12 Best Tips for Teaching Large Classes

Teaching Large Classes is a reality in many parts of the world, teachers around the world teach classes that go from 25 to 35 students.

Teachers describe such classes as problematic because large classes generate lots of stress, increase work overload and make it practically impossible to give equal opportunity to all learners.  

Video: How to Teach Large Classes

This is a video that cover some important tips about how to teach large classes

How Students Perceive Large Classes

Students in large classes might take full of advantage of large classes to do other thing rather than learning such as:

  1. Students can sit at the back of the class where they will not be seen, they might spend some time there doing homework, chatting with peers, and disrupting the class.
  2. A student might hesitate to communicate in large classes because the eyes of many people are on them.
  3. A student might not get involved in classes because they haven’t heard the instructions clearly since large classes make listening instruction almost impossible.
  4. Students feel like the teacher is not focused on them and that he is only interested in those students who are seated in the front row.

Tips for Teaching Large Classes

These are some tips for teaching large classes

  1. Start the class by giving the rules of participation so you can keep an atmosphere of respect regardless of the tasks they are going to complete during your lesson.
  2. Use a variety of activities that will motivate and engage all learners.
  3. Focus more on activities that students can do in pairs or in small groups.
  4. Have your classroom seating arranged in a way that you can move freely around the classroom.
  5. Make sure students communicate with each other, don’t ask students to create and perform dialogues in front of the class because students can get easily distracted if they just have to listen.
  6. Make sure that the tasks performed in class are tailored for the level of the students you are teaching, if the activities you brought to the class are too difficult for the students, you would have a hard time trying to clarify instructions and answer questions.
  7. Encourage your students that know the subject better than others to go and help their classmates that are having difficulties understanding and completing a task.
  8. In communicative classes, have students switch places so they can go and interact with other classmates, that will give you the opportunities to move around classroom and listen to other group works.
  9. Feel god with communicative noise in the classroom, it is not very likely that large classes will keep quiet during your lesson. The only noise that should concern you is disruptive noise.
  10. Don’t give instructions until you have the attention of all your students, give your instructions using a clear voice, check for understanding and encourage student to ask question regarding the tasks that they have to complete.
  11. Introduce innovation to your classes, students might feel more engaged into your class if they can incorporate mobile phones into their learning.
  12. Last but not least, make classes meaningful and fun, prepare some games to make the class more entertaining, you can’t approach a large class as you would normally approach a small class.

More Information

Check these pages and sites before you go:

  1. 10 Characteristics of Teacher-Centered Instruction
  2. PPP Framework: Presentation, Practice and Production
  3. 6 Fluency Activities for the ESL Classroom
  4. 10 Characteristics of Student-Centered Learning
  5. 5 Challenges English Language Learners Face
  6.  Great Strategies to Cut Teacher Talking Time
  7. 12 Innovations in English Language Teaching 

If you want to learn more about how to maximize learning in large classes, I invite you to take a look at this great free resource called Maximizing  Learning in Large Classes

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English