The demand for English has increased over the years because of globalization but the 2008 to present global recession has cut back this demand. For prospective English teachers and students, there is pros and cons of this global dilemma. There is a world race to rapidly develop so schools around the world have added more English classes to their current curriculum. But the global recession has also added cutbacks requiring English teachers to include more students into their classroom where now classroom sizes can range from 50+. This is a huge task for the teacher to accommodate each and every student with the attention they deserve. We are facing how to answer the question about the quality of education vs large class size.
With larger growing class sizes and cutbacks, there are some techniques and management practices that can maximize student learning in large classrooms.
Pedagogical techniques (or Educational Teaching techniques), teachers in general try to create a supportive environment that tailor to the student’s learning. To create the supportive learning environment, the following items must be created.
- Classes must be well-planned ahead.
- Lessons must be clear and structured so they can move and grow between lessons.
- Activity lessons must keep students engaged and motivated. Have a lot of interesting lesson planned or be modified easily to keep students interested.
More in-depth pedagogical techniques are to:
- Diagnostic testing done at the start to assess each student’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Each student is unique so try to help set goals for each student with them
- Learning strategies for each student will also be different so try to find the right strategy that work for them.
- Avoid labelling students and see each student with a range of abilities that they have or need to improve on.
- Students require attention so try to individualize teacher to student interaction as much as possible. Give out student name cards at first to help learn the student’s name.
- Accommodating large classrooms, teachers can split up students into groups then give the required attention needed per group on rotating schedule.
- Curriculum can change if student needs are not met. Try other techniques or reduce or slow down lessons so each student can achieve class set goals.
- Students can be involved in the curriculum into teaching their peers too. Some students may excel while some students may need help. Pair students accordingly so each student can learn together to achieve the same goals. This technique will make students build responsibility, leadership, independence and freedom to help and explore the learning environment.
- Physical layout of the classroom is important to allow for accessibility of learning the different lessons smoothly.
- Clear understanding of the goals should be set for students so they feel calm. Everyday practiced set routines will help set goal expectations. Reaching goals is all about routines practiced over and over; repetition.
- Goals should be clear and brief
- Routines consists of daily attendance check, today’s’ agenda (day goals), home correction, paper distribution and collection, and work completed, and cleanup,
- Today’s agenda (day goals) should be class read together. Make it a class drill to read aloud the day’s goals at the beginning of the day after attendance check.
- Lessons should be created so each language skill can be practiced easily from one to the other; receptive and productive skills in pair/group work and individual work.
- Additional lessons should be created for students who finish early. These additional lessons should be student self-directed so the teacher can help other students who are still completing the current lesson.
- Large class sizes can be managed by:
- Divided into groups with each same group lesson modified to fit the individual group goals or have each group do a different group lesson assigned or chosen by the groups.
- Display student works. Every student likes to be commended on the work they done.
- Use aides and volunteers if these resources are available.
Student behaviour is an issue that needs it’s own section of rules of approach. As teachers we want every student to behave accordingly so lessons can go smoothly. Teachers should be seen as people of authority and wisdom by the students. Respect should be given both ways from the teacher and from the student. Classroom safety and rules of conduct should be set in place and be taught so students will avoid name calling and bullying. You can also allow or make students to add rules to classroom rules of conduct. This will enable each student to get the attention they need in class. Classroom rules of conduct should be revisited often so students understand the needs of others and themselves. Having classroom rules of conduct is seen as a proactive form classroom behaviour management. Each student will have these rules set in mind when dealing with problems in the classroom and avoid behaving reactively. Other good tips in controlling classroom behaviour is to:
- Classroom rules should be posted on the wall in both first and second languages
- Reward system used when rules and goals are met to reinforce good behaviour
- Inappropriate behaviour should be met with fair consequences without humiliating the student or disrupting important class lesson time.
- Having different activity lessons will keep students motivated and on task and move around. As teachers we need to keep the students in control so they don’t fall off track and disrupt the class.
- If the classroom behaviour is not classroom specific and school wide, school colleges and administrators together should determine a behavioural model to enact.
With booming classroom sizes and cutbacks, teachers must use grouping lesson techniques to manage students as effectively as possible. Grouping will promote student peer-support to aid in the curriculum lessons. Therefore, group accordingly per group needs to allow for each student to reach classroom goals.