A teacher has to deal with different class sizes frequently. One major problem is determining what is a large class. In America, a large class is consider anything over 35 while in other countries, “large” is not considered until 50 or more students. Despite the confusion over class size, there are different approaches to teaching depending on the size of the class. This post will deal with two extremes in class size, one-to-one teaching and large classes.
For many the dream class size is one-to-one. What more can a teacher ask for than the chance to work with a single mind? There are many advantages to teaching only one student at a time. The interaction is as high as possible as all activity is focused on the single student. Another benefit is that the teacher can adjust the teaching specifically to the needs of the student. Lastly, feedback is much more frequent and immediate when teaching one-to-one.
However, everything is not perfect with one-to-one teaching. A common problem is lack of rapport. At times students and teachers do not get along. In a larger class they can avoid each other at least partially. However, in a one-to-one teaching there is no timeout from one another. Other concerns include demanding students and students who expect the teacher to do the work for them.
When working in a one-to-one setting keep the following tips in mind.
- Explain expectations and set guidelines. Communication saves a lot of problems
- Be flexible and adaptable. Though guidelines are necessary things should be fluid enough to allow for necessary change.
- If things are not working and you have the luxury, discontinue teaching a difficult student.
Most believe large classes are a nightmare and the normally are. Everything increases as students, preparation, marking, behavioral issues, etc. One of the few advantages of teaching large classes is the potential for high student to student interaction. As such, a large class should hopefully never be a boring class especially if it is student-centered rather than teacher-centered. Below are some tips for dealing with large classes.
- Organization and processes are vital. They both help to reduce or eliminate various problems that happen in the classroom. If there is a problem for submitting assignments, establish a process. If there is a problem with communication, establish a process. Processes put out the fires of organizational life
- Use both group and individual work. Group work helps kids to work together while individual work reduces the time spent trying to deal with the entire class at once. Both forms takes the focus on the teacher on a particular task which helps in improving engagement.
- Use the students. Students can be used to teach each other or lead out in a group project.This again mitigates having to work with the whole class at once.
Teachers often cannot control the size of their class. However, teachers can control how they deal with the challenges that come with different size classes. The examples here provide some ideas on how to work students regardless of class size. With appropriate techniques students can learn in spite of the size of the class.