New Directions in Researching Class Size

  • Gary James Harfitt


This chapter provides a commentary on class size research based on a raft of international studies which have for the most part been conducted in primary schools and early childhood contexts. Through an examination of these studies it is possible to identify new research trends in class size reduction (CSR), with particular reference to the East Asian context. I then describe an original approach to researching how CSR makes a difference to teaching and learning processes in secondary schools. Drawing on mostly qualitative data, the research focuses on teachers working in six pairs of large and reduced-size English language classes across six Hong Kong secondary schools. The large and reduced-size classes in each school were in the same grade and taught by the same teacher, which represents a new perspective in the literature on class size. By observing these teachers working in both large and reduced-size classrooms I was able to draw conclusions on what constituted the most significant differences between teaching and learning in second language classes of varying size. It was also possible to critically examine how those differences were mediated and whether they translated into more learning opportunities for students.


Class Size School Principal Classroom Observation Classroom Discourse Small Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary James Harfitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong SAR

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