I came upon another article about class size and student success. According to the article’s author,
“Small classes are more engaging places for students because they’re able to have a more personal connection with teachers, simply by virtue of the fact that there are fewer kids in the classroom competing for that teacher’s attention,” says Adam Gamoran of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who analyzed the findings.
Even though “students stayed more focused and misbehaved less [and t]hey also had more direct interactions with teachers and worked more in small groups rather than by themselves,” teachers did little to adjust their instruction with these smaller groups.
I would say the first step is making class sizes smaller to increase student capacity and comfort. Then, the teachers need to learn how to work with this new class dynamic. Since they have not enjoyed the pleasure of working with smaller classes, the instructors will eventually begin to adjust. Maybe some professional development in this area could assist them to speed up the process.
I believe teachers should realize that smaller classes in themselves will not solve disparity issues or achievement gaps, so we will need to adjust as well. Plus, we will need to prove the effectiveness of smaller class sizes by raising (ugh, I’m going to say it) test scores and reducing the failure rate. Teaching in a smaller learning environment is a great step, but it’s only a step and we must now run with the opportunity.