ERIC Number: ED284605
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-May
Reference Count: 0
Reducing Class Size at the Community College.
Reducing class size is an important step in promoting effective learning, but reducing a class from 35 to 15 students alone will not produce the desired results if faculty do not alter their teaching styles. Students must be empowered through teaching techniques that utilize writing, recitation, reaction papers, case studies, peer group pressure, small group and individual student responsibility, and peer instruction. The instructor must be a specially trained facilitator rather than a lecturer relying on tests and textbooks. The General Education curriculum is a logical target for introducing small classes in a community college because these courses seek to develop students' skills in inquiry and communication, and are required of all students. Financing a smaller classes plan would require faculty and administrators to agree to the following conditions: (1) all faculty in the general education curriculum volunteer to participate in the small class teaching plan and in workshops to maximize teaching effectiveness; (2) participating faculty agree to teach six sections of 15 students rather than five sections of 35 students with no additional compensation; (3) scheduling will allow participating faculty a four-day work week; (4) a project team will be established to meet weekly with faculty and discuss problems; and (5) to handle the overload of students, instructors wishing to teach five sections in the traditional lecture/question method will have class sections increased from 35 to 45 students. Since smaller classes increase retention, they can help defer the costs of expanding the smaller class format. To test the success of a small class project, institutions should measure classroom learning, retention rates, and the financial implications of the new plan. A model schedule matrix and small class financial plan is appended. (PAA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Princeton Univ., NJ. Mid-Career Fellowship Program.
Note: One of a series of "Essays by Fellows" on "Policy Issues at the Community College."