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2nd May 2017
How to ensure a safe learning environment for students in ‘super-sized’ classes The number of secondary school children in England being taught in classes with 36 or more pupils has trebled in the last five years, with one school in West Yorkshire reporting a class size of 46 pupils.

With Government cuts and the UK’s population continuing to rise, how are classroom teaching techniques set to change over the coming years to help to cope with the subsequent rise in class sizes?
In this article, we explore the problems that can arise within large classrooms, and the technology that can be adopted to help manage the increase in class sizes and ensure all pupils are given an equal opportunity to learn.

The problems teachers face in an overcrowded classroom

Keeping students engaged within the classroom isn’t easy, and with the added pressure of more students and more distractions, it’s easy for lessons to become an overwhelming and stressful experience for both teachers and students.
Some of the biggest problems within an oversubscribed classroom stem partly stem from the teacher shortage. With staff being spread so thinly, schools risk the following concerns arising:

  • Discipline issues Increased numbers of students inevitably leads to increased noise levels and an increased opportunity for disruptive behaviour within the classroom. This  unavoidably means more time has to be dedicated managing the classroom’s behaviour; resulting in less time teaching.
  • Untailored lessons Pupils learn at different rates, and in different ways. The bigger the classroom, the less the teacher will be able to tailor lessons to suit students at different ability levels.
  • Staff stress More children within a classroom results in an increased workload. The subsequent intense pressure placed on a teacher to achieve excellent results with limited resources can ultimately lead to an increased risk of teacher burnout and potential time away from the classroom.
  • Lack of personal connection With so many students to nurture in each lesson, creating that all important personal connection with students is much more difficult and could risk future generations being left uninspired.

In an average hour-long lesson being taught to a classroom of 30+ students, a teacher will have on average just 1 minute per student for one-to-one instruction. This is based on there being no interruptions, and all students being willing to listen, and learn.
So what solutions are there to help teachers faced with a large classroom of children?

Invest enough time into careful lesson planning

Organisation is key when it comes to executing a great lesson to a room full of students, whether that’s a group of 15 - or a group of 30+. So when it comes to teaching a larger classroom, the planning needs to be even more meticulous in order to best maximise the time with the students.

Embrace collaborative working

Encouraging students to work in groups is proven not only to develop great teamwork and communication skills, but also leads to information being better retained.
Aside from keeping students engaged, collaborative working frees up teachers’ time by enabling them to address students in small groups, instead of individually.

Give students a platform to be heard

As classroom sizes grow, the likelihood of all of all the students being able to engage and be involved within group discussions decreases.
It’s very common that if a teacher asks a question, it is often the same students who will be confident enough to raise their hand and offer an answer.
With this said, it is important for teachers to develop a platform for those students who may lack confidence in this area to not be neglected and to request help if needed.

Eliminate distractions and focus on teaching with Classlink

Looking for that extra helping hand in the classroom?
Classlink is the future for school and classroom management; reducing teachers’ workload and giving them better control over what is happening in the devices in their classroom.
Classlink allows a classroom to get back to learning, in a safe environment. Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on for cloud based applications minimising classroom disruption through forgotten passwords
  • A file restore utility reducing classroom disruption through work being lost by being deleted accidentally
  • Student ‘Report a Concern’ allows students to report anything, inside or outside of school, that is concerning or worrying them
  • A key phrase algorithm to report on words that are inappropriate, able to flag potential risks to the students i.e. bullying

Find out how Classlink could be the perfect helping hand in your busy classroom.

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