According to a recent report by the BBC, the number of secondary school children in England being taught in classes of 36 or more pupils has trebled in the last five years. This is despite the fact, a Department for Education spokesperson said, school class sizes had remained stable since 2006.
“It’s difficult to learn because there’s so many people around you, so you’re not focusing as much on the lesson” said thirteen-year-old Silas Ennis. “Everyone in the class agrees that there’s too many people in the classroom.”
So, how can teachers deal with large class sizes? And how do you ensure your pupils receive equal amounts of attention and education? Here are 8 easy, effective, and actionable tips.
Plan as much as possible
Large class sizes need to be energised and engaged at all times. Therefore, it helps if you know what you’re doing, as shuffling through your notes trying to find the next activity won’t go down well. By planning as much as possible, you can keep the lesson flowing without interruption.
Know where students will sit
Although you might not know each student very well, it makes sense to separate those who are likely to talk or fight during class. You should also try to pair up struggling students with those who understand your teaching materials. A seating plan may take some time, but it is well worthwhile.
Maintain discipline and rules
This doesn’t give you permission to be mean. Instead, don’t let students get away with minor instances of bad behaviour and make it clear that you won’t tolerate talking or fighting. If you need to deal with one or two specific students, don’t let it be to the detriment of others.
Get into a routine
If students know exactly what is expected of them and when, you’ll find it much easier to manage a large class. For example, what books they need for particular lessons and how certain activities should be performed. Structure this into your routine for an obedient class and efficient teaching.
Have a back-up plan
Despite your best efforts, you can’t expect every lesson to run smoothly. For times when your ideas don’t go to plan, have some back-up activities lined up that will keep attention and engagement levels high. You may also want to reward students who complete reading tasks first or worksheets accurately.
In large class sizes, there will be several students who feel like they don’t matter, especially if they are quiet and don’t speak up much. This is why it is so important to encourage participation at every opportunity, such as playing games or doing partner work.
Get to know your class
Even though you’ve got so many things to juggle with a large class size, learning everyone’s name and getting to know them should be a top priority. This can even take the form of a game, which gets each student on your side from the get-go and makes future endeavours easier to implement.