Schooling is an important rite of passage for every human being with dreams of becoming a better person in life. It provides the leaner with a number of rudiments that enable him/her to handle life with ease and thought. The degree of thought differs from one person to another in a number of ways. By birth, there are people born with excellent minds whose thoughts are logical most of the time. On the other hand, there are the average people who seek the intervention of curriculums. Whichever the class one person belongs to, learning doesn’t rotate in logical thoughts or the ability to solve problems. Learning involves pursuing one course at a time in order to achieve the required margin of wits to ensure that one is eligible for consideration at his/her career choice.
The dream career of every human being is realized through two ways; Doing the right thing and doing it at the appropriate place. Doing the right thing involves putting all the necessary efforts required to realize the dream. Being at the right place involves investing those resources at the only place where there is mobility of interest. Mobility of interest in this case is used to refer to the channels that make learning effective and of good quality. Quality education involves students’ efforts being invested in the right learning environments. Right learning environment is categorized into two classes. The two classes involve the physical environment and human environment. Physical environment is made up of facilities, classrooms, equipment, and conduciveness. Human environment is made of students, teachers, levels of tolerance, and culture play.
In this research paper discussed are the benefits of small schools and small classrooms relative to the above points. The benefits of the small schools and small classrooms are compared directly with the opposite to list and explain their upper handedness. The aspect of size is discussed under quantity while the benefits are drawn from consideration of quality against quantity. Under quantity, aspects like discipline, teacher-student relationships, academic strategies, level of concentration, and amount of time to get concepts across, are discussed. Under quality, aspects like the degree of understanding, personal and general performance, effectiveness of the teacher relative to number of students, and level of school dropout are discussed (Deal, 1995).
CHAPTER 1: GENERAL BENEFITS
Different student bodies demand for different measures in ensuring that they excel in their academics. At individual level, one student would understand more than another in the same class. Just like in business and trade, tastes and preferences play a role in academics as well. Different students would prefer to be couched through the entire lesson in order to get the concept well. On the other hand, there are those who would not require special attention. Once the instructions are passed through, they are able to stick within the guidelines of the instructions. There are still other students who would like to have bits of each; to be given instruction and be pointed the right way.
The benefit of a small school small classroom is that a teacher is able to notice and keep track of special requirements of individual students. It is in this sense that a teacher devises appropriate instructional strategies to meet the preferences of the different students. In learning, it is illegal or unethical for a teacher to assume that all students can learn the same way. It is also unethical for a teacher to use a teaching method that benefits only one part or half of his/her students. With ethics in play, the benefit of a small classroom is that the teacher will be heads up with the different kinds of student preferences.
If half of the class prefers the use of one-on-one assistance from the teacher while a quarter is ok with whichever method is used, then the other quarter needs to be given attention as well. This undertaking could be tiresome in a general sense. However, if specifically applied in the small classroom, all parties are attended to effectively and learning moves on smoothly. The reason for this is the manageable number of students to be served. Half of 12 is 6 while a quarter is 3; given that the teacher has to deal with these three groups one at a time, less time would be spent. If the above scenario was to be applied in a large class, there would be outstanding initial problem of getting to know the leaning preferences of each student. There still is the possibility that the preferences may be too many for the teacher to handle effectively.
There are 4 levels of educations leadership.These include: teacher, student, class, and the general school. These levels follow each other like the entities of a food chain. When the teacher is very effective, the students become effective in terms of performance. If the students are performing well enough the class gains academic reputation and ends up putting the entire school on an educational leadership board.
Academic leadership at the teacher level for the matter of New Life Academy is achieved by means of a manageable crowd. The small size of the school does not refer to small fields of dining halls but in terms of population. The smaller the general population of students in the school, the smaller was the number of students distributed in each class. This factor has allowed the teachers to exercise their full responsibility effectively. With this, each teacher is a leader in his/her department of studies. This also involves an environment where a teacher does not have to run after students all over to pass instructions. Merging the effectiveness of the teacher with the student-teacher relationship, ground of understanding, are reached, and following instructions is simplified.
One step down the chain is the student. The importance of the student in this is in being the center of attention. The school and the class will depend on the level of performance of the student in order to acclaim a position at the top rankings of schools. If the teacher is there and the student is absent, there would be no school or class for that matter. A Small school and small classrooms in New Life Academy has been beneficial to the student in that it allows the student to focus on the important aspects only. The aspects are competing with fellow colleagues and students from other institutions effectively. Competition here does not include being in the hierarchy of performing institutions despite the positions one is appearing. It means the ability of students to challenge each other academically without uncertain destructions. This in the long run, has put New Life Academy at the fore front of academic giants. This means that the fact that New Life Academy has focused on maintaining a small population, individual students have gained academic leadership.
