Large classes are common in the Philippine Education setting. Do you happen to teach large classes?
Teachers almost wish they can clone themselves so that they can facilitate a class that could range between 40 to 60 students. That’s a tall order. Don’t you agree?
So, I was reading this educational column by Dr. Rose Senior of the English Teaching Professional Journal and I’d like to share her tips on how to handle Large Classes.
1. Have an opportunity for everyone to be in front of the classroom. Those at the front have the edge in participating fully in the class. So every week or so, the students in the front row move to the back and the rest move forward one row. It’s important that your students feel they have equal opportunities to learn.
2. Interaction in a large class is not impossible. In fact, it is imperative and is very much possible. How? By being creative. Rose Senior says the class can turn to the person sitting next to them to do pair work. Or the one behind them. They can also form groups of 4 in their areas. By playing around with the rows and regularly shifting them, you can make sure that their group mates and partners will be different.
3. When 60 people start talking, that can create a lot of noise. So don’t lose your voice by shouting, “Keep Quiet!”. Instead, do this ritual that you should have established on the first few days of class. The ritual is when the students see you raising your arm, they start quieting down and encourage their peers who are distracted to do the same.
4. Routines. Routines. Routines. In big classes, routines are everything. From how materials are distributed to how tests are administered. It’s hard to deal with 40 to 60 students being confused with what you want, so at the beginning of the school year, make sure they get your routines right so that it becomes automatic.
5. Write your learning objectives and tasks at one corner of the board for each session of the class. In this way, your students can see that everyone is on the same page and that the learning will be collective. They will not feel that only those in front have to do the tasks. It’s a clear guide to everyone as to what the day’s objectives and tasks are.
6. Circulate and move around the room. Do not stay near your table only. You will be giving signals to those far from the table that you don’t care about them. You have to show that you are concerned with the progress of everyone.
Do you have other tips to share when handling large classes? Share them in the comments below 🙂
As always, please share this resource to fellow educators.
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