How Does Class Size Affect Learning Around the World?
While teachers, researchers and politicians are still debating the outcome of smaller class size in the U.S., one might also consider a global perspective of education looking at student-teacher ratios from country to country. We’ve created an infographic below to illustrate just some of the differences in classrooms around the world.
Many people believe lowering class size raises student achievement, so it’s imperative to have fewer students per teacher. But it’s important not to lose sight of cultural differences when we compare class size from country to country.
For example, every culture handles discipline and reward differently, many focusing on one principle more than the other. Americans have implemented more positive reinforcement into their school systems recently, requiring teachers to use careful language and encourage individuality. Chinese classrooms are often highly regimented and teach students to be the same through group activities and repetition.
Another factor to consider is whether techniques and strategies surpass numbers. If an educator teaches a class of 15 the same way he or she would teach a class of 30, what is gained from having fewer students in the class?
Many people associate smaller class size with more individualized instruction and help, but this may not always be the case. There are many other factors that impact the amount of support every student receives, often affected by socioeconomic status and resources. But if educators around the world continue to work on accessibility and equality in education as well as innovative lesson planning, maybe a smaller student-teacher ratio could make it easier for students from Boston to Beijing to succeed.
Jennifer is a Boston-based freelance journalist who has covered emerging fashion and New York Fashion Week for Papercut magazine. When she isn't talking people's ears off, she studies art history and reconstructs thrift clothes into her own designs.