What is large class? Many teachers work inelementary classes with large number of learners, they almost can fill a hall.In fact, there is no specific size for class that has large number of students,is usually measured according to teacher’s point of view. In some countriessome teachers consider 25 to 30 student in one class is a large class, whileothers believe that this number is normal or small.
In teacher’s perspective,the number of learners will be large because we want to feel like it. While theclass of 50 students or more considered large to the teachers that are used toteach classes of 25 students or less, but the class that consisted of 35students is considered to be large and even worrisome. When we face classeswith large numbers, many of may be tempted to surrender; thinking that it isimpossible to reach the education of this numerous number of learners.
Afterall, the problem lies in our assumption that learning is tied to the size ofthe class. However, research has shown that there is no automatic correlationbetween classroom size and learning, students may learn with class that hasvery large numbers as their peers in a few numbers. Above all, if we want tomanage a large class we have to create an environment that can help thestudents to learn as well as other normal classes. The classenvironment is the most important point that we have to consider when we wantto manage our large class. Although werarely control how many learners are educated, we are always able to controlthe classroom environment in which we know; which is most important, as it isgreatly influences how well learners learn.
Let’s close our eyes and imaginethat we are a new teacher who is asked to teach a class of 60 or more students.After the initial shock, perhaps as a result of this shock; what questionswould we ask ourselves? Most likely, the first question that comes to mind is(how do I manage this huge number of learners?). In fact, this questionhighlights the most important aspect of working in large classes, which ismanaging the classroom environment as a convenient place to teach and learn. Theclassroom environment encompasses the physical environment- including learningresources for lessons, and the psycho-social environment: such us using ways topromote learning as a community in order to reduce congestion and dealeffectively with misconduct. Our ability to create well-managed physical andpsychosocial environments can make the difference between a calm, functioningclass and a chaotic one. The ideal classroom is set up in a lighted,clean, and equipped room that accommodates each student comfortably; enablinghim to move and work well, either individually or collectively. To encourageactive learning and engage learners, seats are arranged so that they can seeeach other and see the teacher. Unfortunately, few classrooms are idealframework for learning, especially in large numbers where space is usuallylimited.
The hot, crowded, noisy, and small classrooms crowded with a largenumber of learners often provide a bad framework for learning, both forourselves and for our students. We need all our skills and planning skills tocreate a comfortable classroom for learning. However, what we seek is worth oureffort because it facilitates our work and makes it more pleasing to us. It isimportant to remember that what pleases us is not necessarily what makes ourstudents happy.
So we have to arrange the grade at the beginning of the year andask our students if this arrangement will comfort them. It is better to dividethem into groups and ask each group to look at the class and its content, thendraw a picture showing how they prefer to organize the class. So we use someideas from their drawings to design a class for our students. After we try thearrangement for a week or two, we go back and ask them if they are comfortablewith it.
We have to change the arrangement if they feelthey may relax more in another order. Above all, we start managing our largeclass from this environment which we call it physical environment. We often call the classroom (learning society),because it is where we constantly stay with our students inside the schoolwhere everyone knows each other.
It is also the place where everyone workstogether- the teacher and the learners- to learn new things about the world.Building sense of community is important in dealing with large classes, showingour interests in our students and our ability to teach them; and encouragesthem to recognize us and participate in the learning process. The goal is tounderstand each other, as teachers and students. Building this sense ofcommunity and the positive psycho-social environment associated with it willmotivate our students to learn, enhance their participation. It helps themlearn at their full potential, even in circumstances where the classroom mayseem overcrowded. In addition, learners are shown to value more for theirlearning and get better marks, when the teacher is actually willing to helpthem learn. All in all, we have to prepare a betterenvironment for our students, so that we can engage them and help them withlearning during their class time.
Having both environment physical andpsycho-social into our class is a good way for creating understanding betweenteachers and their students. These environments can aid us with controlling ourlarge classes and teach them in the perfect way.