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If you want to implement SCL, you have to follow this

Last week I have talked about about the advantages and disadvantages of small class learning (SCL). Obviously, SCL has lots of benefits, such as better academic performance, improved learning attitude, and superior teaching quality. Although SCL possess a lot of advantages, drawbacks are still exist. For example, some research shown that current social resources doesn’t fit the requirement of SCL. This week we are going to discuss what kind of factors that should be taken into account when implementing SCL. We will look at the factors in terms of teacher’s personality and teaching strategy.

 

Firstly, the review literature of Wilson, V., Flodenk, R., & Ferrini-Mundy, J. (2001) pointed out the experiment of Pate-Bain et al (1992). In this study, it showed the personal characteristics of teachers in effective teaching condition of  small class learning. This characteristics included enthusiasm towards teaching student, sense of humor in teaching, good communication with student’s parents, and stimulating students through the class activities, etc. Therefore, in this review literature, it is suggested that teachers in small size class should possess those kinds of characteristics. 

 

Then, Wilson, V., Flodenk, R., & Ferrini-Mundy, J. (2001) also suggested that when teachers are trying to implement SCL, they should try to match the lecture program with students’ needs. Moreover, time management in lectures and remain flexible timetable are also the important factors. EnglishClub (no date) also indicated different kind of teaching strategy in SCL. For instance, it mentioned that SCL is a good opportunity for encouraging shy student to express their perspective. Besides, it also emphasized that teachers should take feedback from students in order to know how they feel within the class.

 

From the above, we can clearly see that the teacher’s personality and teaching strategy applied in SCL. In fact, it is obviously that the teaching strategy in SCL is different from tradition classroom. However, Wilson, V., Flodenk, R., & Ferrini-Mundy, J. (2001) indicated that there were still some teachers in SCL didn’t modify their teaching method. Thus, it is necessary to switch the teaching strategy if SCL is implemented. 

 

 

 

 

 

reference list

 

EnglishClub (no date). Teaching Small Classes. Retrieved 2 November 2013, from http://www.englishclub.com/teaching-tips/teaching-small-classes.htm

 

PATE-BAIN, H., ACHILLES, C.M., BOYD-ZAHARIAS, J. & MCKENNA, B. (1992). Class size does make a difference. Phi Delta Kappan, 74, 3, 253-256 cited in Wilson, V., Flodenk, R., & Ferrini-Mundy, J. (2001). Does small really make a difference. A review of the literature on the effects of class size on teaching practice and pupils’ behaviour and attainment.

 

 

 

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5 responses to “If you want to implement SCL, you have to follow this

  1. amalald

    Great topic. I find myself agreeing with your stand point and
    would very much like to share with you some points that will create an effect in a SCL environment. These point can be seen as a disadvantage to SCL but should be seen as the challenges and would validate the common class size and method.
    Attendance Issues-small number of absent students can make a big difference in a petite class. If there are only five or 10 students in a class, two missing students represent a much larger percentage of the class population, making it more difficult for the teacher to continue with planned lessons.
    Lack of Diversity-A smaller class is less likely to represent a diverse cross section of society. Students benefit from being members of diverse classes because they have the opportunity to hear viewpoints that differ greatly from their own
    Fewer Activity Options- Some academic activities require a minimum number of participants. Activities such as small group projects are much harder to implement in a small class because there are fewer students to divide into groups, limiting students’ options
    Increased Student Anxiety-These pupils are uncomfortable in the spotlight and prefer to blend in with the crowd as they move through the process of learning. For pupils of this nature, small classes are far from desirable because in educational settings with reduced student numbers they do not have the same opportunity to mix in with the pack

    Conclusively I agree that the different environment call for different strategies, Wilson, V.,Flodenk, R., & Ferrini-Munday, J.(2001).

    DR. ZÜHAL ÇUBUKÇU. (2012). TEACHERS’ EVALUATION OF STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS.Available: http://essentialconditionswiki.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/61153049/Teachers%20Evaluation%20of%20Student-Centered%20Learning%20Environments.pdf. Last accessed 31/10/2013.

