Posted on

In the previous blogs, I have talk about the advantages and disadvantages of small class learning, the ways to implement it, and the teaching strategies of SCL. In order to find out whether it is beneficial to both students and teachers, the blog of this week I am going to discuss the views of both students and teachers on SCL.

In terms of the teacher’s opinion, Leahy, S. (2006) carried out a study to investigate teacher’s views on the reduction of class size. The researcher used survey as a method to obtain the opinion from participants. As a result, the overall rating showed that the majority agreed that SCL would improve student academic performance. There were seven questions in this survey and six of them were strongly agreed by the participants.

Moreover, the final report of Hong Kong Education Bureau (2009) showed the study of SCL in primary schools. The teachers completed the questionnaire in 2005/2006 and 2007/2008 school years. The results showed that there was almost uniform agreement that teachers felt more comfortable, enthusiasticand relaxed when teaching in a small class. Moreover, the survey also reported that teachers recognized that smaller class enable them to pay more attention to the students and thus cultivate a better relationship between both of them. Therefore, students would be more motivated to study harder. Although there would be a scruple that students couldn’t meet a lot of friends in class, most teachers recognized SCL plays an important role in students academic performance.

On the other hand, Willie Tan (no  date) collected the data from National University of Singapore on 1983 to investigate what kind of factors can determine student feedback on assessing teacher. In this paper, it listed a lot of determinants which included class size. According to the information, it showed that students would rate the feedback score higher when the class size is smaller, and vice versa. Thus, we can predicted that students would show more motivated in learning in a smaller class.

Addtionally, Schulten, K. (2011) wrote a blog on a website and ask students who were thirteen or above to leave a comment to express how they feel about class size factors in learning and whether they prefer small or big class. According to the student’s feedback, all most all of them think that class size is a vital factor in learning. The majority prefer smaller class because they recognized that it was easier to concentrate on class and easier for teacher to manage the class. Some of them even noticed that teachers in a larger class didn’t know the name of the quiet and shy students. Thus, they think that smaller class is not only beneficial themselves, but also the teachers can simply get to know the students.

From the above, it is clearly that the feedback of both students and teachers are positive. Unfortunately, there are just few studies that is related to student’s ratings on smaller class size learning. Therefore, I just found one paper and one website for supporting student’s positive comments on SCL. However, although it is just a commentary on the website, it reflected the real-life situation of students in learning. Therefore, it is suggested that both students and teachers benefited from SCL.

Reference

Hong Kong Eduction Bureau (2009). Study on Small Class Teaching in Primary Schools in Hong Kong, Final Report. Retrieved 23 November 2013, from http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr09-10/english/panels/ed/papers/ed0513-rpt0912-e.pdf

Leahy, S. (2006). A Survey of Selected Teachers Opinions to the Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement among Middle School Students. Language Teaching, 13, 14.

Schulten, K. (2011). Does Class Size Matter?. Retrieved 23 November 2013, from http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/does-class-size-matter/?_r=0&apage=5#comments

Willie Tan (no  date). Determinants of Student feedback scores. Retrieved 23 November 2013, from

http://www.cdtl.nus.edu.sg/publications/studfeedback/Student_Feedback_Scores.pdf

Advertisements

6 responses to “How do we feel about SCL?

  1. psuf1d

    Personally I think a smaller class would be much more beneficial to both teachers and students and current research demonstrated the multiple advantages of such a structure.

    http://www.phoenix.edu/forward/perspectives/2013/01/5-benefits-of-a-small-class-size.html- This article notes 5 key advantages of smaller classes within education. Firstly, tasks such as coursework and homework can be more easily adapted to the skills of the class, one teachers said that ““I’m able to get to know my students right away, and then use that information to tailor my approach to the group so I don’t have to teach in a one-size-fits-all model.
    Secondly, students receive more feedback from the teacher which is of course a very important component for both teacher and student because it helps the teacher to assess how well the student is doing and it also allows the student to recognise their own abilities and what they need to work on. Thus if there a re fewer students in the class this is an easier task for the teacher to maintain.
    One final advantage of smaller classes is that there is more opportunity to learn from peers. Children can interact with each other more and thus build up important social relationships.

    In addition to this, it appears that smaller classes tend to work better with younger children as the benefits persist throughout higher education. Those students who were part of smaller classes at an early stage were significantly ahead in terms of academic achievement in 4th, 6th and 8th grade.http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/benefits-of-CSR-6-10.pdf

  2. psue34

    Within your blog you have looked at class sizes from the perspectives of teachers and students. Within this you have considered their feelings and preferences, however what are the effects of having a smaller class size? Hoxby (2000) (1) conducted research that showed no significance between smaller class sizes and greater achievement from students. The research suggested reasoning for public support of smaller classes are the employment of more teachers and the decrease of students within the classroom. Thus promoting the interests of all parties involved, making it a popular subject for policy makers. However considering what we have learnt thus far in the module, there are far more important things that need to be adjusted within the educational system that will improve the development of each student. One example of this is the inflexibility teachers have to changing their teaching methods. When applying this principle to the size of the class, there will be no significant differences in the achievement of students in their work if teachers keep the same style of teaching used with larger classes. For this reason, the method in which teachers teach needs to be addressed alongside the reduction of class sizes.

