacher to continue teaching a topic with distractions to them or the student. If the teacher spends less time having to correct a student’s bad behavior, it could reduce stress (Johnson. “Hatie”) . Johnson states “…it may seem possible that creating a less stressful work environment for teachers might increase the likelihood they they will stay in the profession.”(Johnson) , class size reduction is expensive, but so is replacing teachers who quit due to the issues in the classroom. If the teacher is pleased, the student will enjoy learning in their classroom. Everything falls back to how comfortable the student and teacher are, and how much of the content is being taught, and understood. If this can be corrected by simply reducing the amount of students put into a classroom, then why is it that the school board is sitting in the shadows.
Reducing class size is a constant worry to most schools, because of the cost they would have to pay to make the classes smaller. When the topic comes up , the tension between the school and parents become more apparent. Every school believes a child’s education is an important aspect of their everyday life, and they would do anything to help them. In the academic journal, “Class size reduction” The National-Parent Teacher Association show that,”…combining funds for class size reduction and professional development into a teacher-quality block grant in the No Child Left Behind Actâ€¦”(The Reading Teachers) this leaves many districts and teacher with having to choose between the two. Providing a better learning environment for students is constantly put on hold until the district can decide whether they want to pay for cost that come along with the change. As the schools and deciding and slowly pushing the topic aside, students a beginning to struggle in the classroom, and fall behind on topics. Everyone praises the “No Child Left Behind Act”, but yet when the chance to help a child is in view of a district, it suddenly disappears. With the way the schools go about this, it leaves parents and students wondering if it is really no child left behind, or are the schools steadily letting the children get lost in the clouds.
Agron, Joe. “Good things come in small packages.” American School & University, vol. 71, no. 10, 1999, p. 10. Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=j020902&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA55204568&asid=351c277ea4eefb7a2527d29a5903182a. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017.
Cakmak, Melek. “The perceptions of student teachers about the effects of class size with regard to effective teaching process.” The Qualitative Report, vol. 14, no. 3, 2009, p. 395+. Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=j020902&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA214102628&asid=83e3ea601a9eafa34a7957694d72d939. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017.
Johnson, Laurene. “Does class size really matter?” District Administration, Oct. 2011, p. 104+. Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=j020902&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA271405507&asid=53f0f28435c3b534c6cc6410f370667b. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017.
“Class size reduction.” The Reading Teacher, vol. 58, no. 8, 2005, p. 739. Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=j020902&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA149253957&asid=d51d5ef20e663437962151cfe8f14a2b. Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.
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