Elementary and secondary schools has been following the trend of cutting costs in the last decade. Decreasing the number of classes (merging them together) allowed them to decrease the number of teachers, and run their school more economically. These decisions, however, had a positive impact only on one thing–the school budget. Both teachers and students suffered by the changes, and we try to understand why, and give some ideas on how to cut the expenses but keep the quality standards.
Big classes are stressful for everyone
Many teachers struggle with the discipline in their classes. Several factors are to blame for the recent development of things within the classrooms:
- Teachers aren’t as respected as before, they have lost their position in society.Both pupils and their parents see the teachers differently now, and often do not pay much respect.
- New addictions, such as social media and smart phone addictions. With ever-present mobile phones, teachers struggle to keep the discipline in the classroom.
- Loss of interest in traditional subjects (systematic mistake) – children ‘understood’ (or even heard in their families) that mathematics or physics aren’t important anymore, and that a cheap word processor will correct their grammar mistakes. Logically they are losing their interest for the most traditional subjects.
The discipline has lowered significantly. It’s not easy anymore to handle the class of fifteen children, let alone thirty of them. Environment where you do not feel respected can be very stressful, and many teachers can actually suffer from burn out syndrome.
Stressful for students
Students do not find themselves in a better position. Young people always strive for recognition, trying to find their place in the crowd. But this is again difficult to do when studying among thirty other children. On the top of that, should they have any special or individual needs, teacher can hardly attend them in an environment of a big class.
Smaller means better
In a recent experiment conducted by Middle East Teacher society, students from big classes tested against students from small classes. The type of school or academic results weren’t put into equation. The exam was crafted specially to test some competences needed in today’s society, such as communication skills, deduction and induction, working with information, understanding of a difficult text, etc.
Students from smaller classes (up to 15 students) scored much better results than students from big classes (15 and more). The results held up even internally, when we compared classes within the same school.
The primary mission of education
At Empire United we believe that education should prepare people for the real exams of life, such as finding a job, leading harmonious relationship, navigating through the complicated web of information. Small classes obviously present a better environment for the development of these abilities than bigger classes do. It makes no reason to save money if we don’t manage to accomplish our primary targets. If we don’t manage to do it, the education is useless. Please consider it with your colleagues and administrators, and try reducing the number of students in each class. This single change can eventually lead to an overall improvement of students’ results, and feelings of everyone working in the educational institution.