Individualism is important when certificates are required before joining a higher educational institution. However, when ranking classes over a number of years and assessing the performance of teachers, the average performance of all students joined is established. The class at which one student learns comprises of other students and their grades contribute to the average mark of the class. Being small in size and hosting small number of students per class has helped New Life Academy distribute the grades among a small number of good performing students. This has led to an above average class score as compared to other schools that do not embrace the culture of maintaining a small population.
Small classrooms mean few students per class. This has given New Life Academy the power to produce good performing classes. The class performances are the only considerations mostly made when ranking schools. The rank of the school aids in the building of the school culture. Discussed later in this paper, culture of a school is the backbone of marketing students once they have left the institution. New Life Academy has achieved better rankings than most of other older schools whose management think quantity contributes to either performance or good ranking (Posner, 1987).
Impact of Standard Movements
Standard movements are the tactics used by educational and school boards to rank schools and students respectively. There are different levels of determining the performance of a school or a student. The examination board is one of the bodies that is used to determine this factor. As Peterson (1988) explains in his book, examination is the standard method of testing standards. The work done by a teacher is reflected by the student in terms of how he/she performs. The level of performance, either better or worse, than another student, tells the level of preparedness of the student. The student is not to blame all the time if the expected mark is not achieved. In other words, all that a teacher teaches to his or her students may not stick because a number of issues come in between. The ability to master the art of dealing with the issues and getting them out of the way of the students helps the teacher attain good ranking at the school level.
Difference of schools comes in the way students perform. Performance on the other hand is affected by all factors of management. Some of the factors of management include crowing in classes and having fairly ineffective teachers. This is the point where examinations come to aid in ranking schools and making a report to the education board. It depends on how a school performs to be regarded as an effective institution of learning or not. With this in mind, schools, besides New Life academy, have started to see the importance of focusing on the interests of the students of excelling, more. As much as the education board does not produce different guideline materials for densely and lightly populated schools, examinations stand to be a standard grading factor that tells the performance of a school. The smaller a school happens to be, the more effective it will be run and the better it will perform (Hamilton, 1983).
In the context of small schools and small classrooms, there is potential in small schools of performing better than larger schools. With variable number of students and teacher experience, if facilities and resources are kept constant and equal, the small schools are likely to perform better than larger schools. With the standards being set by the examination performance, teacher experience is expected to differ considerably in favor of the small school small classroom settings. Assessing the level of teacher experience and the average performance of classes, New Life Academy has attained the standards required by the education board and tested by the examination board.
Among the problems that face the world today is the inefficiency of people to maintain an appropriate level of consistency in performing their daily activities. Among the activities that people are entitled to maintaining consistency in include going to school, work, and to their respective churches. Students are not left out in this. From time immemorial, schools have been known to keep fluctuating records in terms of the number of students attending class in a particular day. There are several reasons associated with the high levels of attendance fluctuation in school. Some would blame the economy and unreliability of the transport system. The factual reason to this is the high numbers of students studying in one class at the same time. To the eyes of the teacher, a class will always look full. In the actual sense, a student who attended class previously is missing from the on going lecture. The trend goes on and on but to the teacher, the class looks full all the times (Klonsky, 2002).
The above is a big problem reported on large schools with large classrooms. It also comprises the negative effects of crowding that give way to hiding in class. The level of active participation by the students drops with increase in class population. When hiding is found out to be time and resource wasting, absenteeism is resulted to. Daily attendance is affected by taking these kinds of chances. Performance of the student engaging in this king of behavior drops and in the long rum if two a considerable percentage of students adapt this behavior, the overall class and school performance is put in jeopardy (Kennedy, et al. 1989).
Small classrooms in a small school help to remarkably reduce the levels of absenteeism and aid in promoting consistency in daily class attendance. As one reason contributing to poor performance, absenteeism has no place in a small school small classroom setting. As discussed earlier, when a classroom is crowded students will resulting to hiding in the class rather than participating actively. When hiding is realized by the ‘offender’ as time and resource consuming, he/she decidesto stay away rather than waste time walking, driving, or being driven to school. It follows that these trends follow each other. So if hiding is brought by the fact of crowding and later results to absenteeism, it means small school small classroom benefits the instructor, the student, and the school in general by making sure that all aspects that can result to fluctuating daily attendance are done away with (Johnson, 2006).
Dropout Levels between Small and Large Schools
To address the issues of dropping out from school, this section compares the number of contributing factors between large schools and small schools. Then the comparison is reduced to the level of New Life Academy as a small school small classroom set up. Numbers are mostly the underlying factor to go by (Bowen, 2007). It is through numbers that we calculate the difference between a large school and a small school.
