Class size and student teacher ratio
Class size and student teacher ratios go hand in hand. Class size is the number of students and teachers in a given class. A student teacher ratio is the number of students compared to the number of teachers. Mrs. Higgins, a Heritage Academy English and History teacher, stated “Anything less than thirty students to every teacher is manageable, with around twenty-five students per teacher being an ideal number.” Having over thirty students makes it more difficult for students to focus and participate in class, due to distraction and noise.
The benefits of small classes
Small, core content classes allow students to focus more on the task at hand, without being distracted by the noise of a large class. In addition, students can become closer with their teachers, and feel more comfortable asking them for help, advice, or tutoring. Teachers are also more available as a resource to students who have difficulty understanding certain concepts.
The detriments of overcrowding
Overcrowding can cause disruptions in class, causing students to be unable to focus and understand what the teacher is trying to explain. Teachers are much busier, which reduces their availability for tutoring. Studies show that teachers with larger classes are more worn down both physically and mentally.
Advantages of personal connections with students
Smaller class sizes facilitate stronger interpersonal relationships between teachers and students. Teachers who have personal connections with students are able to teach more easily, and students who have connections with teachers are able to learn more readily. Multiple students at the Heritage Gateway campus reported being able to focus and learn more easily when they have a personal connection with their teachers.
Heritage class sizes are relatively small and effective. The core classes are usually around the optimal range, which is 20-25 students.
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The Importance of Education
Obviously, some classes require more students, such as choir, for the acoustics, but the issue is that class sizes are a hotly debated topic throughout the United States. Although we have debatably more pressing issues to talk about, class sizes are still an issue, as education is one of the most important aspects of a successful civilization. Looking at successful education programs in the past, countries and groups with better programs are more successful in almost every aspect of their endeavors. A common example is Athens and Sparta. Athens and Sparta both had their own successful education programs, and they are considered two of the most successful governments in world history.
One common saying is that “our children are our future”, and this is true in almost every aspect.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of education, let’s take a look at the impact class size can have on education. With a large class size comes the aforementioned issues, which can impact students’ grades heavily. Classes in Heritage Academy are much smaller and more student-oriented than competing schools in Arizona. Our focus on the individuality of each student and the relationships between student and teachers allows us to create an environment where (junior) high schoolers are able to focus and learn more effectively. In fact, the Mesa campus “ranks 13th among the ranks of Arizona’s top high schools by SAT score.”
Class sizes heavily impact the grades and overall experience of scholars, especially at a high school age and level. Students in their teenage years are highly malleable in their education, and the habits they learn in school will likely stay with them for the rest of their life. This is why it is so important for teachers to be able to have one on one time with their students, and with a large class size, this would not be possible.
This post was written by Jason Larsen, a scholar attending the Heritage Academy Gateway campus.