Class sizes have always been a hot topic when it comes to our education system. There are a variety of opinions on how we should go about bridging the ever-growing gap between student numbers and resources to hire teachers. Most agree that bulging class sizes are a growing challenge to dedicated teachers wanting to provide a quality educational experience for all students. Fall of 2010 is the last reported student to teacher ratio information available. In the fall of 2010 the average class size of elementary students was 20.6 and the average high school class size was 24.1 According to the Whitehouse.Gov most people will agree that when you have between 20 and 30 students in a class no matter how hard the teacher tries not every student is going to get the help or attention that they need. How can we help our teachers with the ever growing class sizes?
Many states have recognized the growing problem and are taking steps to bring the teacher to student ratio down. Tennessee’s Project STAR has been one of the most influential programs in reducing class sizes over the last couple years. Project STAR found evidence that reducing class sizes improved students’ academics.
We know that smaller classes help, so why aren’t we implementing programs like STAR into every school in the nation? Most schools do not have the budget to hire additional teachers or teacher aids, so what can we do to help our students and teachers?
Some innovative teachers are using a “flipped classroom” system to make sure that each student is getting the help that they need. In a flipped classroom the teacher isn’t the only one teaching, students help other students and there are many online programs that students can use to help with assignments. (Check out the 10 best online tools for a flipped classroom)
Online programs that students can access from home or in the classroom to get additional help can have a huge impact on their success. With more children entering the classroom every year, we need to continue to explore creative ways to bridge the resource gap and support teachers.