In lager schools, statistics show that 67% or two thirds of the teachers posted in those schools are under experienced. 67% of under experienced teachers is considered a big number when it comes to putting the lives of the students at the risk low quality education. Through these teachers, a student’s ability of attaining the best of his/her abilities is reduced by 67%. This is because the curriculum is not made of one subject. With the fact that the curriculum is made of several subjects, possibility is that many students would not be sufficiently taught by one good teacher. If the inexperienced teachers come to the same class to take the students through a different subject, possibility is that the level of performance in that subject is very low. If 67% of the subjects are poorly performed, the overall mark is greatly affected (Bickel, 1999).
The performance level of an individual student tells if thestudent would have enough psych to continue with school. The performance background of a student is one of the things that are checked incase a student decides to shift schools. The bad performance of a school in general plays a great deal in damaging the level of chances a student will have when seeking position in another school. The blame cannot be put on a specific teacher in the school being abandoned. Its failure history at the national and location specific levels always surfaces hence diminishing the chances of consideration. All these are the effects of studying in a large school with inexperienced instructors.
On the level of overall student performance, small schools have the advantage of scoring better grades than large schools. Besides the number of students per classroom, the experience of a teacher is always the entry requirement before being considered for the school. The goal of the small school differs with the goal of the large school in that the latter seeks to help. Small schools do not seek to help students get good grades. However, they thrive to make sure that a student gets good grades within all ethical means possible.
With the history of performance playing a role when students are to be considered for transfers to other schools, students from small schools have the best of chances in securing the available positions. Despite the fact that students from such schools are in better positions of securing available admission vacancies, if performance of their schools is one thing to go by, it is mostly not the reason behind their shifting.
New Life Academy has the benefit of securing some of the most experienced teachers. It is through this that its size has impacted the quality of education offered. Unlike the large school counterparts, students are contented with the overall performance and the efforts applied by their teachers. In some astonishing facts, students fleeing from low quality of education offered in large schools have sought vacancy in New Life Academy. Some have been lucky to secure the positions when they were available and others have not. It is through devotion of teachers, students, and management that New Life Academy has attained a regional recognition through investing quality in education and cutting down on quantity.
Mobility of Knowledge
Mobility of knowledge is the process of transferring mentally building information from one point to another. The universal entity of the process is the human mind while the rest of the points differ. The points where knowledge can be found include books, webpages, class lectures, live-forums, and documentaries among others. Besides the more diversified sources of knowledge, teachers/instructors/professors are the main sources of knowledge in a classroom. Knowledge is different from being informed in a number of ways. The first way is that knowledge comprises of facts one knows about a particular subject with keen interest on variables while being informed may comprise of basic points of a subject. The second way in which knowledge differs from being informed is in nature of tending to address specific entities regarding a subject while being informed involves having a clustered pack of details about an entity whose factual variable stands to be questioned.
In the classroom context, an instructor is the main source of information that builds knowledge in the specific course. In the case of propagating knowledge from the instructor to the student effectively, a variety of assumptions are made: The teacher should establish a common language within which he/she can communicate effectively with the student; the student should be generally informed about the subject; the teacher and the student should both be willing to instruct and be instructed respectively. The assumptions are not written down on a piece of paper like a set of rules; however, one party assumes that the other knows the business that brought them together.
Inside a small school with small classrooms, the mobility of knowledge is bi-directional. The instructor gives knowledge to the class in general while those who attain better knowledge pass it to those experiencing difficulties. The small number of students being fitted in a wide scope of time allows for knowledge to be passed through. In this setting, students who researches ahead of the instructor are in a better position to correct the instructor incase he/she misses something – after all, human is to error. Benefit of the small school small classroom is the diversity of knowledge mobility.
Differentiating Quality and Quantity
Quality is the degree of fineness and durability an item has. In school context, education quality is defined by its efficacy in addressing all underlying requirements. The requirements that education is aimed at addressing include pressing issues of employment, competing with the rest of the world effectively, and producing top class scholars who have the ability to move economies of development. In this sense quality depends on characteristics of the syllabus and the efficacy of the institution where the education was attained from.
Quantity is the amount of units comprised in an item or a measure of weight. In a school context quantity means the number of students, teachers, classes, and available learning facilities. Schools differ from each other by the difference in the above elements. One school will have more students than another while the other may have more teachers. With elements like the number of learning facilities and teachers kept constant, the quantity of students in a school would define a number of standards. The small the number of students, the smaller the school will be regarded as and vice versa.
Quantity in terms of students defines the possibilities of attaining quality education to an individual student. Jewell (1989) and Jimerson (2006) investigated the impact of quantity on quality of education. Their findings showed that; with respect to facilities and teachers, the number of students in one physical class was inversely proportional to quality of education. If the same learning facilities are to be shared by many students at a go, chances are, the students will not get equal opportunities to utilize the facilities. With quantity going against quality in the small school small classroom at New Life Academy, quality is at the top. The limiting of classroom size has limited the number of students that can be fitted in the class at a time. At the same time it has led to instructor’s message reaching the students audibly well hence enhancing their levels of understanding.
Reasonable Number of Students a Teacher Can Handle Effectively At a Time
Small schools with small classes have the potential of maximizing teachers’ abilities. The distribution of a teacher’s capabilities is fairly done across a small number of heads in the class. As the population in a class drops or increases, the teacher’s ability to keep the students on the right track goes up and down respectively. Consistency is one element of showcasing a teacher’s ability to keep his/her class focused. Amongst the elements of effective teaching is maintaining class virtues and making the students aware of their responsibilities. Class virtues include maintaining a smooth curve in performance graphs.
The number of students in one class is inversely proportional to the ability of the teacher to keep his/her class focused. New Life Academy has ensured that the number of student in each class can be handled by the teachers. With this being done, the teachers do not use tolerance as their mechanism for success. Instead they use personal interests as the pillars of success. Many of the teachers have made success and level of discipline their top priority. With the limited number of students, a teacher is able to address issues at the personal level with the students.
The aspect of small school shows the number of classes as well as the population of the school. Small schools will teach as many courses as any other school. However, the number of classes one teacher would be teaching at a go is limited. Even if a teacher teaches in more that 6 classes per day, he/she will be in a better position to know each student at a personal level if the number of students per class is minimal. Special attention, one-on-one consultations, and grade discussion are given to the student. The benefit of the small school small classroom in terms of teacher to student ratio is in making sure that the students are served effectively by the teacher. On the side of the teacher, few students can be handled well than many. The teacher comes up with mechanisms of making sure each student excels with the best of his/her ability (Word, Johnston. et. al. 1990)
Instructional strategies can be categorized in three levels depending on the motives of the teacher. One teacher would pile up assignments and give out notes in printed form to get over with the task at hand. Another teacher would assume that he/she has done enough of his/her part and it is the students’ time to play their part. Lastly, a teacher would be in a position where he needs to achieve academic success by producing top students. The above three motives have different strategies of being achieved. Depending on the number of students, learning facilities, and conduciveness of the environment, one would find reasons that hinder him/her from realizing their dreams. Some would say, “If the pay is good, why should I care about how many A+ grades my class scores”. However, good and ethical teaching practices do not allow for such behavior in and outside the teaching field.
Applying instructional strategies is the responsibility of the teacher and the management of a school. Konstantopoulos (2000) conducted a research that was aimed at reporting on the effectiveness of instructional strategies in relation to the number of students found at different classes. 45 schools were chosen and all accepted to participate in the research. About 50 percent of those schools were large schools and the rest where considered small. More specifically, the study did not include small schools with large classes. It was found that 70% of the large schools applied similar or almost similar instructional strategies as small schools. However, it was found out that the more the students increased in every class observed, the worse the effects of the instructional strategies. Applying the small school small classroom instructional strategy in a large school large classroom did not work. In small schools small classrooms, the teachers have an added advantage over the large schools. This is because inspite of lack of time, teachers can schedule academic meetings with their students. On the other hand, large schools’ teachers do not even know three quarter of the class members they teach.
New life Academy’s culture is comprised of good performance and discipline among students. Instructional strategies do not differ a lot from one teacher to the next. However, if the need comes, applying custom instructional strategies are resulted to benefit a certain group of students. If one strategy does not sail through in one class, a number of other strategies can be adapted. It is the nature of the students, their number, and the determination of their teachers that make instructional strategies worthy applying in and out of class.
Building School Culture
Performance in small school small classroom is the highly prioritized characteristic of the setting. Students aim at scoring the best of grades in respect to their abilities. Teachers push students to attain those grades by couching them individually and generally. The general degree of the teachers’ participation with the students’ depends on the level of cooperation the students showcase. The upper hand that the teachers have over the students is in the sense of tension that hangs at the class atmosphere. This level of tension is brought by the fact that none of the students is willing to be defeated academically by a fellow student who they share the same teacher with. In other words, the small classroom atmosphere makes the students vulnerable and uncomfortable. In order to reduce the feeling of vulnerability and uncomfortability, the students engage one another of an academic combat. The end result of this combat is increased competition, good grades, and an outstanding overall performance (Lipsomb, 2005).
The discipline level of the small school small classroom at New Life Academy can be applauded for partially building the school’s culture what it is today. The performance point made above does not stand alone on the grounds of students’ vulnerability and uncomfortability. Discipline is the driver of success and where performance is achieved without courtesy being paid to discipline; grades are not made excuses to success. New Life Academy has benefited students with success due to the high standards it keeps in terms of discipline (Lumsden, 1998).
