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(Salon)   Spending a lot of time trying to send your kids to schools with "smaller class sizes?" Guess what; class size doesn't matter. At least, not until you get to college   (salon.com ) divider line
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4258 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Aug 2011 at 10:58 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-08-07 12:11:06 AM  

Talon: scotisle: But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty.

This. One-on-one time is a BIG deal. Your kid has a question? In a class of 7 that question is answered a LOT faster, clearer, and with more care and time given to it.

Your kid has a question in a class of 45? Well so do 6 other kids and you'll have to hope yours gets randomly picked otherwise he'll have to sit there confused until the end of class and hope you have the patience to teach him what he didn't pick up in school that night when he's doing his homework.


kids don't ask questions. and if yours does, it gets answered because there are so few.

Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.
 
2011-08-07 12:14:59 AM  
Yawn, I literally fell asleep while reading TFA.
 
2011-08-07 12:17:47 AM  

flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.


I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.
 
2011-08-07 12:19:52 AM  
So, wonderful, class size, whatever. Ever wonder why there are so many "bad teachers" running around California right now?

A few years back, 22 was the magic number for elementary schools; one of our wonderful initiatives was to get all classrooms down to 22 students. RIGHT NOW!!! The teachers unions protested, because we didn't have enough teachers or classrooms to split down existing classes to 22 students, but that was laid off to the unions not wanting more teachers, etc. The initiative passed handily, and lo & behold, we didn't have enough classrooms or teachers.

First fix: Emergency credentials! If you can pass the CBEST, we'll give you a credential regardless of your other qualifications, and the union and district will pay to get your other requirements up to speed! Never worked with kids, who cares! Gotta have teachers!

Second fix: Temporary classrooms! Did the double-wide trailer industry no end of good, and since those fatties can't do PE anyway, we can fill up the athletic field!

A few years later, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of teachers who should never have been teaching, but we needed teachers! For smaller classrooms! NOW! And we can't fire them, because teachers are protected by their unions regardless of why they were hired--which was part of the reason why the unions didn't want to hire them so fast in the first place. You can't be blaming them for obeying their own rules when they warned the public this was going to happen!

So maybe--just maybe--when a study like this comes along, before fiddling with class sizes and all that, people should take a step back and say, this is just ONE aspect of how kids learn. Maybe we should look at OTHER aspects before we go changing the entire system. K?
 
2011-08-07 12:29:01 AM  

SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.


Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.

Sample set of some questions/comments I get (no joke):

1) Were there hurricanes back then?
2) Who invented the word slow?
3) - Extra Credit on the board - Does these have to be right to get credit?
4) - handing a stack of papers to 1 of 15 rows - What do I do with these?
5) -me- okay, you guys have 60 minutes to finish this part. -student- wait, yesterday you said we had an hour!

I keep a list. I have 40+ more and I read them to all of my classes.
 
2011-08-07 12:30:23 AM  

flunk_your_mother: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.

Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.


Or so your conditioning tells you.
 
2011-08-07 12:32:43 AM  

SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.

Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.

Or so your conditioning tells you.


You know...the clones from Attack of the Clones were created/grown on a planet called Kamino. Just sayin'
 
2011-08-07 12:41:12 AM  
Ugh, I can hear my grandfather rolling around in his grave for that twit having the same name as him...

/granddad was a fire chief for a while
 
2011-08-07 12:42:56 AM  
Teacher here as well, and after reading TFA I just want to throw in that it's BS research. Routinely I have staff ask if the classroom would function better if they reduced class size. Every teacher responds yes. So my classes grew. I wish some sacrifices would be made just like the article stated, I can say it would be my first choice.
 
2011-08-07 01:02:42 AM  
I don't think it matters. I went to elementary school/middle school in the 90s. All my classes had around 50 students in it, and I think I learned just fine, maybe better. Why? because we didn't do tests. Everything was group oriented. We also didn't have individual desks either--it was very hands on. In contrast, when I was In college, I was one of 15 other students and I think my smallest class had only five other students in it. Yeah you get more individual time from the instructor, but I wouldn't say I learned more. I think the teaching style is just different, and the problem happens when you force a group of 50 to learn like a group of 15.

/just my two cents
//slashies!
 
2011-08-07 01:11:27 AM  

flunk_your_mother: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.

Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.

Sample set of some questions/comments I get (no joke):

1) Were there hurricanes back then?
2) Who invented the word slow?
3) - Extra Credit on the board - Does these have to be right to get credit?
4) - handing a stack of papers to 1 of 15 rows - What do I do with these?
5) -me- okay, you guys have 60 minutes to finish this part. -student- wait, yesterday you said we had an hour!

