Should Class Sizes be Smaller?

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Should Class Sizes be Smaller?

Andrew, Staff Writer

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Many classrooms consist of a large number of students and a single teacher. Many people think that this is a fine number. However, this can negatively affect the learning of the students. A smaller class size, on the other hand, can boost the learning of kids. Students receive more personalized feedback and attention, students are more likely to participate in classroom discussions, and there are fewer distractions that can occur.

Most classrooms in Wilton consist of about twenty-five kids and one teacher. This can rob students of personalized feedback and attention. A study conducted by RAND, a nonprofit think tank that provides information about the United States to the United States Military, shows that students who received more personalized learning experienced greater growth rates than those who did not receive personalized education, especially in mathematics. “I get it every time I ask for it, but I don’t ask a lot,” says Aarushi, a seventh-grader at Middlebrook. Students in the Wilton School district have many opportunities to seek “extra help” from teachers, you might say. Well, many students can explain their misunderstandings and things that they don’t understand on the spot. Extra help is very difficult to do on the spot with a large class size. With a smaller class, there are fewer other people that the teacher needs to also help, resulting in more time for personalized help.

There is always that student in the class who never raises their hand and never says anything in group discussions. With a smaller classroom size, that can change. Students would feel more comfortable speaking in front of a small group instead of a group of twenty-five students. When students feel more comfortable, it is easier for them to express their ideas and their problems. Students will also form tighter bonds and longer lasting relationships with their classmates.

If a class of twenty-five gets off task, it can be very hard for the teacher to get them back on track again. This is because with a class this size, when one problem is solved, another comes up. It’s like a wildfire. One tree is extinguished and the next thing you know, the tree right next to it is engulfed in flames. After the whole distraction is over, a big chunk of the teacher’s time is lost. A smaller class size is easier to manage for teachers. When teachers are happy, they teach better, which leads to better learning for students.

Many schools still have classes that are made up of twenty-five or so students. However, this can lead to poor learning for the students. If class sizes can be reduced by five students, the students in the class would receive a better education consisting of more personalized help, more student participation, and fewer things to throw the teacher’s lesson plans out of the window.    

Citations

Pane, John F., Elizabeth D. Steiner, Matthew D. Baird, and Laura S. Hamilton, Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2015.

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