The aspect of schools being referred because they produced a prominent personality has long been done away with. In this time and age, what a school is seen doing to its students is what parents, students, and employers will go with. Attaining recognition considers discipline and performance. Recognition of a school is achieved by its culture. The culture of a school is characterized by the production of successful personalities. New Life Academy has achieved a culture of being considered a performing giant. Limiting number of students and maximizing at making every student make a mark has benefitted the school in building its culture (Lyson, 2002).
CHAPTER 3: INDIVIDUAL BENEFITS
Optimal Student Learning and Development
Gaining the optimum learning experience takes several steps to be achieved. The main step on this is the level of concentration a student pays during his or her classes. Several other issues come to play when judging whether the required concentration is being achieved. External factors are mostly the main and major issues that affect the level of concentration. Limited access to facilities and equipment is one of the issues. In a classroom, one is supposed to have ultimate access to all facilities that will enable them to excel in order to be in a firm position to compete with the rest of the world. The same course offered in a shady class of 100 students is offered in a fully equipped class of 15.
The above scenario brings us to the point of making sure that students score good grades by working relatively hard to fairly facilitated environment. At New life Academy, small classes have put the interests of the students first beyond its own. The probability of a student attaining his/her optimum best is made up a number of factors. The school size being one of them ensures that the student gets enough space to read, study, and complete assignments at whatever point of the school one wishes. On the other hand, the small class provides a natural environment that favors audibility and effective mobility of instruction. Rare are occasions where a student would claim to have missed anything in class. As it is said, “Understanding in a class is inversely proportional to distance from the instructor and number of students in the class (Kotter, 1996).”
To achieve optimum development, students in New Life Academy have created close bonds with their teachers. This is made possible by the fact that the teachers and the students are close enough to know each other. Development is made possible by the closeness of the teachers and the students. This has resulted to the teachers getting to know the different but few students at personal level. It helps in managing traces of student weakness that may be witnessed. There are times when the small group of students needs to be grouped according to their abilities and levels of understanding. To do this effectively, relative to helping all students achieve the same optimum levels of development, fair distribution to the groups is achieved by applying the teacher-student relationship.
Grade Level Understanding and Performing Proficiencies
At 4 years a normal child is able to connect things logically. This means that the mind becomes developed to a certain degree. As age increases, the development of brains takes full shape and leads to both physical and emotional changes. Other abilities are given way to as a result of the psychological change. The psychological changes allow the child to be able to face fairly complex problems and attempt to solve them. At this point the child is assumed to be acquiring understanding and performing proficiencies. So far, nothing can be associated with knowledge. It is instincts that play a lead role in making the child realize why some things work the way they do. They are also responsible for predicting the outcomes of some activities or the requirements of solving problems (Lipsomb, 2005).
The Importance of school is realized when a student attains understanding of concepts and is able to read proficiently. At the grade levels, a student is supposed to be in a position to understand the logic of matters and be able to reason in a similar way. Performance is considered a trial effort whose importance is in making sure that the student is in the right tracks of understanding concepts. On the other hand, performance does not entail the ability to score good grades in class. It also merges theoretical applications with practical tasks in order to accomplish academic goals. Amongst the goals whose accomplishment requires theoretical application to be blended with practical approaches are academic research and scientific studies.
In a small school small classroom, the grade level understanding beats the age bracket of the occupants of the class. With good understanding, proficiency in performing tasks well is attained if theory and practical work are blended. The small classroom concept benefits students with rewarding them with outstanding understanding and performing proficiencies (Loeb, 2000).
Working vs. Hiding
In the class, working can be defined as the property of active participation by both students and teachers. Active participation includes devotion to follow instruction and to work hard enough to score good grades. Hiding on the other hand can be defined as the opposite of this working. When a student is hiding in class, he/she can be expected to portray behavior that doesn’t concur with the qualities of active participation. Attending class and observing punctuality regularly are some of the attributes of a hiding student. The part played by such a student is by ensuring that teachers, fellow students, and parents believe that he/she is actively learning.
In large schools, the aspects of hiding are a big deal that influences the overall grade of the classes. Due to the large numbers of students in one class, a teacher is unable to keep track of who is actively participative or not. Individually, this aspect of hiding leads to uncertain occurrences. It occurs to the student that he/she cannot allow him/herself to fail; he/she then decides that cheating in exams to continue his legacy of hiding is a good idea. At exam times, big classes are known to split so that exam supervisors can supervise effectively. In such occurrences, the ‘hider’ is cornered and his/her grades do not appeal once the exam results are out. Continuance of this leads to the student being discontinued or deciding to dropout from school.
