Why Class Size Matters
Some people will say, “A good teacher should be able to handle a large class, right?” And, while that may be somewhat true, why would we want a good teacher to just handle a class? Don’t we want our teachers to teach their class, nurture their class, and guide their class? Almost any teacher can manage a class, but in order to reach every student, we need more than management.
In 2014, the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder published a study on class size by Northwestern University Associate Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. In it, the finding stated that large class sizes harm student outcomes in not only test scores, but long-term success. This research further indicated that class size not only affects educational achievement, but can have alasting impact on social composition as well.
Teachers are the gatekeepers to children’s success in school, especially in the early years, and if they are overwhelmed with a large class, the students will suffer. In a small class setting, such as the ones you will find at Griffin Christian Academy and Griffin Christian High School, teachers really feel the impact they are making on their students. This increases job satisfaction and morale in the classroom and throughout the entire campus. In addition to teacher approval, smaller class size also has a direct influence on children in three fundamental ways.
Higher Levels of Student Engagement
Students are more likely to participate when they feel supported. A small class setting allows pupils to grow their beliefs and confidence, and form close bonds with each other. Students are encouraged to learn from each other, work together, and help out when needed. In faith-based schools, communicating Christian values becomes more of a priority, as the classroom further becomes a safe environment to share experiences.
Increased Time on Task
A smaller class means fewer distractions and disruptive behavior. This is particularly the case in the early years, when new students are still learning the ways of the classroom. These years are when habits form, and if behaviors are overlooked because the teachers are overwhelmed, they seldom improve in the upper grades. This philosophy continues to the later years in school, as teenagers may be tempted to test their boundaries and values.
With a smaller class size, there is a greater opportunity for individual interaction between child and teacher, making it easier for the teacher to create a learning plan for each pupil. If one student is struggling, he won’t be left behind because 29 other children need to move on to the next lesson.
Class size matters. It increases student achievement and interaction, and decreases discipline problems and learning difficulties. While the public school system battles with ways to reduce class size, private schools, including Griffin Christian Schools, typically don’t struggle with this issue. Most public schools systems need to rearrange a structure that has been in place for decades, taking into account funding, hiring policies, staff numbers, school building size, and state curriculum mandates, making small classrooms a challenge. Griffin Christian Schools were built with small class size a priority from the beginning, so that we can accommodate the challenges that come with growth, without losing the principals the Academy was founded upon.