  2. amalald

    Great topic. I find myself agreeing with your stand point and
    would very much like to share with you some points that will create an effect in a SCL environment. These point can be seen as a disadvantage to SCL but should be seen as the challenges and would validate the common class size and method.
    Attendance Issues-small number of absent students can make a big difference in a petite class. If there are only five or 10 students in a class, two missing students represent a much larger percentage of the class population, making it more difficult for the teacher to continue with planned lessons.
    Lack of Diversity-A smaller class is less likely to represent a diverse cross section of society. Students benefit from being members of diverse classes because they have the opportunity to hear viewpoints that differ greatly from their own
    Fewer Activity Options- Some academic activities require a minimum number of participants. Activities such as small group projects are much harder to implement in a small class because there are fewer students to divide into groups, limiting students’ options
    Increased Student Anxiety-These pupils are uncomfortable in the spotlight and prefer to blend in with the crowd as they move through the process of learning. For pupils of this nature, small classes are far from desirable because in educational settings with reduced student numbers they do not have the same opportunity to mix in with the pack

    Conclusively I agree that the different environment call for different strategies, Wilson, V.,Flodenk, R., & Ferrini-Munday, J.(2001).

    DR. ZÜHAL ÇUBUKÇU. (2012). TEACHERS’ EVALUATION OF STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS.Available: http://essentialconditionswiki.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/61153049/Teachers%20Evaluation%20of%20Student-Centered%20Learning%20Environments.pdf. Last accessed 31/10/2013.

  3. amalald

    Great topic. I find myself agreeing with your stand point and would very much like to share with you some points that will create an effect in a SCL environment. These point can be seen as a disadvantage to SCL but should be seen as the challenges and would validate the common class size and method.
    Attendance Issues-small number of absent students can make a big difference in a petite class. If there are only five or 10 students in a class, two missing students represent a much larger percentage of the class population, making it more difficult for the teacher to continue with planned lessons.
    Lack of Diversity-A smaller class is less likely to represent a diverse cross section of society. Students benefit from being members of diverse classes because they have the opportunity to hear viewpoints that differ greatly from their own
    Fewer Activity Options- Some academic activities require a minimum number of participants. Activities such as small group projects are much harder to implement in a small class because there are fewer students to divide into groups, limiting students’ options
    Increased Student Anxiety-These pupils are uncomfortable in the spotlight and prefer to blend in with the crowd as they move through the process of learning. For pupils of this nature, small classes are far from desirable because in educational settings with reduced student numbers they do not have the same opportunity to mix in with the pack

    Conclusively I agree that the different environment call for different strategies, Wilson, V.,Flodenk, R., & Ferrini-Munday, J.(2001).

    DR. ZÜHAL ÇUBUKÇU. (2012). TEACHERS’ EVALUATION OF STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS.Available: http://essentialconditionswiki.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/61153049/Teachers%20Evaluation%20of%20Student-Centered%20Learning%20Environments.pdf. Last accessed 31/10/2013.

  4. psue68

    Hi Elton, your blog is well-written and you provide information such as attributes of qualified teachers and appropriate teaching methods for small class learning (SCL). As you mentioned above, managing time and listening to students’ feedback are two compulsory elements for teaching small classes, fundamentally however, it is also important to understand the purpose of SCL before using it in the teaching curriculum. Therefore I would like to address three issues: 1) demonstrate the main reason of why using SCL; 2) demonstrate different SCL strategies based on the expected outcomes; 3) suggest a better group composition.

    In the classroom, the commonly seen problem is that students receive knowledge from teachers without being interested in the creation of knowledge (Gillies, 2003). While cooperative learning (CL) is proposed as a good pedagogical practice to solve this problem that providing students opportunities to discuss/debate with peers and teachers in order to complete shared goals (Johnson & Johnson, 2002), there are also issues in regard to its implementation. Gillies and Boyle (2010) investigated the problems with CL and found that students rarely generate challenging questions where they are required to think in a deeper and more complex form. They therefore suggested SCL as a solution to its problem, and recently there is also an emerging body of research indicating that the mixed application of CL and SCL can better improve the school outcomes (Veenman et al, 2002; Jalilifar, 2010; Gillies & Boyle, 2010). This suggests that educators majorly implement SCL to facilitate the social interaction between students, promote learning and arouse the awareness of understanding diverse viewpoints and shared attitudes from others (Gillies, 2003; Gillies & Boyle, 2010).

