Is the pupil teacher ratio a myth – should one on one, and group tuition be the focus

Tea Party Patriot

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Here is my take on this. When attending college I often learned as much in a class lecture of 300 as I did in a school class of 30.

With the manner in which our secondary education system is set up a teacher only has approximately 40 minutes to impart his or her knowledge during a lesson, 80 minutes in a double class.

In my opinion so long as there is order and silence in the class room, and good acoustics it shouldn’t matter if there are 30 or 300 pupils in attendance, and it will not affect the benefit each gets from the lesson.

However even if the ratio was 20 pupils to one teacher given the 40 min time frame, one on one tuition is still not possible. Therefore my proposal is that class sizes should be increased and the resources saved in doing this be diverted towards employing teachers for one on one or small tutorial group tuition for weaker and disadvantaged students. I would consider that this would be far more beneficial to those who struggle in certain areas of the curriculum that having smaller class sizes.

It is nearly 20 years since I was in the secondary education system so I would appreciate feedback from teachers etc. on this proposal.
 


TonyBird

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You are not comparing like with like . Students in general, are there by choice and have more maturity . Picture a lecture room containing 300 fourteen year olds !
Yer havin a laugh !

In primary I would go for 1 to 10 , in secondary 1 to 20 .
 
D

Dylan2010

for Primary it wouldnt work , no need to explain that one. For secondary, kids should be where they want to be. Probably a third of kids should not be having an education fit for lower level civil servants. The ratio is not the important issue. Anyone remember their Easter courses at the Institute, probably 100+ , it worked because the "kids" wanted to be there
 

rubensni

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Hiring more teachers to increase one-on-one tuition will lower the pupil:teacher ratio, unless you're going to fill these new lectures for primary/secondary kids with thousands of pupils. Oxford university in Britain offers one-on-one tutorials with large lectures, but to facilitate this it has one of the lowest staff:student ratios.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Hiring more teachers to increase one-on-one tuition will lower the pupil:teacher ratio, unless you're going to fill these new lectures for primary/secondary kids with thousands of pupils. Oxford university in Britain offers one-on-one tutorials with large lectures, but to facilitate this it has one of the lowest staff:student ratios.
Sorry on your first point I meant pupil / teacher ratio in relation to the class size not the overall number of teachers to the number of students.

The point I am trying to make is that perhaps we should be moving towards an Oxford style of education. I don't believe that weaker students benifit from the current system even with small class sizes.
 

Interista

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As others have said, you're comparing apples with oranges.

In the first place, a typical university lecture is based on one-way communication (with possibly some room for a question and answer session at the end): the lecturer lectures and the students listen and take notes (or at least they should!) So yes, you are right in saying that in this situation, it matters little whether there are 30 or 300 students in the room.

The situation in schools - both primary and secondary - is very different. Children and teenagers are immature and need to be disciplined - that's impossible to do with 300 of them, and diffiicult enough with 30. Also, a typical lesson at school level involves a lot of interaction between teacher and pupils: asking and answering questions, explaining things individuallly, correcting homework etc. Put it this way: would you like to correct 300 essays on a weekly basis?
 

Emmaroos

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The school I used to work in skewed their class placements so that the teacher with (for example) the top honours maths class had a huge, almost lecture style group while the teachers with the struggling kids may only have had a group of 10. It worked really well, but not for all subjects.
 

Canon

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I consider that there is not enough focus in this discussion on how secondary students learn. Structuring the class time between preparing the context of the learning,presenting the new content, explaining the new material while assessing that everyone is paying attention and questioning to verify that everyone has correctly assimilated and integrated the learning, is complex. Then all we have left is having the new learning recorded, giving exercises to apply and consolidate the learning and setting a test to revise and move the learning into the long term memory.Simple. Are you seriously thinking of 30+ in a class for that?
 

ocoonassa

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With a system of computerised electrodes that can recognise misbehaviours and deliver the appropriate voltage it might just work
 

LongShanks

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Trying to teach 30 kids (even when most of them are "good") can be demanding. It only takes 1 or 2 to wreck havoc in a class and in most cases we're not allowed to exclude them from class because of insurance etc.

Something I was thinking of recently was where students would be taught in intensive modules. I'm doing this presently and it's fantastic. You're not limited by the bell/single/double period and the material seems to get through a lot faster. Unfortunately I'm only able to do this because of exams etc, it's certainly not the norm, but having experienced it I can vouch for it.
 

hmmm

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We had classes of 35/40 in the past and we still raised a generation of well educated adults. Kids will motivate themselves if they want to succeed, I don't see P/T ratios as important except in the case of special needs kids. We should also be thinking about providing good nutritious meals to all kids and making sure that kids who don't have a good home situation have somewhere safe and quiet to study.
 

uriah

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We had classes of 35/40 in the past and we still raised a generation of well educated adults. Kids will motivate themselves if they want to succeed, I don't see P/T ratios as important except in the case of special needs kids. We should also be thinking about providing good nutritious meals to all kids and making sure that kids who don't have a good home situation have somewhere safe and quiet to study.
We did indeed have classes of 35 (and 53!)
And yes, some peopled did manage to acquire a reasonable education - about 20% of the class.

And 10% of those classes were completely failed by the education system.

Do remember that the majority of children with special needs are now in mainstream classes/schools.
 

hmmm

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We did indeed have classes of 35 (and 53!)
And yes, some peopled did manage to acquire a reasonable education - about 20% of the class.
I don't know where you're getting that 20%, classes of 35+ were the norm uptil relatively recently. and we built the (cough) Celtic Tiger using that generation. In my old school kids were streamed early which allowed the higher achievers get on without distractions and allowed teaching resources be concentrated on the kids who struggled.
 

uriah

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I don't know where you're getting that 20%, classes of 35+ were the norm uptil relatively recently. and we built the (cough)
Exactly.

You built the celtic tiger.

If we had produced a truly educated generation, we might never have had to endure the vulgar tiger and might not now be cleaning up the mess he left behind.
 

hmmm

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If we had produced a truly educated generation, we might never have had to endure the vulgar tiger and might not now be cleaning up the mess he left behind.
In fairness, that was a cheap shot and I didn't think you were going to take it :)

Are you claiming that lower P/T ratios would have prevented the Celtic tiger excesses? I don't think so.
 

rubensni

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One thing that came across overwhelmingly in the OECD PISA study was that smaller class sizes do not make for a better standard of education, instead the study showed high performing school systems tend to prioritise teacher pay over smaller class sizes.
 


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