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Small Classrooms Essay

1690 words - 7 pages

Small Classrooms

One of the things that many teachers at Grace Dunn Middle School complain about is the large number of students they have in each class. Likewise, I face this situation in my classes; and since the start of observation there have been a few more additions, thereby making one class twenty-five in total. There are disadvantages for teachers and students in large classes; yet schools, especially in urban districts, still allow them. Although not all large class sizes signify poor academic and social performance, classes with students that are at-risk or classified cannot provide them with proper education and attention. However, in small classrooms, teachers have ...view middle of the document...

In addition, there are more direct interaction between the teacher and students. There is less competition between students for the teacherfs attention when there are fewer students in the class because with fewer students, the teacher can provide more attention for each student (Finn 18). Thus, teachers can create more student-oriented learning activities. For example, class discussions are more effective in smaller classrooms because students are more engaging and more likely to volunteer (Meier 109, Finn 18). In addition, individual students ask more questions because they are familiar with each other, and it also gives each student more time to speak (Handley 2). For example, when classes exceed twenty students, discussions in classes have less impact because the teacher is focused on allowing every student to speak at least once as a way of promoting class involvement. As a result, the teacherfs attention is diverted from providing an in-depth discussion. However, in a smaller class, a teacher has less students to facilitate; thus, if a student makes an important remark, the teacher can take the time to focus on that specific topic.

The most advantageous aspect of small classes is that teachers have the opportunity to be more personal with the students. This is especially helpful for students who have learning disabilities or emotional stress. (Meier 111) Teachers have the availability to approach students and build a firmer relationship that exceeds the boundaries of academic learning. This can also foster better communication between parents because teachers have a better understanding of the students and students are more comfortable to approach teachers when they have a problem. Given that I am in an inclusion class, I have observed that the inclusion teacher is more personal with her students and also have a better understanding of their familial situation. Even though, she has access to such information, when she is in the classroom, the interaction between her and the students, compared to the cooperative teacher, is dramatically different. Students are more willing to approach her with real problems and are more truthful with her. They share more private details about their lives so that she has a greater understanding of their emotional and psychological welfare. Also, with fewer students, teachers can personalize assessment (Handley 3). For instance, teachers can keep more detailed logs of student process in their social and academic progress. They can also take time to share with individual student their performance in class so that the students are conscious of their own learning process. Instead of using a standardized system of assessing student performance, teachers can assess their students by using individualized portfolios and projects, which gives them the opportunity and the ability to provide detail-specific feedback on their work.

Student dynamic with the teacher and with peers also...

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