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Re: [teacherartexchange] class size


From: M. Austin (whest177_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Mar 16 2007 - 11:39:26 PDT

I completely agree with Woody. When classes are too large you end up with
days where it seems every child needs help and you end up with not enough
time to help them. Ideally, I have appx. 2 1/2 minutes per student (high
school level) - every student won't need help every day, but this seems to
be a nice number (20-23). BUT numbers are relevant - a class of 11 of the
right mix of students and the class ends up being more like "40" (our first
grade is like this this year - only 17 of them, but they are a mighty 17!
Full of strong personalities!). On the other hand, a class of 11 highly
motivated students can allow you to try projects you might not otherwise - I
did the tape sculptures last year when my class was small, and they were
awesome! I won't do clay animation with middle school when I have 20+
students, but always do with smaller groups. And you absolutely must teach
differently with smaller groups!

> Class Size: Research can tell you just about anything you want it to.
> I was able to keep my class size at 20 to 23 students. There were times
> that the class became too small (11 to 13) to allow good interaction
> between students. Although really small classes allow you to attempt
> things you would never attempt with a larger group. Some of the benefits
> of reasonable class sizes are: the comfort level or the teacher and the
> student as well as greater personal contact and individual attention.
> I doubt researchers take into account different types of subject
> content or how teaching styles could differ in smaller classes.
> A ceramic class works better with smaller numbers, while a band class or
> vocal music teacher wants a much larger size group. I suspect the
> studies were done on a math or language class. Another problem is
> than few teachers adapt their approach when given smaller numbers
> on the rare occasion it happens.

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