The Advantages of Smaller Classes
According to an article published on RationalWiki small class sizes are well known to have many advantages over large ones, to the point where average small class sizes are a positive factor in college rankings. Among the advantages for small classes are:
- Much more individual attention can be given to each student. This is the crux of the matter, and illustrates why private tutoring is so sought after. There are numerous elements to this:
- The class can adapt to the needs and interests of the students more easily, making them more interested in the lessons, and thus more willing to learn.
- Any student having difficulty with a particular lesson is less likely to fall through the cracks. In large classes the instructor might not realize a student is failing to understand the material until that student has failed the test. At this point it is too late, and the class will be moving on to another subject, making it unlikely for the student to ever learn the material in question.
- Small classes foster better student/teacher relations. A teacher in such an environment will learn all his students’ names quickly, and learn their interests. Such a relationship makes it much more likely for a student to seek help from a teacher, when needed.
- It is much easier to cheat in large classes.
- More in depth assignments can be given. A teacher teaching a class of 40 rather than 22 is unlikely to assign more than one comprehensive paper (and rarely even that), is much more likely to rely on multiple choice exams rather than essays, and cannot give nearly as much feedback to each student.
- Smaller groups encourage participation more than large ones. Lecture hall-type classes rarely have any discussion whatsoever, and when they do it is very easy for students not to be involved. In a small class one cannot hide and hope to be overlooked. Participation is often mandatory.
- It is easier to get students to speak up in discussions in front of smaller groups than larger ones.
- Any potential advantages of larger classes have an upper limit. Clearly a class of 40 would be of advantage to no one, whereas smaller class sizes have no downward limit (obviously providing there is at least one student).
- More pressure to attend class, as one’s absence would not go unnoticed.
- Any discipline problems are easier for a teacher to handle when a class is small.
We strive to keep our classes small and not to go for classes bigger than 24.