I keep a list. I have 40+ more and I read them to all of my classes.


I work in IT. You should hear some of the retarded questions people ask me on a regular basis.
 
2011-08-07 01:12:37 AM  

Krieghund: Mike_LowELL: I don't care what teachers think. There's an old saying here in Tennessee...I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee...it says "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who destroy our country? Teacher unions." They perpetuate this idea that learning will make you more intelligent and that is simply not true. Look at our President. He is much too overeducated to government. If we stop educating our children, we will start creating jobs and start reducing tax burdens on our wealthiest citizens. Jobs create money, not books. Why can't you bookhead liberals figure this out?

Mike [img.ezinemark.com image 450x339]


I...can't....look....away....

what is this....?
 
2011-08-07 01:23:29 AM  

flunk_your_mother: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.

Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.

Sample set of some questions/comments I get (no joke):

1) Were there hurricanes back then?
2) Who invented the word slow?
3) - Extra Credit on the board - Does these have to be right to get credit?
4) - handing a stack of papers to 1 of 15 rows - What do I do with these?
5) -me- okay, you guys have 60 minutes to finish this part. -student- wait, yesterday you said we had an hour!

I keep a list. I have 40+ more and I read them to all of my classes.


My mom's been a teacher for the last 27 years. So far my favorite story was when she had to explain to one of her classes that they didn't have computers and all that when she was little (she grew up in the 1950's). Their horrified response: "What did you do all day?"
 
2011-08-07 01:41:47 AM  
There's nothing wrong with college criteria. it's time-tested. If you have a problem with classes with more than 20/30/50/300 students, that's your problem, not the school's.

#1 college tip: go to lectures a scant minute or two before they're scheduled to start. Scan the class for hotties (easy to see because they have a wide swath of empty seats around them as most guys are too scared, thinking 'she'll know') and

sit next to them. This works excellently for pairing up at recitations, which are never before the first lecture. (Leaving an empty seat between the two of you, of course, as is college lecture etiquette.)

/did i say this before?
//i type a lot of stuff only to remove it before posting because I don't want to be bombarded by morans
///if you want an education, go to the library
//if you want tons of pussy, go to college
 
2011-08-07 02:17:32 AM  
I don't know how anyone could have spent time in a classroom and think that a bigger class is better (unless you have nothing to compare it to). Having been in classes anywhere from several students to over 100 students, I can tell you big classes are not as conducive to learning, developing critical thinking skills, or having questions answered. Sure there are some kids who will excel regardless of the class size due to their natural intelligence, abilities, and the study skills their parents have instilled in them, but that is not the case for most kids.

Most kids will be distracted in a large classroom (even at the college level). They will chat amongst each other and the teacher will waste the entire class time telling them to quiet down. Otherwise they will most likely doodle, write notes to each other, or mess around on their laptop/cellphone (if permitted). While this could happen in any class size, people are more inclined to partake in such activities when they think they won't get caught. Plus lecture classes tend to be boring for the most part (especially to a child).

An effective classroom includes children being actively engaged in the subject matter which requires their participation and the opportunity to ask questions when necessary. That will never effectively happen in a giant class.
 
2011-08-07 02:47:32 AM  

Molavian: flunk_your_mother: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.

Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.

Sample set of some questions/comments I get (no joke):

1) Were there hurricanes back then?
2) Who invented the word slow?
3) - Extra Credit on the board - Does these have to be right to get credit?
4) - handing a stack of papers to 1 of 15 rows - What do I do with these?
5) -me- okay, you guys have 60 minutes to finish this part. -student- wait, yesterday you said we had an hour!

I keep a list. I have 40+ more and I read them to all of my classes.

I work in IT. You should hear some of the retarded questions people ask me on a regular basis.


I did too. tech support. It took a lady 6 minutes to find her keyboard on one call; not her desk, had to use the program. It was one of those pull out drawers.
 
2011-08-07 02:49:35 AM  

John Dewey: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.

Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.

Or so your conditioning tells you.

You know...the clones from Attack of the Clones were created/grown on a planet called Kamino. Just sayin'


I don't know about that, I was never a fan of Star Trek
 
2011-08-07 03:10:17 AM  
If your kids suck in school, smaller classes increase the chances that they will be among the two or three slowest kids in class. Those are the only ones who get any attention from teachers. I'm not sure that's good for them, though. It might just make them think of themselves as a stupid kid and cause them to chronically underperform. They're probably better off in a bigger class, where they can snicker at the dumber kids and not develop any crippling psychological complexes about being stupid.