Small classrooms benefit students by eliminating the extra human debris that one student would use to hide. In this case, the students who would have considered hiding have no room for such activity. They give up their trying and join the rest in making ethical efforts. It is through this sense that small school small classroom is considered beneficial. At this level the benefits are mostly for the student while to a small bit benefiting the teacher. Students do not have room to hide in such classes so they must invest their hard work in order to compete with the rest of the students. When students do not have anywhere to hide, teachers benefit by realizing that their classes are performing well in the national and district grinds (Whitmore, 2001).
Exceptionally Good Performance vs. School Size
In academic settings, there are three kinds of students in every class, the exceptional good performing, reasonably good performing, and the poorly performing (Senge, et. al. 1994). The above is an imagined situation that has not been proven in all academic settings. However, in densely populated schools, the above theory is true in that all students are ranked according to their grades. The problems with the grades of poorly performing students originated from the level of their mental abilities and attention given to them. Their level of failure does not justify the above theory. However, it explains some level of negligence by the teachers or incapacitation of the school management. Incapacitation by the school management means the inability of the management to keep the teacher to student ratio considerably low enough to enable effective learning.
It is believed that exceptionally good performers in a class will pull up the failing lot and lift up the average grade of the class (Hirsch, 1960). At New Life Academy, the ratio of good performers to poor performer results to an infinite entity. This is because there are no poor performers. The number of students is small enough that the teachers have enough time to get to know the weaknesses of individual students and helping them before tests. Assuming the theory that different classes will comprise of students with differing mental abilities is true, the level of teacher-student closeness helps pull the gap together in favor of the slow learners. The other part of good performers being used by teachers as bail for the poor performance is untrue in this case. This is because the teachers invest their time in getting to identify the problems their students are having; be it a problem of understanding concepts, following orders, or completing assignments in time, the teacher always the time to have the problem addressed.
Small school small classroom concept is an ideal factor that New Life Academy has taken advantage of in ensuring that there are no chances of some students leaning on the performance of others. The teachers have also benefited from the small number of students they have through their ability to produce an all-performing-lot. To the advantage of the teacher, the class performance defines the teachers’ experience and gives way to better financial heights.
Reasonably Good Performance vs. General Performance
General performance of any school depends on the participation of the students. The participation could be outstanding or above average. Those students who score above average grade are considered as reasonably good performing students. Their impact in the class is fair and at times if merged with the exceptionally good performers lift up the average mark of the class and school all together. There are reasons as to why the same class would produce tow levels of performance. If the teacher is not as focused as he or she should, the students would pick up on that and this would lead to a drop on their performance. The exceptionally good performers is likely to continue performing that way despite any alteration a teacher may make in the entire class. The reason for this happening is because teachers tend to see the exceptional good performers as their bail in case the other lot of students fails. This is brought by the fact that the teachers tend to invest their attention on the good performers while giving the rest of the students divided or little attention (Moss, et al. 1990).
The benefit of small school small classrooms at New Life Academy with regard to reasonably good performers against the general performance is sustainable growth. The growth of the students in terms of academic performance is the focus of teacher in this Academy. While a part of the class is exceptionally good performing, the lot that does perform as well is the reasonably good performing. The element of growth is brought in by the fact that a teacher has the time and resources to address the reasons that make the performance to differ from one student to another. When this is reviewed and the cause to it figured out, the general growth of the students is achieved by remedying the unfavorable conditions. With a small number of students, if one half of them is performing exceptionally good and the other is performing reasonably good then there is a chance that all student can perform as good as each other.
Good performance is not rewarded with good grades only; a number of opportunities are open for both the teacher and the student. If a teacher maintains a good record, chances are he or she will be promoted or this may result to a salary increment. On other grounds, it comes to a point when a teacher would like to shift from the current school he teacher to another due to proximity values. If this time comes on the life of the teacher, good record he or she holds will land him/her good school to teach. This factor is one of the reasons why most schools try to convince teacher from New Life Academy to join them. Although they can shift if they wanted to, teachers in New Life Academy are not carried away by salary packages but by values. Values in this case mean the quality of students and the level of performing potential they have. Working with a small number of controllable students has given the teacher opportunities to explore and take advantage of all economies of attaining good teaching reputations.
The on the side of the students, opportunities surround them all over due to the fact that they study at New Life Academy. Some of the opportunities that they are surrounded with include high levels of consideration by higher learning institution when they leave for further studying. The culture of the school has been manifested in the small number of students it thrives to giving quality education to. Once they leave school, students from New Life academy are respected by other students and believed to perform even better at higher learning institutions (Thompson, 1995).
