Advertisement

Hearing the Student Voice on Class Size Reduction

  • Gary James Harfitt
Chapter
  • 810 Downloads

Abstract

This chapter also reports findings from the six cases studies described in Chap.  2, but this time with specific reference to the under-researched student perspective towards teaching and learning in large and reduced-size classes. The chapter starts with an overview of the literature on student voice and how it should be seen as a powerful source of information on classroom teaching and learning processes. The chapter will then present qualitative data extracted from multiple student interviews as well as observational data taken from my time spent with students in and out of class in each case study school. Findings demonstrate a thoughtful, constructive and insightful student voice that provides an original and refreshing perspective of how small classes differ from large classes in terms of the opportunities that they present to students as well as teachers. Findings are organized around salient themes that emerged from the interviews and include students’ views on their sense of belonging, their participation in learning opportunities in and out of the classroom, the amount of support given to peers, cultural perspectives including issues of ‘face’, language learning anxiety and confidence in language learning. Observational data also reveals a marked difference in student behaviour between the small and large classes.

Keywords

Large Class Individual Student Small Class Class Community Classroom Community 
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.

References

  1. Arnold, J., & Douglas Brown, H. (1999). A map of the terrain. In J. Arnold (Ed.), Affect in language learning (pp. 1–25). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Blatchford, P. (2003). The class size debate: Is small better? Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Chamberlin, R., Wragg, T., Haynes, G., & Wragg, C. (2002). Performance-related pay and the teaching profession: A review of the literature. Research Papers in Education, 17, 31–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen, S. (1992). The problems and possible remedies in dealing with large classes. Teaching English in China, 24, 83–90.Google Scholar
  5. Cook-Sather, A. (2001). Authorising students’ perspectives: Toward trust, dialogue, and change in education. Educational Researcher, 31, 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Finn, J. D., & Achilles, C. M. (1999). Tennessee’s class size study: Findings, implications, misconceptions. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(2), 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Finn, J. D., Pannozzo, G. M., & Achilles, C. M. (2003). The “why’s” of class size: Student behaviour in small classes. Review of Educational Research, 73(3), 21–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Flutter, J. (2007). Teacher development and pupil voice. The Curriculum Journal, 18(3), 343–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Galton, M., & Pell, T. (2009). Study on class teaching in primary schools in Hong Kong: Final report. Hong Kong: University of Cambridge and Education Bureau Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  10. Gorard, S. (2012). Experiencing fairness at school: An international study in five countries. International Journal of Educational Research, 53(3), 127–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hanushek, E. (1998). The evidence on class size. Rochester: University of Rochester, W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy.Google Scholar
  12. Hopkins, E. (2008). Classroom conditions to secure enjoyment and achievement: The pupils’ voice, Listening to the voice of every child matters. Education 3–13, 36(4), 393–401.Google Scholar
  13. Hopkins, E. (2010). Classroom conditions for effective learning: Hearing the voice of key stage 3 pupils. Improving Schools, 13, 39–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Horwitz, E., Horwitz, M., & Cope, J. A. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. Modern Language Journal, 70(1), 125–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Horwitz, E., Horwitz, M., & Cope, J. A. (1991). Foreign language classroom anxiety. In E. K. Horwitz & D. J. Young (Eds.), Language anxiety: From theory and research to classroom implications. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  16. Jin, L., & Cortazzi, M. (1998). A dialogue: Large classes in China. International Journal of Educational Research, 29, 739–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McIntyre, D., Pedder, D., & Ruddock, J. (2005). Pupil voice: Comfortable and uncomfortable learnings for teachers. Research Papers in Education, 20(2), 149–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pedder, D. (2006). Are small classes better: Understanding relationships between class, classroom processes and pupils’ learning. Oxford Review of Education, 32(2), 213–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rodgers, C. R. (2006). Attending to student voice: The impact of descriptive feedback on learning and teaching. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(2), 209–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rudduck, J., & Flutter, J. (2000). Pupil participation and pupil perspective: Carving a new order of experience. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1), 75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rudduck, J., & Flutter, J. (2004). How to improve your school: Giving pupils a voice. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. Schwab, J. (1983). The practical 4: Something for curriculum professors to do. Curriculum Inquiry, 13(3), 239–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tarone, E., & Yule, G. (1989). Focus on the language learner. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  25. Tsui, A. B. M. (1996). Reticence and anxiety in second language learning. In K. M. Bailey & D. Nunan (Eds.), Voices from the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Xie, X. (2010). Why are students quiet? Looking at the Chinese context and beyond. English Language Teaching Journal, 64(1), 10–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations