Does small size class work?

Implementation of small size class is prevalent nowadays. On one hand, students divided into small groups can stimulate them take part in the lecture more interactively (Kenndy, R. , no date). However, on the other hand, someone believed that small size class would increase student anxiety as some students would be shy or inactive when participating in a mini-group (Schreiner, E. , no date). Thus, we are going to explore the advantages and disadvantages of small size class in this passage.

 

Firstly, according to the organization of class size matters (no date), it pointed out that students who had been taught in a small size class would have a higher grades and lower drop-out rates. Also, it also mentioned the result from national survey which carried out in 2008. In this study, it showed that about 76% of the teachers in first year of university recognized reduction of class size would be an effective way to improve the teaching quality of teachers. Jedeikin (2013) also recognized that smaller class can increase the class attendance as it is easier to notice there is someone missing in a smaller class. Moreover, students would have more chance to learn and be given feedback from peers.

 

Nevertheless, there are still some drawbacks of small size class. Chen (no date) indicated that as classes were divided into smaller groups. Thus, there would be an increasing demand of teachers. In  fact, there is a problem that the number of teachers can’t fit the demand of small size classes.

A website also indicated that some schools began to employ the teachers where were not qualified (GreatSchools, no date). Moreover, Chen also pointed out that some studies showed that even students can get better grades in small classes, this improvement is not long-lasting.

 

From the above, we can clearly see that reduction of class size can improve students’ grade. In addition, teachers’ teaching quality can be improved as well. However, resources for implementing small size classes may not enough, such as limitation of qualified teachers.

 

 

Reference

 

Chen, G. (no date). Smaller Class Sizes: Pros and Cons. Retrieved 26 October 2013, from http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/18

 

 

Class size matters (no date). The Benefits of Smaller Classes. Retrieved 26 October 2013, from http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/benefits-of-CSR-6-10.pdf

 

GreatSchools (no date). How important is class size?. Retrieved 26 October 2013, from http://www.greatschools.org/find-a-school/defining-your-ideal/174-class-size.gs?page=all

 

 

Jedeikin. J. (2013). 5 benefits of a small class size. Retrieved 26 October 2013, from http://www.phoenix.edu/forward/perspectives/2013/01/5-benefits-of-a-small-class-size.html

 

 

Kenndy, R. (no date). Why Small Class Sizes Work. Retrieved 26 October 2013, from http://www.boardingschoolreview.com/articles/73

 

Schreiner, E. (no date). Disadvantages of Teaching a Small Class. Retrieved 26 October 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/list_7324788_disadvantages-teaching-small-class.html

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Learning outside the classroom

In this week, I am going to talk about outdoor education. Outdoor education can be referred to experiential learning in the external environment (Cameron, D. , no date). According to Institute of outdoor learning (What are the benefits of outdoor learning, no date), outdoor education would improve personal and communication skills. Moreover, it also increases physical and mental health. On the other hand, however, Jacobsen, K. (2012) showed that outdoor education might not suitable for all students. It depends on students’ temperament. In this passage, we are going to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of outdoor education.

 

Firstly, there are lots of pieces of evidence that supported outdoor education exerts benefits to students’ learning. Research showed that external environments have a potential to improve learning education, personal and social development (Mirrahmi et al., 2011). In addition, outdoor learning cultivates students’ passionate in learning, fosters critical thinking, enhances leadership qualities and makes students become real-world problem solvers ( National Environmental Education Foundation, no date). Besides, a case study also showed that the participant had greatly increased his score on different subject and class participation after changed to outdoor learning (Oliver, A. , no date). 

 

Then, despite outdoor learning plays an important role in education, it also exists limitation. Jacobsen, K. (2012) displayed that individuals’ temperament would also affect the efficiency of outdoor learning on students. On one hand,students with an easy or a withdrawal temperament are suitable in both indoor and outdoor learning environment. On the other hand, outdoor education would be more suitable for students with a difficult or a mixed temperament.

 

From the above, we can clearly see that outdoor learning benefits students in learning. By learning in external environment, students can increase their learning enthusiasm and their academic result. Still, outdoor education has its disadvantage. This is to say, it is not suitable for all students. Therefore, if educational sectors want to implement outdoor learning, they have to firstly examine student own temperament.

 

Personally, I agree that outdoor education is a more interactive way in learning. Nevertheless, it is obviously not suitable for all students. It is important for teachers to examine students in terms of their behavior and attitude before implement outdoor learning.

 

Reference list

 

Cameron, D. (no date). What is outdoor education. Retrieved 18 October 2013, from http://www.ardroy-oec.co.uk/schools-outdooreducation.asp

 

Institute of outdoor learning (no date). What are the benefits of outdoor learning. Retrieved 18 October 2013, from http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=213

 

Jacobsen, K. (2012). Individual Differences and Possible Effects from Outdoor Education

Long Time and Short Time Benefits. World Journal of Education, 2(4): 20-33

 

Mirrahmi, S. Z., Tawil, N. M., Abdullah, N. A. G., Surat, M., & Usman, I. M. S. (2011). Developing Conducive Sustainable Outdoor Learning: The Impact of Natural Environment on Learning, Social and Emotional Intelligence. Procedia Engineering, 20, 389-396.

