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Smaller is Better

Have you ever thought of how much your class size really affects your learning?  A lot of times no one even really pays attention to it; you know you just want to get in, get out and pass the class. But how big or small a class is really can affect how much you can learn. Smaller classes are usually better for people who want to actually learn what they are being taught, rather than just memorizing in order to pass the course. If you are like me, you would choose to go to a smaller school to get a better education, that is if you actually try!

When schools have smaller class sizes, there is a better chance of having one-on-one time with the teacher, which can improve the academic achievement.  Also with smaller classes, students are not as afraid to speak out, such as in group discussions, or even answering questions that the teacher is providing. When students interact with each other and get to know everyone, they feel more comfortable with talking about assignments or getting help from one another. According to the Boarding Schools Directory website, “Research suggests that small class size results in higher academic achievement. These academic gains generally occur when class size is reduced to less than 20 students. Tennessee’s Project STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Ratio), a massive, controlled study conducted in the 1980s by the State Department of Education, catalogued the positive effects of small class size on student achievement in all subject areas. With results published in the American School Boards Journal and featured in many periodicals since, the authors noticed drastic improvements in a child’s education when class size decreased” (Boarding Schools). Also, after students being put into smaller classes, showed that there was a much higher, on-schedule, graduation rate of 76% versus the students in larger class sizes of 64%.

Teachers of smaller class sizes are able to interact with each student individually, and help them to understand each assignment easier. For example, if a student is struggling with a paper they have to write, the teacher could take more one-on-one time to explain what he or she needs to do in order to achieve the grade they are looking for. When students are in smaller class sizes, they tend to pay more attention, turn in homework assignments on time and work with other students (Boarding Schools Directory Website).

When small schools come together, it brings the community together also. I have experience with this, I went to a school where my graduating class was only fifty two students, that’s tiny! When my school would have football games or volleyball, whatever the sport or event, our WHOLE community would come together as one to support and cheer each other on to victory. I loved going to a small high school and would not change it for anything. I can prove that I am not the only one that thinks this, people of the New Rules Project say, “Small schools also build strong communities. Parents and neighbors are more likely to be actively involved in the school. The students benefit from community support and the school in turn fosters connections among neighbors and encourages civic participation” (New Rules Project).  Also, when it comes down to deciding between larger or smaller school, you need to look at your child and how he/she does with crowds of people. If they love the big crowds and are very outgoing, then a bigger school may not be an issue, but vice versa, it may become a HUGE deal for your child.

Now you are probably thinking about the prices for having smaller classes, and how much more expensive they are. Yes having smaller class sizes is more cost efficient, having to pay for the extra teachers, more classrooms that would be needed, etc. and the problem with needing more teachers is that the government would start hiring anyone off the streets and granted emergency credentials to teach. This would become a problem because they do not really have the experience to be teaching students, so the students would not be learning the right materials (Huffington Post).

When thinking of sending your children to school, remember to think about how you want their education to be. Even though sending your child to a smaller school may cost more, your child will have better communication with his/ her teacher and also with you. Teachers of small schools like to be able to have the parents involved in all aspects of the children’s life. Would you rather pay more money for your child’s future? Or be cheap and let your child go to a school that is inexpensive and not get as good of an education?

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Categories: Class Size
  1. Mark
    November 30, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I’m interested to know how you think technology integration can create the intimate feeling of a small class with a large group of students. I liked the argument, but something makes me believe that looking at the WAY we teach might be just as beneficial as how we teach.

    Good writing.

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