Teaching Large Classes
Teaching Large Classes is a reality in many parts of the world, teachers around the world teach classes which go from 25 to 35 students. Teacher describe such classes as problematic because large classes generate lots of stress, increase work overload and make practically impossible to give equal opportunity to all learners.
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:
- Student 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, disrupting the class.
- Student might hesitate to communicate in large classes because the eyes of many people are on them.
- Student might not get involved in classes because they haven’t heard the instructions clearly since large classes makes listening instruction almost impossible.
- 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
- 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 lessson.
- Use a varierty of activities that will motivate and engage all learners.
- Focus more in activities that students can do in pairs or in small groups.
- Have your classroom seating arranged in a way that you can move freely around the classroom.
- Make sure students communicate with each others, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Introduce innovation to your classes, students might feel more engaged into your class if they can incorporate mobile phones into their learning.
- 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.
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