If your kids are actually literate and do their work, they will always be ignored no matter what the class size, but it won't matter. What matters is what kind of class they're in. They'll get a better education in a fifty-person AP class where they work their asses off to get by than in a ten-person non-AP class where they get personal attention to help them achieve mediocrity.
 
2011-08-07 03:31:45 AM  

rpl: Back in the '70s, the USSR had fished some species of herring to [near?] extinction. Overnight, the newspapers were flooded with articles on how herring is bad for you and singing praises to the dietary and culinary properties of some other type of fish (which no one had even heard of up until this point and which, surprise surprise, appeared immediately afterwards as the replacement).

But hey, that was back in our little hell where the government, the media and business were monolithically intertwined - not at all like with you guys.


Suh-weet. Need to use that sarcasm font though.
 
2011-08-07 04:00:55 AM  
Kids perform better if they have individual targets for math, reading and writing.

When I taught a class of 20, with a teaching assistant, I had time to set and monitor these individual targets.

With class of 31 and no TA, I don't.


****

However, something to think about, vis causation and correlation.

A bigger class means more work for no additional reward. Given the choice, a teacher will choose to work with smaller classes. Which teachers get first choice of school, and so can choose what size class they get? The good ones.
 
rpl
2011-08-07 04:39:35 AM  

krackpipe: rpl: Back in the '70s, the USSR had fished some species of herring to [near?] extinction. Overnight, the newspapers were flooded with articles on how herring is bad for you and singing praises to the dietary and culinary properties of some other type of fish (which no one had even heard of up until this point and which, surprise surprise, appeared immediately afterwards as the replacement).

But hey, that was back in our little hell where the government, the media and business were monolithically intertwined - not at all like with you guys.

Suh-weet. Need to use that sarcasm font though.


What, you mean like comic sans?
 
2011-08-07 05:54:29 AM  
What a moronic article. I would like to stick that author in a classroom jammed with 35 elementary school students and insufficient space to even more around because it is so crowded. Then, they will teach the class and attempt to 1) get a damn thing done, 2) be able to talk over the children's noise making, 3) give genuine and substantial feedback to each and every student, and 4) not kill a student or kill themselves. Class size matters at all age levels. Anyone who is arguing that it doesn't really matter until middle or high school is deluded and has no idea what it is like to be a teacher. Hulk smash.
 
2011-08-07 08:28:29 AM  

FrankTheYank: If your kids suck in school, smaller classes increase the chances that they will be among the two or three slowest kids in class. Those are the only ones who get any attention from teachers.


What?
 
2011-08-07 08:38:58 AM  

colithian: I really never understood that "smaller class size" shiat. As long as 50 students aren't being crammed in the same room, I don't care what the class size is.


Try to teach 50 kindergarteners, without any assistance, then get back to me.
 
2011-08-07 08:48:16 AM  

UNC_Samurai: scotisle: This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe. Usually it's pushed by someone who hasn't spent any time in a classroom. Is class size the only factor? No. But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty. This is all part of a campaign to make it okay for schools to pack forty or fifty kids into classrooms. It's political, not scientific. It's more about destroying unions and cutting costs than any real pedagogical reason.

The last study I saw said that class size doesn't make an impact until you get it down around 15 or so. Going from 30 to 25 students doesn't make a difference? I can understand that. But we're not willing to make the changes to the educational system necessary to get to this level, in part because we've got this notion of "throwing money" at education. And yes, there is waste in the system, but the only actual fixes will require significant labor and capital.


So if European nations are spending about 2/3 of what we spend on education per pupil, how is it that we need to spend even more to do better?

protip: When you compare health care spending in the US compared to Europe with similar results, you don't hear many people saying the US needs to spend more on health care.
 
2011-08-07 09:11:49 AM  

Cataholic: So if European nations are spending about 2/3 of what we spend on education per pupil, how is it that we need to spend even more to do better?

protip: When you compare health care spending in the US compared to Europe with similar results, you don't hear many people saying the US needs to spend more on health care.



We spend quite a bit of our money on meaningless mandates. There is also the problem of an insane number of middle men between funds and the students. For example, if the funding of our school system was suddenly increased by 2 million -- we'd probably hire 3-5 new administrative secretaries (those are the ones that don't go near the schools), and then waste quite a bit more on a new football stadium or hiring some financial consultant to tell us how to better spend our money. The end result is that the students (not the teachers) might see about 100k of that money.
 
