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Classroom Size Matters

High school is an experience that is different for everybody. While some go to huge public schools where the classroom sizes are large, others go to private schools where they might have a class of ten people. Does this affect how we learn? Should teachers change their teaching styles to adapt to these different scenarios? Will having smaller classroom sizes still prepare students for college? These are all questions that appear when discussing the topic of classroom sizes in educational reform discussions.

I, personally, went to a private high school. The largest class I ever had possibly had twenty-five students which was a great deal when my graduating class only held forty-two students. Classroom size affected how I was able to understand and comprehend things in high school. Throughout high school, my largest class was Politics and my smallest class was AP US History; they were both taught by the same teacher. While Economics was a class that all the seniors were required to take to graduate. While this should have been cake, I had a really difficult time understand a lot of the key concepts and felt like I could not ask questions because the teacher did not have time to answer them and teach the entire class. I started to suffer the consequences. Then in my smallest class of AP US History, there were only ten students. I was never good at history and I have no clue what made me decide to take the AP class but I did. I ended up with a B in the class and even the teacher informed me that I would not have done as well in the regular class because I would not have wanted to ask questions. Class size does matter.

While having larger class sizes can prepare us for the world of college, it seems to affect how students learn especially in high school. While bigger classes means less teachers, it is truly taking away from the education that a student recieves. “Those students whose performance improves the most are those who need the most help: children from poor and minority backgrounds, who experience twice the gains as the average student.  Alan Krueger of Princeton has estimated that reducing class size in the early grades shrinks the achievement gap by about 38%.” (Haimson). You should not feel unable to speak to a teacher because of the size of a class. Teachers sometimes can come off more intimidating in larger classes because of the overwhelming sense of having so many students all in one room. It can be a lot for students to handle. When looking at testing, researchers have seen that class size effects scores. “States that score highest on the SAT on average tend to have lower student-teacher ratios. High-ratio states, however, have scores that hover around the national average.” Ever since high school, teachers have told you how when you get to college that the class sizes are going to be so big in number. The largest gen ed class size that I have had was forty which is not to far off from the number of people I graduated with.

My high school chose the route of smaller classes. However, this may not have been by choice, smaller class sizes have truly helped me be prepared for college. My high school was considered a “college preparatory school” and it truly did that, regardless of class size. Smaller class sizes make a much more student-teacher friendly environment where the students and teachers can engage in a conversation together. Larger classes sizes make the students feel like the teacher is talking at them instead of to them.The teachers will also appreciate this because it will mean more one-on-one time with students in the classroom so they can answer questions in the classroom and less time out of the classroom. It was also mean fewer tests and homework to grade all at one time and make a lessened stress load on the teacher.

National surveys of educators believe that class size reduction is the most effective method to improve the quality of teaching. In a 2008 survey, 76% of first year teachers said that reducing class size would be “a very effective” way of improving teacher quality, and 21% responding that it would be an “effective” method — for a total of 97% — far outstripping every other reform cited.” See? Even the teachers agree. However, some teachers may just be concerned for themselves. “Professors generally do not like teaching huge courses–not because they hate lecturing–but because they hate grading so many tests and term papers. So they ask administrators to cap enrollments, insisting that ‘small classes are better’ (when, in fact, they are simply concerned about their own work load).” Class sizes need to be reduced for the sake of the students. Why should students feel oppressed intellectually in the classroom and afraid to speak out? Making class sizes smaller should be the first priority schools make next school year.

Word Count: 834

Works Cited:

The Benefits of Smaller Classes: What Research Shows — http://www.classsizematters.org/benefits.html

http://flowingdata.com/2009/11/10/do-we-need-more-teachers/

http://greatcollegeadvice.com/class-size-and-student-to-faculty-ratios-what-the-statistics-dont-tell-you/

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Categories: Class Size
  1. Brittany
    December 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I think that class size matters a lot in education. In class rooms that have up to like 30 people in the class the teacher can not give everyone one one one help. If you have a class of like 10 the teacher would be able to help everyone. If the class’s was smaller the students could ask questions, and not be to embarresset to ask them. I used to not be able to learn anything in high school with large class sizes, but now that Im in college with about 10 people in each class I learn easier and I can ask questions when i need help and everything. I think that smaller class sizes would be a benifit to everyone.

  2. chris
    December 9, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I have to agree that class size does make a difference. During my elementary school years I also attended a small country school, were the most that I can remember having in any of my classes was fifteen. This was a very good time for me; all of my teachers were able to take the time to teach us what we needed to learn. One of the most important things about this was that the teacher had a chance to get to know their students; this helped because since they could get to know us they were able to understand what each one of us needed on a more personal level. Another important advantage to a smaller class room was that everybody in that class room got to know each better and became good friends. This close knit relationship made it easier to feel comfortable; I didn’t worry about asking questions in class and having to feeling stupid. We were a family; and family did not put you down. Although this was a great thing at the time, things were about to change for the worst when I had to go to high school. When I started ninth grade a lot of my original class was split up into larger classes. This was hard because I went from a room of family to a room of strangers. It was very hard at first but it got easier as time went on. Thinking back though it was worth it because I was better prepared to take on the challenges that I would have to face.

