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Federation of Protestant Reformed Christian
School Societies

"Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"

The Inverted U

Another point Mr. Gladwell brings up in David and Goliath is class size.  Educational circles have often become enamored with small class sizes.  But can class sizes become too small.  Using the inverted U, Mr. Gladwell makes that point that the best class size is somewhere in the middle.  Reducing a class size from 30 students to 20 would be very beneficial to both teacher and student.  However, reducing the class from 20 students to 10 students or less would be detrimental.  Students are very self-conscious and repeatedly compare themselves to other students.  With small class sizes, student awareness of where they fit into the class serves as a negative experience.  They can become withdrawn because they don’t want to stand out.  Lower achieving students now feel all alone and give up because they have no peers who struggle just like they do.  A good example of this would be middle school students and music.  In a choir of 100, students are more willing to sing loudly because their voice more or less “blends in” with the others and they don’t feel like they stand out.  Make that choir a collection of 15 students, and their volume will quickly decrease because the feel they stand out more if they sing loudly. For many of our Western schools, smaller class sizes are the norm.  I am interested in teacher thoughts and advice about how they deal with small class sizes and making all students feel that they fit in.

Dec 15, 2015

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