So many strategies may come up, because honestly, there is no hope for the government to soon reduce the size of the classes. The invitation is for world teachers to share their experiences and ideas.
Por: Hernán Tena Cortés
Large classes are a reality in most public schools of Colombia and also in some private institutions. Most English Language Teachers see this as a problem and not as a challenge; they claim more time or fewer students in order to better productive skills. Grading and giving feedback turns almost impossible, and the government seems to care less. As a result, this topic was chosen to come up with some strategies in order to succeed with these kinds of classes.
It is difficult to keep good discipline in a class with more than 35 students, especially when they learn different things at different speeds and in different ways, making struggles to give each student individual attention. As a reflection, it is to mention that each human being is a different world, and when a teacher faces a class with 35 or more individuals, he must deal with many different stories. Just imagine a doctor with three dozens of patients at the same time, will he make it? Same with an architect or professionals from any discipline.
Therefore, teachers have to come up with different strategies and even a bit of creativity to manage large classes. A good idea is pair or group work, because students can help each other and learn from each other. However, teachers must organize them to suit their abilities. Also, mixed ability groups to have learners help others and finally, it is recommended for the teacher to move around the classroom to see what progress pupils are making and what problems are coming up.
Group work has many advantages and if the teacher applies it cautiously, it is very possible to have positive classroom management results. This method can help manage with fewer resources, and students can work on their own pace and from individual interests, based in a main topic given by the tutor.
Discipline is another big concern in large classes. Therefore, it is recommended to establish a code of behaviour that is created by teacher and learners together. Also if is possible, the teacher can use the environment outside the classroom to reduce overcrowding, and finally, appoint responsible group leaders who can help maintain discipline
Last but not least, large classes also have advantages, not everything has to be against the teacher. Since students can share many different ideas and interesting life experiences. In case they are working in projects, they can learn to share responsibility and help each other. So many strategies may come up, because honestly, there is no hope for the government to soon reduce the size of the classes. The invitation is for world teachers to share their experiences and ideas.
British Council – BBC. (N/D, N/D N/D). Teaching Large Classes. Retrieved September 21, 2019, from British Council – BBC: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/teaching-large-classes