General Performance vs. Class Size
What is the considerable class size that can maintain good performance? The answer does not lie in digits like 7 or 10 but in the ratio of students to facilities and teachers. When the class size is too small, probability has it that there would be no competition and students would not gain the mentality of good performance. On the other hand, if students are too many in a class or exceed the number of facilities available to them, they have the potential of failing in their attempts to perform well.
The instructors or the teachers are to blame for the failure of students. The above statement is only true if there is evidence that the teacher has been neglecting his/her duties. Responsibilities in a learning institution fall under three pairs of hands. There is the management, the teacher, and the student. Many are times that the student has no choice but to follow instructions to the latter. It is the responsibility of a teacher to ensure that he/she is always well prepared to instruct the students effectively. The efforts of the teachers can only be fruitful if management helps out. The responsibility of management is to make sure that the number of students they enroll in the institution does not exceed the number of teaching facilities. In so doing, the few students that the management enrolls can be handled well by the teachers in ensuring levels of discipline and abilities to follow instructions are at top notch.
The fact that New Life Academy is a small school with small classrooms doesn’t mean that the students are too few. Small classrooms are comprised of between 10 and at most 18 students. Very small classes comprise of between 5 and 9 students. On the latter case, this number of students in a class is too small for the teacher to feel comfortable or utilized enough. The number of students in New Life Academy does not fall under that category of very few. However, the number of students that a teacher is assigned to at any given moment is the appropriate number of students he/she can be able to instruct without complications. Complications can be in form of deteriorating discipline standards or performance fluctuations. These are some of the uncertain occurrences that the small school small classroom strategy at New Life Academy has helped to do away with. General performance and the size of the class have proven to be entities of success. Maintaining both discipline and good performance have been the major benefits of the small school small classroom strategy (Sarita, 1998).
Valuing Student Differences
In classes, teachers will not get to know their students if they do not interact with them. The level of interaction does not end when a teacher gives instructions and the students heed them. Interaction goes a long way in which the teacher develops some form of relationship with the student. This relationship allows the student to develop trust in the teacher. When the students believe that their teacher is the only one who can help them in times of academic needs, a relationship is formed. This case is only true in small school small classroom setting where interaction of students and teachers is much pronounced. Taking an example of a setting where one teacher is supposed to handle a class of 70 students. There is the likelihood that the teacher will only recognize the class representative or the student who sits closest to him/her (Fox, 1980).
In a small school small classroom setting the number of students and their differences in understanding levels is beneficial to the students. Once the teacher has drawn his attention to address the students’needs within the diversity of their differences, making use of his/her time wisely in addressing specifics helps the class as a whole. The diversity of the student body makes it impossible for many teachers to align their abilities with the needs at hand. All students, as long as they are enrolled in one’s class, deserve to be served to excel in their respective classes. To do this, a teacher is obligated to put his/her interest aside and work an extra mile in ensuring that every student is valued equally as the other inspite of the prevailing differences.
The importance of valuing one’s differences is the benefit of making use of time wisely. Molnar (et al. 1999) discovered that the channel of knowledge propagation is in the understanding of prevailing differences between one subject and another. The subjects here are the students. If the teacher is willing to propagate knowledge and any other form of information to the students; he/she is obligated to make use of the differences between the students. Students in a class all have the ability to score impressive grades in a class. However, as we discussed earlier, the level of understanding is different from one student to another. This difference is brought about by their levels of decoding the message. It is also brought by their personal, natural, and mental abilities. With all this diversity, one would wonder how a teacher would be able to cope with all the differences and produce a performing class. The answer to that lies on the level of dedication and respect a teacher has towards the student body. The fewer the students, the higher the levels of being understood and the better they would be valued by their teachers.
Nature of the Student Body Relative to Class Size
Nature of a student body is derived from the attitude of the students towards all activities that are associated with classwork. Classwork comprises of learning, following instructions and sitting for examinations. On a very different but related level, classwork also involves the ability of a teacher and the students to respect each other. When every thing is said and set, doing is the part that proves to be difficulty for most of the students. Finishing assignments in time, being in class in the right time are all elements of discipline. When discipline is not observed in the class, many aspects of learning tend to lag behind. Discipline, besides the efforts by teachers to plant it in students, relies on the nature of the students and the attitude the students have towards obeying and acting responsibly.
Big or small, the number of students does not impact the amount of discipline one has or not. Small school small classroom has the benefit of observing discipline than large schools. Many are times that offenders of indiscipline would be dealt with before their level of indiscipline escalates. It is the mechanism of instilling discipline that matters relative to the size of the classroom. If students are too many for some certain behavior to be noted, the student body is regarded as lost. The consistency of noticing mistakes and rectifying them does not much the high levels of such reports. It is in this case the student body would be labeled as doomed. Doom in the academic context means failure. The type of failure depends on the level of indiscipline amongst the students.
