The education system has been through multiple changes and shifts over the past few years. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many issues and inconsistencies within the system have been called into question to be improved and, more efficient. Among many arguments, an underlying problem is the issue of class size. Debated well before the start of the pandemic, the amount of students appropriate for one classroom and teacher has been called into question. Some believe that a smaller classroom will allow students to get the support and help they need from a teacher, as there would be more individual help. In contrast, others believe that a larger classroom will allow for better socialization and financing. Let’s explore the spectrum of class sizes and the advantages and disadvantages of both larger and smaller classes.
The smaller class argument is overwhelming, as teachers and parents support the notion. One of the primary reasons teachers may prefer a smaller class, especially for younger grades, is that they are calmer and more comfortable. By having a smaller size class, teachers often feel that it is easier to manage students, and less time is spent trying to quiet down the class and get them to pay attention. Additionally, children’s behaviour is able to be handled much more fluidly when teachers are able to give each student the time and attention they need. While implementing such a change is not extremely cost-beneficial, these changes have been proved to be better as children in smaller classrooms achieve better outcomes, both academically and otherwise. Furthermore, teachers are awarded more flexibility in utilizing different instructional approaches with a smaller group and have more time to cover additional material within the classroom.
While the overwhelming arguments are for reducing class sizes, some believe it is not the best idea. The main reason against class size reduction is cost. This argument is supported by the application of a cost-benefit analysis, and that the cost to reduce class size is not proportionate to the supposed benefits of a smaller class. Instead, many claim that it would be more cost-effective to focus on measures such as higher academic standards, a more challenging curriculum, more qualified teachers, and implementing more support for teachers. Furthermore, others are worried about the collateral effects of pursuing smaller classes. For many schools, this may require construction or renovation of the building to be able to accommodate the change toward smaller classes. This shift may also require hiring more teachers, which may cause the hiring of under-qualified teachers, questioning whether it is better to have a larger class with a more qualified teacher, or a smaller class with a slightly more under-qualified teacher.
Class size reduction has been the talk of the education community for a while now. While COVID-19 bought other concerns, it also slightly helped the movement by having restrictions on how many students can stay in a class, effectively reducing class sizes for a temporary period of time. These programs are often popular with teachers and parents as they believe they will benefit the student, which in the end, is everyone’s main goal!
Chen, Grace. “Smaller Class Sizes: Pros and Cons | PublicSchoolReview.com.” Public School Review, 20 May 2022, www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/smaller-class-sizes-pros-and-cons.
Walker, Tim. “Educators and Parents Reset the Class Size “Debate” | NEA.” Nea.org, 2019, www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/educators-and-parents-reset-class-size-debate.