 

National Environmental Education Foundation ( no date). Benefits of environmental education. Retrieved 18 October 2013, from http://www.eeweek.org/pdf/EE_Benefits.pdf

 

Oliver, A. (no date). The Benefits of Outdoor Education and

its Effects on Reluctant Learners. University project. Retrieved 18 October 2013, from http://www.smcm.edu/educationstudies/pdf/rising-tide/volume-2/VOL2-article3.pdf

Study in group? or individually

The topic that I am going to talk about is the efficiency of group studying in learning. In fact, group studying is a prevalent phenomenon in education. In other word, some students prefer it rather than individual studying. According to Fleming (Would Group Study Improve Your Grades? College Professors Think So!, no date), students who took part in cooperative learning would be more likely to follow the studying schedule, write organized notes, and participate actively in learning. However, unable to acquire knowledge in a large portion and affected by irresponsible group mates would be the disadvantages of group studying (Clumeck Muchnick, no date). In this passage, we are primarily going to discuss the comparison between group studying and individual studying , and lastly discuss the limitation and suggestion of group studying.

 

Firstly, we are going to discuss the advantages of group studying. According to the study from Gökçe (2011), students thought group studying would make them involved in learning more actively, found studying more interesting, cultivated friendship, and developed responsible attitude in cooperation. Besides, the perspectives of teachers also exhibited that group learning enabled students to develop solidarity, cultivate communication skills, and acquire knowledge in a more enjoyable way. Moreover, one website (Is group study more efficient than independent study?, no date) also showed that group studying enables students would be more motivated to absorb knowledge, less stressed in studying, and more interacted with others.

 

Then, although there are lots of advantages of group studying, there are still some shortages of it. Based on the study of  Gökçe (2011), despite it showed that students showed more active in learning, group studying existed some limitations. In terms of the opinion of students, they argued that task responsibility were not evenly allocated. Besides, they also thought that group discussion produced a lot of noise which made them can’t be concentrated. On the other hand, teachers recognized that every students didn’t take the task responsibility in an equally level. Also, it takes time from group forming until task completed.

 

Lastly, it should be noted that there is limitation in Gökçes’ study. As the participants were all from primary school, this study can’t provide a convincing result. Therefore, further study of group studying in learning should be expanded into different educational sector, such as secondary school. In fact, although group studying has lots of benefits, it still contains some drawbacks. Therefore, it is suggested that teachers should be involved in group studying. For example, they should check the schedule of students’ work regularly in order to prevent procrastination. In addition, teachers should assign task to students according to their individual ability and thus to increase efficiency.

 

Reference list

 

Clumeck Muchnick, C. ( no date). Working with Study Partners or Study Groups. Retrieved 12 October 2013, http://www.netplaces.com/study-skills/tests-and-exam-preparation-tips/working-with-study-partners-or-study-groups.htm

 

Fleming, G. ( no date). Would Group Study Improve Your Grades? College Professors Think So!. Retrieved 12 October 2013, http://homeworktips.about.com/od/homeworkhelp/a/study.htm.

 

Gökçe, E. (2011). The influence of group studies techniques upon teaching & learning

process in elementary education.Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15 (2011) 3947–3956.

Is group study more efficient than independent study? ( no date). Retrieved 12 October 2013, http://www.wisegeek.com/contest/is-group-study-more-efficient-than-independent-study.htm

Chunking – An effective strategy exert postive effect on learning

A chunk is a meaning unit of information, such as a group of character or number (Gerrig and Zimbardo, 2010, p. 202). Thus, the process of creating a chunk on the basis of similarity (SpringReference, 2013). Acorrding to George A. Miller (Malamed, no date), he stated that working memory is limited in gaining new knowledge. Morever, cognitive researchers showed that the effectiveness of woking memory is based on the types of information which required to process and the person’s ability of creating chunk (Malamed, no date). Therefore, once the space of working memory was exhausted, incapbility of obtain new items would be occured. In this writings, we will use two pieces of evidenece to support chunking is an operative method on learning.

 

Firstly, according to Nagel ( How ‘Chunking’ speeds up your language learning, no date), chunking was useful when people were acquiring new language. Furthermore,  he explained this method by using of learning Arabic language. For example, “mish ma3aya filus kifaya” means “I don’t have enough money”. In fact, we don’t know the meaning of this sentence. However, we can refer those words in terms of chunk and after a several times of repetition over times, we will get use to this sentence and retrieve it out efficiently when faced with certain kind of situation. Therefore, chunking can deal with the difficulties of learning new language.

 

Then, Steven (1981) showed that transformed verbal into meaningful units improved students’ reading ability in high school student. He provided students with two form of reading test, one was presented with the original form and the other one was chunked by drawing slash line between units. The students were required to answer the questions from these two articles. Consequently, students showed a greater marks on answering the “chunked” article rather than the original passage.

 

Although the above evidences showed the efficiency of chunking, there are still some limitations exist. Firstly, the subjects in Stevens’ study just focused on high school student. In other words, it can not provided a convincing result due to narrow size of participants. Moreover, the participants in Stevens’ study were males. Thus, it didn’t provide any consideration of females’ students. Lastly, learning is a wide field which is not just focus on the part of language acquisition. Therefore, chunking might not suitable in other kinds of learning, such as mathematics.

 

Reference list

Gerrig, R.J. and Zimbardo, P.G. (2010). Psychology and Life (19th ed.). United States of America: Pearson Education

Malamed, C. (no date). Chunking Information for Instructional Design. Retrieved 5 October 2013, from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/chunking-information/

Nagel, D. (no date). How ‘Chunking’ speeds up your language learning. Retrieved 5 October 2013, http://www.mezzoguild.com/2011/09/13/chunking-and-language-learning/

SpringReference (2013). Chunking Mechanisms and Learning. Retrieved 5 October 2013, from http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/320485.html

Steven, K.C. (1981). Chunking material as an aid to reading comphrension. Journal of Reading, 25(2): 126-129.