What is a “Large Class”?
Many teachers in South Africa – and you may be one of them – find themselves working in primary school classrooms that contain many learners, sometimes almost filling the room! Actually, though, a large class has no “exact size.” Usually it is measured in terms of the number of learners per teacher (student-teacher ratio). In some countries, 25-30 learners per one teacher is considered large, while in other
countries this is seen to be normal or even quite small. From a teacher’s perspective, though, a class is “large” whenever it feels large. While a class of more than 50 learners is usually considered a large class, to those of you who normally teach 25 or fewer learners, a class of 35 can be large and overwhelming.
For many of us faced with large classes, we might be tempted to give up, thinking that there is no chance of getting so many learners to learn. The problem is, however, that we assume that learning occurs in proportion to class size. The smaller the class, the more learners learn. However, research shows that class size does not automatically correlate with student learning.
Learners in large classes can learn just as well as those in small ones. What counts is not the size of the class, but the quality of the teaching. Evidence shows that learners place more emphasis on the quality of teaching than class size. Moreover, they may not mind being in a large class as much as you may think they do, or as
much as you mind it yourself.
What is the Challenging Opportunities for you?