    (1) http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/115/4/1239.full.pdf+html

  3. verahe

    Interesting post. In this blog, you presented some good points to support you statement, and you also applied many previous studies to describe the benefits of small class learning. However, I think it would be better if you made your points more detailed. For example, you stated “Leahy, S. (2006) carried out a study to investigate teacher’s views on the reduction of class size…there were seven questions in this survey and six of them were strongly agreed by the participants”; it is a very interesting study to use in here in order to make your point stronger, but I think it would be more convincing if you have mentioned what are exactly the six questions in details.
    I agree with your point that reducing class sizes offers many benefits both toward students and teachers. Rios (1998) stated, “Small classes have a beneficial effect on the academic achievement of children from low-income families and those learning English as a second language (ESL)”. I found that is a really good point to be discussed. I studied in an international high school, and I took ESL courses in the first year of my high school, and there were approximately 25 students in one class. I found it is very good to learn English in a small class. I started to learn English when I was 10-year-old, and I think children at that age already had the awareness of embarrassing, especially when we were learning the second language, but the important thing is we have to speak out loudly if we want to learn English as a second language. In a small class size, I got more chances to answer questions, and I felt more engaged in class, the interaction between teacher and students was also improved in comparison with a larger class size. I do not think students in a 100 people ESL class could get very much chances to practice the second language, I guess teacher even could not remember each student’s name in that large class size. In here, I would like to share another personal experience I think it is a good example to demonstrate the benefits of small class learning. I was required to get three professors’ reference letters in order to apply a university where i can getting my master degree; so I asked my psychology lecturer to write a reference letter for me, but he refused, he said “there are approximately 200 pupils in my class, I do not even know who you are, how can I write something about you as an individual who I do not know very well”. Even though he finally wrote the reference letter for me, which I would say is largely due to his kindness, but I think his excuse was right; I cannot force a teacher to remember my name or know me well in a module with 200 students.
    Not only do large size class have adverse impact on learning, but also on the educational staff themselves. With larger size class, new and more dynamic teaching strategies and techniques cannot be implemented. Some peers in this module mentioned the importance of giving feedback, I personally agree with the point that providing feedback to students is effective to help them in learning. However, larger size class leaves less time for teachers to deal with this duty, which teachers better attend to, and I believe many teachers are glad to provide effective feedback to students, they just do not have enough time to write feedback for hundreds of pupils. In a small size class, teachers are easier to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each student, which may not be achieved in a large size class.

    Reference:

    1. Rios, Robert. J. (1998). Class Size: Does It Really Matter?

  4. psuf3c

    A Policy has now been implicated in the UK to say that there is a maximum of 30 children allowed in one class for the first 3 years of primary schools (5-7 years old) (Department of Education, 2011). This would suggest that any more than 30 children in a class would not be beneficial to learning, when a class size becomes too big lessons become more about control of behavior rather than actually teaching. 96% of parent believed that the class size affects the quality of teaching that the children receive (Bennett, 1997). In recent years it has been difficult to keep class sizes to a maximum of 30, with many schools having around 31 children in the class. One of the reasons for the increase in class sizes is to do with the baby boom; in 2010 there was a 20% increase than in 2002 in the amount of annual births. This means that there are more children but not necessarily more schools or facilities.
    For children to receive the right amount of attention there needs to be a good teacher to student ratio, this is less likely to happen when there are bigger class sizes. When the class size increases students are more likely to be forgotten about and misbehave. Smaller class sizes allow for teachers to spend longer helping all students and lessons become less about behaviour and more about learning.

    References

    Bennett. N , (1997). Class Size in Primary Schools: perceptions of headteachers, chairs of governors, teachers and parents. BERJ. 22 (1), pp.33-55

    Department of Education (2011). Class Size and education in England evidence report. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/183364/DFE-RR169.pdf. [Last Accessed 26/11].

  5. psp2cb

    This was a good blog and I very much enjoyed reading the opinions of both teachers and students on SCL because at the end of the day it is their opinions that matter because it is them who are going to interact in them. I also personally believe that SCL is more effective than great big lecture rooms. Like you mentioned in your blog, some teachers do not know the names of all their students especially the quiet and shy ones therefore how are they suppose to build their confidence to ask a question if they feel uninvolved. I believe more SCL should be implemented into schools and universities, even small group discussions between students can enhance learning. One research also suggest that within group learning there a two types of learning, distal and local (Wong, 2004). Local learning is when students learn from within the group and distal learning is learning externally. However, it is thought that there are some disadvantages when students perform in both types of learning. The findings of the research suggests that distal learning obstruct local learning from achieving high level group efficiency. Therefore, although group learning can be beneficial there can also be some factors that contribute in a bad way.

    References
    Wong, S. (2004). Distal and local group learning: Performance trade-offs and tensions. Organization Science, 15(6), 645-656. doi:10.1287/orsc.1040.0080

  6. Bex Loak

    Shin & Raudenbush (2012) have found that students in smaller class sizes can improve certain academic areas; reading, math and listening. Interestingly they also found that small class sizes meant that a student’s word recognition increased at a higher rate between kindergarten and 3rd grade. Similar effects of smaller class size have also been found by Jepsen and Rivkin (2009), smaller class size increases reading and math scores. Smaller class size has a positive effect in both secondary and primary education, on student’s engagement (increases engagement) and students received an increased amount of individual attention from the teacher (Blatchford, Bassett & Brown, 2011). However, Blatchford, Bassett & Brown (2011) found that the only students who significantly improved from having smaller class sizes were low attaining pupils and recommend that smaller class sizes be used as an intervention in schools.

    Shin & Raudenbush (2012):
    http://jeb.sagepub.com/content/36/2/154.short

    Jepsen and Rivkin (2009):
    http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/44/1/223.short

    Blatchford, Bassett & Brown (2011):
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959475211000260

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s