One ill behaved student would result into two considering the same behavior. Three at this moment would turn the whole academic set up into a mess. However, in a small school small classroom, it is hardly the case; it is the benefit of closeness that makes the teacher able to notice ill changes of a student. It is at that moment the teacher would decide to put an end to the behavior by talking and administering punishment to the student. If efforts do not bare any fruits, termination of that student’s schooling life at that particular institution is resulted to. It is better to sacrifice one and save the rest than to spare one and lose all. Nature of the student body plays no role in determining the fate of the class and the school in general. The teachable remain in class while those who feel otherwise are locked out. Nature of the student body comprises of two groups; the willing to be guided and others who get distracted by a number of factors. In this case, the benefit of a small school small classroom is the high level of exercising caution while the limited proximity allows an instructor to note behavioral changes in his/her students.
Teacher Concentration Levels
Concentration in the case of teachers is the degree of awareness that a teacher has on the task at hand. According to the contracts that teachers sign, a certain amount of work is supposed to be done to accomplish certain goals. As a teacher, the goal of teaching is achieving academic recognition by leading a class to victory. In a school setting, there are scales that gauge the level of teacher performance in accordance to the goals they are hired to accomplish. Accomplishment is however hindered by several factors. Among the factors is the level of concentration of the teacher (Cotton, 1996).
The teacher is assumed to be the pillar holding the success of individual students and the class in general. There are incidents that hinder the teachers’ ability to deliver what is required of him/her. The incidents range from the teachers personal experience to the students’ level of participation. When gauging the level of concentration of the teacher, the impact of the students’ nature in class plays a big deal. In respect to the nature of student body, teachers’ level of concentration depends on how much time he/she has allocated for certain specific issues. In a class of vast students with varying reasons of studying, a teacher is supposed to monitor discipline, performance, competition, school attendance, and limiting absenteeism.
Small school small classroom helps the teachers’ level of concentration by limiting the number of issues a teacher is supposed to monitor and make sure they are in the right order. If a number of students require having their discipline levels checked, their performance reviewed, a meeting with their parents arranged, have assignment graded, and ensure that daily class attendance is attained. A teacher in that position is likely to have his/her level of concentration divided to fit the many students’ demands. In the long run if this happens, a teacher is more likely to concentrate more on one issue than another. All issues equally affect the overall performance of the teacher. It is through this case that the benefit of a small school small class would come to light. The level of concentration of a teacher will only be high if the number of students is small. In that case, the number of issues raised is minimal and the amount of resources to deal with them can be met by the teacher (Gump, 1964).
Students Requiring Special Attention
Poor and Disadvantaged students are some of the highest beneficiaries of small school small classroom settings (Inman-Frietas, 1991). Poor and less privileged students are the biggest beneficiaries if only they can access those schools. Disadvantages for a student range from financial instability to physical stabilities. Students with physical challenges like the inability to move along like the others or with hearing problems are considered among the beneficiaries of small school small classroom settings. Their special needs are addressed at a personal level hence creating a means of competing effectively with the rest of the students. Besides being in institutions were such people are taken care of, when it comes to classrooms some of these students are even assigned special learning packages. Through these special packages, a student can get the opportunity to be couched at his/her remote home. The curriculum and the standard movements apply despite their remote learning.
On the same case, it is hard for less privileged students to get that special attention in large schools where everyone seems to have special needs. Small school small classroom setting addresses the special needs of the students by scheduling and even creating timeframes for meeting their needs. It is the interest of the student that is served not the business of being a ‘Good Samaritan’. At the level of a teacher, the above is achieved by grouping the special needs of several students and then classifying them in one group. Any concept that may be requiring special attention of the teacher is addressed collectively. Through this, the students benefit from the special packages that are offered. As long as the context of the small school small classroom has to be obeyed, the small number of students can be sufficiently served no matter the diversity of their needs.
Small school small classroom is a concept that should be considered by every investor willing to open a private school. It has been recognized that public schools want to help students with an academic place to learn the basics of life. However, private schools have been opened to create opportunities to students who would like to excel in life.
From a small school small classroom setting to the perspective of private schools, the benefits of such a school is the compactness of the class relative to the abilities of the available teachers. A small class is better manageable than a larger one in a variety of ways. Some of the ways include; students building learning relationships with their teachers where they can communicate freely about academic challenges and seek the appropriate help, the ability of the teachers to address special needs of individual students, focusing on the welfare of the students and ensuring that all attain the best to their abilities, and surplus time used in addressing discipline and personal behavior of students. Unlike in large schools, a small school does not give room to hiding and absenteeism. Bottom line is; as much as academic excellence is considered a priority, small school small classroom is the answer.