  3. E Wilson
    December 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

    I agree with what you are saying and i think you argue your point really well. class size is a problem in schools. If you have a really big class the teacher can’t give you the individual help and attention you need so that you can understand what you are learning more clearly. and the teachers want smaller classes so they are not swamped with paper work and like you said it is bad for both students and teachers. i Came from a decent size school I had about 70 people in my graduating class and we had a average class size about 20-25 people in a class and i did pretty good and next semester i am taking a class that is going to have more then 100 people in it and i don’t think i am going to do well in that class because I don’t think i could ask him questions and get the help that I might need. anyways your essay was really good.

  4. Heather
    December 10, 2010 at 12:56 am

    I personally disagree with your argument, although you had good resources and information to back them up, I still know that’s not the problem. Smaller classroom sizes are not the problem, it is the teachers. Since you went to a private school you have no idea how large classrooms work out. Not knowing what it feels like to be in a big classroom with a good teacher will be something to change your mind. Yes there are sometimes interrupting students trying to get there answers all at once by a teacher but that’s the teachers fault for not setting up an effective way to take or answers or questions. Going to a private school means your going to have the best teachers and good students who all want to learn and are willing to try. Public schools deals with more students trying to get them to focus on education. Most public schools have more students in classrooms and a variety of teachers teaching them, it seems that more students are being less involved with school because of their social and home life unlike the children who have been around a lot of students who can socially talk to there teachers and other students. If your in a small or big classroom its going to be the same. Since there is not a huge difference it really should not matter about the size of the class rooms. The main segment that we all should be worried about is the information that is being taught. All of these problems lead up to the teacher and staff. What they have learned and what they have done in their education processes leading up to having the teaching jobs is what we all should want to know. Finding all of the bad teachers could be a way to solve this problem of students getting a higher education. Mono-tone teachers can and will put students asleep. This falls under the category of finding out why and how they got the role of becoming a teacher and where they went to get there masters in education and the grades along with there GPA that they had before they started to teach our children. Turning in lesson plans everyday should be taken seriously and should be looked over. Also all of the tests should be taken seriously. This means that teachers should stop using the second chance thing on test just so they can pass it. If there trying to prepare us for college they should atop this because you often never get them. Once its turned in, its turned in. The teachers that are trying to become better have to give up the time to basically learn how to teach again, and the teachings teaching about teaching. Why can’t it just happen in the first place? It all leads into the framework of putting a teacher together. So far the whole concept of every teacher being the same is false. You have your good and bad teachers. To stop this we need to reinvent how a teacher learns to teach and redesign the practice of a teacher.

  5. Bay
    December 10, 2010 at 1:39 am

    I totally agree with class size matters. I went to a large high school, where I was always seated in the back because my last name comes at the end of the alphabet. I believe that smaller class sizes come with many befits. Students are more likely to be happy; they know the teacher better and feel comfortable speaking with them. Smaller class sizes can also help the socially awkward students is able to talk more and be able to get more involved with the class room and the learning information. This can also help the student in the future in dealing with important situations like getting a job and talking with others on important aspects such as work and family. Such as a large classroom it may be different more students’ means less time one-on-one with the teacher. This can make the relationship between the student and the teacher not so welcoming. It is nice to be more than just introduced with your teacher. Creating a bond with them can help you ask more questions in class and also give you more confidence. Asking questions and being more socialized will have a positive impact in the future for getting jobs and talking to more people and feeling better about themselves. If the future when all of the education plans are up and running and all scores are going up and there is really no child left behind this is when we will know the true problem with why school sucks.

  6. Kayla
    December 10, 2010 at 1:41 am

    I dont think that larger classes make you ready for college. I think that tough teachers make you ready but not larger classes. I think small class rooms make it easier to learn, making it easier to as question, making you smarter than if you had a larger class.

  7. Nicole
    December 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    My highschool hand to stuff at least 40 students into a classrrom. I am not talking about large classrooms I am talking about small classrooms where if you barely shifted in your seat you were invading the person next to you. It was always hot and the kids were always miserable but our school board had already fired teachers because there was not enough room for them to have a class inside of our school.

  8. Chrissy Smith
    April 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    After I read this essay, I thought that the author of it stayed on topic very well and mentioned what she was wanting other people to think about, which was classroom size. She even went as far as to give the reader an example of the high school she had attended, which just added to her argument. In all, I thought the essay was very well written and to the point.

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