I have seen teaching and learning change considerably over the last few decades, and my class size is a reflection of this shift from teacher-centered classrooms to learner-centered learning. The demands of modern teaching and learning mean that large classes are no longer acceptable to learners or educators. Modern learning has placed more demands on the practice of individual instruction, coaching, mentoring, and tutoring and small case sizes are necessary to meet these demands.
"I need a class size that gives me time to get to know my learners, their demands, their needs, and adjust my delivery and content accordingly, and ensure that the time that they spend with me is effective learning."
In general learners’ expectations are higher than ever for one reason or another, and for those expectations to be met effectively a small class size is a must. Small classes result in individualised learning, whereas in larger classes there is insufficient time to give individual learner attention. With large classes, I physically do not have time to work with learners one on one enough.
"Statistically, significant evidence is found that small class size has a positive impact on student performance."
(Walker and Arias, 2004)
As an educator, I know the effects of reducing class size can be both long-term and far-reaching and the research supports that view.
"Teachers in small classes pay greater attention to each pupil. Students in these classes experience continuing pressure to participate in learning activities and become better, more involved students. Attention to learning goes up, and disruptive and off-task behaviour goes down".
(American Educational Research Association, Zurawsky, 2003)
I know my learners have a better learning environment when they are in small classes and do not have to compete with other learners for my help and attention. I know the learning is more engaging and individual and personalised learning, resulting in much better learning outcomes. Smaller classes support learning by offering:
more opportunities to cater to diversity and difference
greater engagement in learning
better monitoring of learner progress
earlier diagnosis of learner difficulty
more inclusive and personal
higher levels of learning safety
more immediate rewards for achievement
learners more likely to be ‘on-task
learning results improve
more opportunity for learner interaction
learners more positive about themselves and their ability to learn
Based on research, at Software Solutions, my class sizes are small, to ensure that as an educator I get the greatest opportunity to know and to teach my learners as individuals and for them to have the greatest opportunity to achieve their potential and love learning, and become lifelong learners.