2011-08-07 09:15:40 AM  

Gyrfalcon: And we can't fire them, because teachers are protected by their unions regardless of why they were hired--which was part of the reason why the unions didn't want to hire them so fast in the first place.


bullshiat teachers are "let go" all the time

the district i student taught at last year removed two teachers during the school year due to performance or general dumbassness
 
2011-08-07 09:22:39 AM  

FrankTheYank: If your kids suck in school, smaller classes increase the chances that they will be among the two or three slowest kids in class.


no matter what class level you will have 2-3 kids slower than the rest

ex.
gen ed class you get "normal" kids which have a few students that suck, in your words

honors class you have all the "smart" kids with maybe 2-3 students who should be in the general but they or their parents have ambitions of attending college


/teach all students
 
2011-08-07 09:42:06 AM  

flunk_your_mother: Shadyman: scotisle: This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe. Usually it's pushed by someone who hasn't spent any time in a classroom. Is class size the only factor? No. But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty. This is all part of a campaign to make it okay for schools to pack forty or fifty kids into classrooms.

This. I'd imagine the schools would get more funding for more kids, and have to spend less on teaching staff.

States cut funding at every turn.

Check local fire-code. My district is at 37. Odd number, but it is the average size of a district classroom. I did some research and OSHA would come down like a hammer in my district.

Class size matters in the lower grades where behavior must be watched. Class size does not compare to the motivations of the students. 15 kids who don't like the subject are just as bad as 40; and vice versa.

The one good thing about a smaller class is more meaningful assessments. You tend to see more multiple choice assessments with larger classes. I'm switching to short-answer/essay next year, multiple-choice just cheats them...


My coworkers think I'm crazy for having only short answer/essay tests with 35 kids a classroom. Multiple choice doesn't tell me shiat other than they can choose a over c half the time. Does it take more time? Yep. But I'm willing to put in that time in order to educate my students. Why? Because that's what teachers do.
 
2011-08-07 09:44:31 AM  
I performed horribly in grade school. My parents and teachers didn't know what to do with me. Finally they put me in a private school with about 7 students per teacher. The teacher never sat down either. She stood there in our faces not letting us nap and forcing us to stay engaged. It was As and Bs after that. That was decades ago. In hindsight I suspect I had (have) ADD. They didn't have a name for it back then. It turns out I wasn't stupid, I just learn differently and by differently I mean I need someone standing over me threatening me if I don't pay attention. Fortunately, the fear of being poor motivated me to pay attention in high school and college.
 
2011-08-07 10:57:14 AM  

MrPoopyPants: Also, as a teacher, I am calling absolute bullshiat on the article that I DFR.


Here is the key paragraph from TFA:
In the range of things that schools can do to improve outcomes for your child, reducing class size may rank a distant fourth behind solid teacher training, a clear and well-sequenced curriculum, and a staff that is well supported and regularly evaluated.

Now let's figure this out..
Teacher training: Absolutely. Education programs generally suck, but good, targeted teacher training can make all the difference.
Clear, well sequenced curriculum: It is really hard to hit a target if the teacher doesn't know what to shoot for. And if you present it in the wrong order ("Moby Dick" in 1st grade spell CAT in 12th) then nobody learns.
Staff that is well supported and regularly evaluated: Well, duh.

So you have three things that should be farking automatic, but the beginning of the article makes it clear:
Few things about a school seem to matter more to parents than class size. For many of us it is the litmus test for a well-run school. Small class size speaks of a school that is focused on putting resources in the right place -- not administrative retreats, paneling for the principal's office, or expensive but rarely used class-room technology. Small class size is a signal to us that a hundred smaller decisions that accompany the running of a school have been shaped with our children as a priority. As a result, a school is able to invest in an appropriate number of teachers

In other words, if the class size is small, all of the other things are assumed to have been taken care of.
 
2011-08-07 11:22:16 AM  
Smart, motivated students with good families learn.

Everyone else? Put them into a sports arena with a video screen with a pre-recorded lecture. The "boot strappy" types will pull themselves up and the rest can just go back to whatever third world or hillbilly enclave they came from and be "the top of their class."
 
2011-08-07 12:02:54 PM  

MonkeyVegetables: Gyrfalcon: And we can't fire them, because teachers are protected by their unions regardless of why they were hired--which was part of the reason why the unions didn't want to hire them so fast in the first place.

bullshiat teachers are "let go" all the time

the district i student taught at last year removed two teachers during the school year due to performance or general dumbassness


Was it NYC? Because that's about how many teachers they fire per year for incompetence.

Link (new window)

This article should be mandatory reading for anyone who thinks we aren't paying teachers enough.
 
