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Doing Math Together: The Benefits of Small Class Sizes



Small class sizes are seen in education as advantageous for both academic performance and engagement. With small classes, students have a chance to connect with teachers and receive supportive, tailored feedback. Small classes also help students maintain a sense of camaraderie among a group of peers, without feeling lost in a crowd.


Evidence collected around the world in recent decades supports this narrative; while a handful of results are mixed, it is generally accepted that small class sizes have a positive impact on the student experience.


All else being equal, there is a fortified case that small class sizes contribute to stronger academic achievement. Small classes also seem to foster a more enjoyable experience for a learner. Students in small classes tend to be happier, more confident, and more invested in their studies.


While this is not found across every study, subject, and location, however, there are several illuminating factors that may explain why not. A primary concern with small classes is resource intensiveness that the small pupil-teacher ratios require, especially where resources are already limited. In areas where reducing class size could strain a limited or less-than-desirable labour pool and cause lax hiring practices, student experience could be negatively impacted. On the flip side, however, deficiencies in teaching materials may be put to better use in the hands of capable teachers of small classes where the power of a great teacher can truly shine.


The argument, therefore, is that in facilitative, constructive environments, there seems to be a connection between small class sizes and an increase in the probability that students will be happy and successful. In a mismanaged environment, however, or one with poor, inadequate resources, small class sizes will not erase deficiencies to guarantee a better result. It is up to educators to fill that environment with thriving ingredients to create thriving programs and thriving students. Analogously, a state-of-the-art oven will not produce great cakes for the baker who cannot tell the difference between sugar and salt.


This is why we strive to fill our small classes with engaging, approachable, and fun instruction using Singapore Math teaching techniques. Each class is capped at a maximum of five students, enabling students to watch their peers with their own unique learning processes and insights, while still retaining small enough numbers so as to not impede on their own learning time. Each student has the opportunity not only to participate in class, but to be actively mentored by a teacher who understands and is invested in each student’s individual progress.



Did you know? Singapore Math was engineered from the core to thrive best in small class settings. Singapore Math is often seen as labour intensive because its creators believed in intimate teacher-student ratios. While the ideas and methods contained in Singapore Math materials are highly effective tools for teaching mathematics on their own, tailored coaching unlocks a new level of powerful enlightenment.


The highly visual techniques we employ equip students to create interactive maps in their minds of how the world works mathematically. This creates a special kind of learning curve that is skipped when teaching by means of information-dumping and memorization, but it is highly beneficial to the student’s overall depth of mathematical understanding. As with any learning curve, from math to music, from algebra to aerospace engineering, working closely with an attentive teacher is mightily beneficial.


We don’t just teach math with a particular flair; we employ a mathematics-through-mentorship philosophy, which is why we have taken Mentorhood as our name. Our primary goal is to make math accessible for as many children as possible, clearing away the intimidating haze left surrounding it by many traditional education methods. The Singapore Math techniques, our small class sizes, and our dedication to finding quality, caring teachers are laser-focused on that exact purpose. We are able to encourage our students individually level that math can be for them, that they can understand it, and that they can achieve mastery. We impart confidence, not just cognition, and it is our greatest joy.


Bibliography


Chingos, Matthew. 2011. “Class Size: What Research Says and What It Means for State Policy.” Brookings. The Brookings Institution. May 11, 2011. https://www.brookings.edu/research/class-size-what-research-says-and-what-it-means-for-state-policy/.

“DO SMALLER CLASS SIZES MAKE a DIFFERENCE?” n.d. InnerDrive. InnerDrive Ltd. https://blog.innerdrive.co.uk/smaller-class-sizes.

Morin, Amanda. 2021. “What Is Singapore Math?” Verywell Family. Dotdash Meredith. May 21, 2021. https://www.verywellfamily.com/singapore-math-pros-and-cons-620953.

Ward, Kim. n.d. “Study Shows Smaller Class Sizes Not Always Better for Pupils.” Michigan State University. Michigan State University. Accessed December 17, 2019. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2019/study-shows-smaller-class-sizes-not-always-better-for-pupils.

“What Is the Effect of Class Size on Student Learning?” n.d. The Alberta Techers’ Association. https://www.teachers.ab.ca/News%20Room/The%20Learning%20Team/Volume%203/Number%201/Pages/What%20is%20the%20effect%20of%20class%20size%20on%20student%20learning.aspx.

“Why Class Size Matters Today.” 2014. National Council of Teachers of English. NCTE. April 1, 2014. https://ncte.org/statement/why-class-size-matters/.

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