    It is understandable that different expected teaching outcomes can lead to various teaching strategies. Davis (1999) put forward this perspective by suggesting the use of SCL when the teaching outcome is to expect the students to apply theoretical knowledge to a practical setting, or utilize problem-solving skills to a situational scenario. Also he suggested educators not to view small group work as an add-on to an existing course structure, but the aid on shaping the design of the teaching curriculum which helps achieving specific course objectives. Crosby and Hesketh (2004) demonstrated more narrow expected outcomes with different considerations. They suggested that while the outcome is to increase the knowledge base, it would be better to use tutorial, seminar and problem-based learning in the form of small group. Also, teachers should ensure students prepare for the work and ask them to give answers. Secondly, if the outcome is to increase awareness of attitudinal issues, role play and free discussion group would be more appropriate to approach students, and teachers have to be aware of the heightened emotions and understand the arousal of disagreements. Another expected outcome is to enhance creativity, that implementing brain storming as a type of small group can increase the effectiveness. Teachers are suggested to use blackboard and being supportive to students.

    The composition of small group is found as a moderator to increase the effectiveness of learning, where group size, gender and ability play key roles (Dillenbourg & Schneider, 1995). According to Lou et al. (1996), it was believed that a group size of three to four students can improve the learning ability, because students share a larger part of responsibility. Besides, they also indicated an interesting finding that when all medium-ability students were grouped, they perform better than those who have high-ability. In general, Lou et al. suggested that a mixed-ability group would be more preferable for SCL. Webb (1991) indicated that gender appears to be problematic. While boys are more numerous than girls in a group, boys are more likely to interact with each other and isolate the girls; whereas girls tend to spend more time to get the boys involved and ignore the same-sex peer. However, even if the group involves a balanced number of both genders, no significant difference is found in their performance.

    References:
    1. Crosby, J. R., & Hesketh, E. A. (2004). Developing the teaching instinct: Small Group Learning. Medical Teacher, 26(2), 16-19.
    2. Davis, B. C. (1999). Cooperative Learning: Students Working in Small Groups. Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching, 10(2), 1-4. Retrieved from: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/CTL/Newsletter/cooperative.pdf
    3. Dillenbourg, P., & Schneide, D. (1995). Group Composition. In Collaborative Learning and the Internet (Section 3.1). Retrieved from University of Geneva, TECFA Website: http://tecfa.unige.ch/tecfa/research/CMC/colla/iccai95_15.htm.
    4. Gillies, R. (2003). Structuring cooperative group work in classrooms. International Journal of Educational Research, 39(1-2), 35-49.
    5. Gillies, R. M., & Boyle, M. (2010). Teachers’ reflections on cooperative learning: Issues of implementation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 933-940.
    6. Jalilifar, A. (2010). The effect of cooperative learning techniques on college students’ reading comprehension. System, 38(1), 96-108.
    7. Johnson, D. & Johnson, R. (2002). Learning together and alone: overview and meta-analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 22, 95-105.
    8. Lou, Y., Abrami, J., Spence, C., Poulsen, B., Chambers, S. (1996). Within-class Grouping: A Meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66, 423-358.
    9. Veenman, S., Van, B. N., Bootsma, D., Van, D. J., & Van, D. K. N., (2002). Cooperative learning and teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18(1), 87-103.
    10. Webb, N. (1991). Task-related verbal interaction and mathematics learning in small groups. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 22, 366-389.

  5. psp2cb

    I believe that in a SCL environment both the teachers/lectures and students feel more comfortable. For students I believe it is a great opportunity as they are able to ask questions more freely whereas if they were sat in a lecture theatre with 200 other students also attending then it is not as easy to ask questions. They also get to know their peers and are able to interact more comfortably with them. This will no doubt enhance their learning as they are sharing their perspective on what they have learned. Lectures must feel more comfortable lecturing to a group of 12 students in comparison to 200 students. Therefore they will come across more confident about what they are presenting. Another benefit of SCL is that the lecturer gets to know all the peers who attend and therefore knows when someone doesn’t turn up. This gives them an opportunity to get in touch with those students to make sure that they are understanding the material and to see whether they are finding any difficulties within the syllabus. The lecturers are also able to chat with the students after class and ask for feedback and so on. Research has also found that student satisfaction is greater within a small group learning in comparison to large-group learning (Willett, Rosevear, & Kim, 2011). I personally believe that SCL is a huge benefit and I would defiantly choose SCL over a lecture theatre.

    References

    Willett, L. R., Rosevear, G. C., & Kim, S. (2011). A trial of team-based versus small-group learning for second-year medical students: Does the size of the small group make a difference? Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 23(1), 28-30. doi:10.1080/1040/1334.2011.536756

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