2011-08-07 01:28:32 PM  

Cataholic: MonkeyVegetables: Gyrfalcon: And we can't fire them, because teachers are protected by their unions regardless of why they were hired--which was part of the reason why the unions didn't want to hire them so fast in the first place.

bullshiat teachers are "let go" all the time

the district i student taught at last year removed two teachers during the school year due to performance or general dumbassness

Was it NYC? Because that's about how many teachers they fire per year for incompetence.

Link (new window)

This article should be mandatory reading for anyone who thinks we aren't paying teachers enough.


From the article you linked to:A twentieth of one per cent of all New York City teachers are Rubber Roomers

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/31/090831fa_fact_brill#ixzz​1UMgYYJwz


So you want people to base their opinion on teacher pay on an article about 0.05% of New York City teachers?
 
2011-08-07 01:32:43 PM  

Cataholic: This article should be mandatory reading for anyone who thinks we aren't paying teachers enough.


Nice. One school district in one place has one farked up way of dealing with incompetent teachers. Because of that, all teachers everywhere need to be cut to minimum wage, stripped of any union representation, and treated like the garbage they are.
 
2011-08-07 01:36:03 PM  

flunk_your_mother: kids don't ask questions. and if yours does, it gets answered because there are so few.

Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.


Effective teaching often involves asking students to explain their reasoning and demonstrate skills so that the instructor can find the unasked questions and gaps in understanding. This is easier to do well with 15 students than with 30 or 40 (especially in earlier grades).

Teacher training also matters. I don't understand how anyone would jump from the fact that other factors matter to the conclusion that class size is irrelevant. Most of the best teaching methods an educator can learn involves spending more time with each student.
 
2011-08-07 01:57:11 PM  

liverleef: In hindsight I suspect I had (have) ADD.


I was/am in the same boat with the likely ADD. I got pretty bad grades in school due to not studying, and didn't really start to improve until halfway through college when I began to compensate for the ADD...earplugs, dungeon-like study rooms, etc. It carries over into work today...I have Outlook reminders for every stupid little thing and have to regularly stop people mid-sentence to start over when I realize they're saying something important.
 
2011-08-07 02:01:30 PM  

maddogdelta: Cataholic: This article should be mandatory reading for anyone who thinks we aren't paying teachers enough.

Nice. One school district in one place has one farked up way of dealing with incompetent teachers. Because of that, all teachers everywhere need to be cut to minimum wage, stripped of any union representation, and treated like the garbage they are.


Yes. I'm sure an insignificant out-of-the-way burg like NY shouldn't be considered. Would similar stories from Los Angeles (new window), Boston (new window), Philadelphia (new window), or Chicago (new window) make you feel any better?
 
2011-08-07 02:18:39 PM  

Cataholic:

Yes. I'm sure an insignificant out-of-the-way burg like NY shouldn't be considered. Would similar stories from Los Angeles (new window), Boston (new window), Philadelphia (new window), or Chicago (new window) make you feel any better?


Doesn't change the fact that this is one twentieth of one percent of teachers (at least in NYC). Of course because of them we should be paying teachers less.

At some point, some very stupid people made some very stupid decisions regarding these cases. That doesn't mean this small group of teachers in any way represents the teaching profession as a whole. There are many very good teachers out there, way more than the bad ones, hard to believe, but true.
 
2011-08-07 02:19:22 PM  

Aunt Crabby: Effective teaching often involves asking students to explain their reasoning and demonstrate skills so that the instructor can find the unasked questions and gaps in understanding. This is easier to do well with 15 students than with 30 or 40 (especially in earlier grades).


Don't go bringing reality into this argument. The repube party's derpyderp squad thinks that classrooms with 1000 kids is all hunkey dorey, and they've just twisted one study that didn't really say that to show that it did say that..
 
2011-08-07 03:38:36 PM  
Lots of good reading comprehension in here. The point of the article was that, while reducing class sizes can help student outcomes, the delta of benefit to student outcomes is pretty small given the magnitude of cost necessary to reach a low enough threshold to attain it.

That rationale holds true whether the school is public or private, so stow all your crap about teachers' unions -- they aren't the issue here. The only reason public schools are pertinent to this issue is that when a private school incurs huge costs to keep class sizes down, only the students' parents pick up the tab. If they didn't like that value equation, they are free to take their business elsewhere. Public schools, meanwhile, are spending our money, so they have little incentive to be efficient with it.
 
2011-08-07 04:04:21 PM  

jaerik: One-on-one instruction time is only more valuable in societies that insist on treating every child as an individual and their peers as a distraction.

There is no relation between academic achievement and class sizes once you start comparing internationally. The countries consistently at the top of international achievement tend to have class sizes far bigger than ours, but incorporate teaching methods that provide group pressure to succeed -- a concept considered almost immoral, here.


You can't have "individual groups". This country's ethos is that the individual is responsible for themselves and is important above all else, not the group. "I don't give a fark what you think" is the mindset impressed on children from a very early age, there is no longer "peer pressure" to alter behavior as still exists in other societies like Japan. This is another symptom of our "I got mine, fark you" society, and it starts young.

Anything else would be "but soshulizm!"
 
2011-08-07 04:31:55 PM  

maddogdelta: Aunt Crabby: Effective teaching often involves asking students to explain their reasoning and demonstrate skills so that the instructor can find the unasked questions and gaps in understanding. This is easier to do well with 15 students than with 30 or 40 (especially in earlier grades).

Don't go bringing reality into this argument. The repube party's derpyderp squad thinks that classrooms with 1000 kids is all hunkey dorey, and they've just twisted one study that didn't really say that to show that it did say that..


It's better if they write that stuff out anyways. I know of few teens who will put themselves in the spotlight like that.

Instead of class size, what if HS teachers stayed with the same group of kids throughout their experience. This is a best practice with administration (1 admin to one group for 4 years). This is a developing best practice with CA partnership academies.

Also, lesson plans and desk arrangment play a big part. Look at Harry Wong.

Co-teaching is also a plus only if the teachers back each other up.

There is definately a movement in the US to disenfranchise students from learning.
 
2011-08-07 04:38:05 PM  

bahr: Lots of good reading comprehension in here. The point of the article was that, while reducing class sizes can help student outcomes, the delta of benefit to student outcomes is pretty small given the magnitude of cost necessary to reach a low enough threshold to attain it.

That rationale holds true whether the school is public or private, so stow all your crap about teachers' unions -- they aren't the issue here. The only reason public schools are pertinent to this issue is that when a private school incurs huge costs to keep class sizes down, only the students' parents pick up the tab. If they didn't like that value equation, they are free to take their business elsewhere. Public schools, meanwhile, are spending our money, so they have little incentive to be efficient with it.


It's not that they have little incentive - you have to factor in that they HAVE to take all students and have no barriers to entry and school districts do not have a big pile of cash. They have money they can spend for certain things or they lose it.

My school got a $90k Perkins grant. We had $30k left to spend or lose it. We spent it on, frankly, waste.

Now, if you think you can do better, Here's an exercise:

You have $90k to spend on career and technical education. You have 6 months to spend it. Go!
 
2011-08-07 05:00:05 PM  

innumerate: Cataholic:

Yes. I'm sure an insignificant out-of-the-way burg like NY shouldn't be considered. Would similar stories from Los Angeles (new window), Boston (new window), Philadelphia (new window), or Chicago (new window) make you feel any better?

Doesn't change the fact that this is one twentieth of one percent of teachers (at least in NYC). Of course because of them we should be paying teachers less.

At some point, some very stupid people made some very stupid decisions regarding these cases. That doesn't mean this small group of teachers in any way represents the teaching profession as a whole. There are many very good teachers out there, way more than the bad ones, hard to believe, but true.


If your assertion is that 99.95% of teachers are competent, then there really isn't anything more to discuss.
 
2011-08-07 05:52:44 PM  

flunk_your_mother: maddogdelta: Aunt Crabby: Effective teaching often involves asking students to explain their reasoning and demonstrate skills so that the instructor can find the unasked questions and gaps in understanding. This is easier to do well with 15 students than with 30 or 40 (especially in earlier grades).

Don't go bringing reality into this argument. The repube party's derpyderp squad thinks that classrooms with 1000 kids is all hunkey dorey, and they've just twisted one study that didn't really say that to show that it did say that..

It's better if they write that stuff out anyways. I know of few teens who will put themselves in the spotlight like that.

Instead of class size, what if HS teachers stayed with the same group of kids throughout their experience. This is a best practice with administration (1 admin to one group for 4 years). This is a developing best practice with CA partnership academies.

Also, lesson plans and desk arrangment play a big part. Look at Harry Wong.

Co-teaching is also a plus only if the teachers back each other up.

There is definately a movement in the US to disenfranchise students from learning.


By high school, students should be at a level where they need specialized classes taught by people who focus on their subject matter. Slightly bigger classes may be acceptable in high school than in grade school, but it is the AP and upper level students who are most likely to get what they need in larger classes. Even then there should be something worked into the program to give the accelerated students a chance for individualized attention both when they fall behind in an area or when they seem to be able to go beyond the rest.

I am not sure why it would be considered "best practices" to have larger groups of high school students who stay with the same teacher for all 4 years. No one teacher can (a) possible be an expert in every subject nor (b) be all things to all students. I think that this idea sounds very problematic, no matter how you arrange the desks. Teaching is not administration.

If you are thinking of homeroom teachers who stay with one group for 4 years, sure. That's fine if you want to create a sense of cohorts or try for pseudo group therapy between classes. Also, there is no problem with creating small "schools" (or groups) within a bigger building--but the class size during instructional times should still be smaller to be more effective. the purpose of smaller classes is not for touchy feely relationships, group identity building, and self esteem issues (though those are all nice outcomes if they happen). The purpose of smaller classes is to have each student explain his or her understanding and demonstrate skills so that they can get the feedback and attention they need to master the material.

Co teaching can be great--or it can be a way to try to make everything into "McEducation" units where teachers are fungible talking heads and the students would get the same canned lessons no matter what (no doubt while telling the teachers to reach every student individually while covering the same material for everybody in the same way at the same time). From an administrative point of view, this standardization makes it all easier and takes out the pesky qualitative human element. It's great if you are running a factory or programming robots, I would think. At it's best, co-teaching would mean that a larger class would have more teachers working together anyway (keeping a nice student-teacher ratio intact). The ideal would still be a higher number of teachers for each group of students. The only reason to skimp on this is money--not because of any educational ideal.

You are correct that class size is not the only factor that matters; however, that does not mean that class size does not matter at all. I tell you what, why don't you get some well educated, highly rated teachers to agree to the same lesson plans and teaching methods, then get a pool of similarly situated students. Have half of the teachers teach a group of 15 students, and the other half teach the lessons to a group 40 students. Which students do you think would do better at the end of the year?

Never mind. Let's just have everyone teach to a standardized test, focus on rote memorization, and give incentives to "help" the student preform better during the test itself. That way everything looks good on paper an no one gets "left behind".
 
2011-08-07 06:26:03 PM  

Aunt Crabby: flunk_your_mother: maddogdelta: Aunt Crabby: Effective teaching often involves asking students to explain their reasoning and demonstrate skills so that the instructor can find the unasked questions and gaps in understanding. This is easier to do well with 15 students than with 30 or 40 (especially in earlier grades).

Don't go bringing reality into this argument. The repube party's derpyderp squad thinks that classrooms with 1000 kids is all hunkey dorey, and they've just twisted one study that didn't really say that to show that it did say that..

It's better if they write that stuff out anyways. I know of few teens who will put themselves in the spotlight like that.

Instead of class size, what if HS teachers stayed with the same group of kids throughout their experience. This is a best practice with administration (1 admin to one group for 4 years). This is a developing best practice with CA partnership academies.

Also, lesson plans and desk arrangment play a big part. Look at Harry Wong.

Co-teaching is also a plus only if the teachers back each other up.

There is definately a movement in the US to disenfranchise students from learning.

By high school, students should be at a level where they need specialized classes taught by people who focus on their subject matter. Slightly bigger classes may be acceptable in high school than in grade school, but it is the AP and upper level students who are most likely to get what they need in larger classes. Even then there should be something worked into the program to give the accelerated students a chance for individualized attention both when they fall behind in an area or when they seem to be able to go beyond the rest.

I am not sure why it would be considered "best practices" to have larger groups of high school students who stay with the same teacher for all 4 years. No one teacher can (a) possible be an expert in every subject nor (b) be all things to all students. I think that this idea sounds very problematic, no matter how you arrange the desks. Teaching is not administration.

If you are thinking of homeroom teachers who stay with one group for 4 years, sure. That's fine if you want to create a sense of cohorts or try for pseudo group therapy between classes. Also, there is no problem with creating small "schools" (or groups) within a bigger building--but the class size during instructional times should still be smaller to be more effective. the purpose of smaller classes is not for touchy feely relationships, group identity building, and self esteem issues (though those are all nice outcomes if they happen). The purpose of smaller classes is to have each student explain his or her understanding and demonstrate skills so that they can get the feedback and attention they need to master the material.

Co teaching can be great--or it can be a way to try to make everything into "McEducation" units where teachers are fungible talking heads and the students would get the same canned lessons no matter what (no doubt while telling the teachers to reach every student individually while covering the same material for everybody in the same way at the same time). From an administrative point of view, this standardization makes it all easier and takes out the pesky qualitative human element. It's great if you are running a factory or programming robots, I would think. At it's best, co-teaching would mean that a larger class would have more teachers working together anyway (keeping a nice student-teacher ratio intact). The ideal would still be a higher number of teachers for each group of students. The only reason to skimp on this is money--not because of any educational ideal.

You are correct that class size is not the only factor that matters; however, that does not mean that class size does not matter at all. I tell you what, why don't you get some well educated, highly rated teachers to agree to the same lesson plans and teaching methods, then get a pool of similarly situated students. Have half of the teachers teach a group of 15 students, and the other half teach the l ...


How specialized do you need to be to explain the significance of Louis XIV ignoring his financial advisor (world), Federalists and anti-federalists (US), multiplier effect (Econ), or PACs (Gov)? Kids need to just have a basic understanding, not expertise.

Math and Science could be exceptions; however as they already are specialized and the US sucks at kicking out STEM literate kids...

English wouldn't matter because it's just glorified social sciences. There is no intensive move to associate literary devices and the like to anything outside of English.

Cut English and just make it a component of every other subject.

Having cadres of students works when teachers are given opportunities to collaborate and you have a PLC. If you farm kids to (theoretically) 24 different teachers during their time in HS, students do not walk away with the confidence of continuity.

Co-teaching is a tool in my district to shut down the special-day classes and mainstream the kids. The only advantage I see is having "back-up".

The only problem with the end-run conclusion with your study is pedagogy must change to meet the demands of the students.
 
2011-08-07 06:28:41 PM  

flunk_your_mother: It's better if they write that stuff out anyways. I know of few teens who will put themselves in the spotlight like that.


Sorry to add to my long, rambling response, but I just couldn't let this pass. Writing is important, and so is going over the feedback of the graded material with the students. However, the students should also be able to explain their reasoning orally and perform some tasks to demonstrate their skill in class. As for the idea that most teens won't put themselves in the spotlight, you are under a false assumption that they should have a choice. Sure some instruction can be done quietly one on one while the class is working, but part of education means calling on students and making them move a bit out of their comfort zones. If you call on everyone, they know it isn't personal. It's just part of school.

Can you imagine going to gym class and saying you don't want to change into your shorts and play ball because you don't like the spotlight? If we don't let student weasel out of gym (which many find embarrassing) we shouldn't let them avoid participating in class either. Teachers can be sensitive to a point (there is no need for snark) and teach classroom etiquette to the group, but students have to be able to answer questions, explain their reasoning, and demonstrate skills in class. Students have to be actively engaged in class. Teachers have to make them do stuff. That's just how it works.

/end rant
 
2011-08-07 06:37:36 PM  

flunk_your_mother:
flunk_your_mother:
How specialized do you need to be to explain the significance of Louis XIV ignoring his financial advisor (world), Federalists and anti-federalists (US), multiplier effect (Econ), or PACs (Gov)? Kids need to just have a basic understanding, not expertise.

Math and Science could be exceptions; however as they already are specialized and the US sucks at kicking out STEM literate kids...

English wouldn't matter because it's just glorified social sciences. There is no intensive move to associate literary devices and the like to anything outside of English.

Cut English and just make it a component of every other subject.

Having cadres of students works when teachers are given opportunities to collaborate and you have a PLC. If you farm kids to (theoretically) 24 different teachers during their time in HS, students do not walk away with the confidence of continuity.

Co-teaching is a tool in my district to shut down the special-day classes and mainstream the kids. The only advantage I see is having "back-up".


Am I being trolled?

Just tell me. I can take it.

/Sure, cut English and put even less focus on Social Sciences than we have now. Sounds great.
//Confidence of continuity. Riiiiiight.
 
2011-08-07 08:54:26 PM  

flunk_your_mother: Molavian: flunk_your_mother: SkunkWerks: flunk_your_mother: Also, if one kid has a question 5-10 others have the same one...or a variation.

I'm assuming you were cloned in a tank and started life as an adult.

Broken condom; conceived in a Cannibus haze in a '74 El Camino.

Sample set of some questions/comments I get (no joke):

1) Were there hurricanes back then?
2) Who invented the word slow?
3) - Extra Credit on the board - Does these have to be right to get credit?
4) - handing a stack of papers to 1 of 15 rows - What do I do with these?
5) -me- okay, you guys have 60 minutes to finish this part. -student- wait, yesterday you said we had an hour!

I keep a list. I have 40+ more and I read them to all of my classes.

I work in IT. You should hear some of the retarded questions people ask me on a regular basis.

I did too. tech support. It took a lady 6 minutes to find her keyboard on one call; not her desk, had to use the program. It was one of those pull out drawers.


It is never-ending... (new window)
 
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