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October 27, 2015

3 min

Method Schools Team

How Class Size Reduction Benefits Your Advanced Child

Many parents assume that only students who are struggling in school will benefit from class size reduction. After all, advanced students will thrive wherever they're planted. They don't need a smaller class size in order to thrive...do they? Actually, advanced students who are placed in smaller-sized classes often benefit even more than their struggling peers, particularly if they're placed with other children at their level.

In small classes, advanced learners are able to move ahead more quickly. It's less likely that they'll be held back waiting for everyone in the classroom to catch up and figure out what's going on, so they're able to move on to the next subject earlier. Many advanced learners find that they get bored in traditional, larger classrooms, which can lead to poor behavior on tests and a lack of attention to assignments that they consider "busy work." Keeping them engaged and moving ahead prevents that boredom and ultimately improves academic performance.

Teachers have a greater ability to customize assignments. In large classrooms, where teachers often deal with thirty or more students in a single period and as many as a hundred students throughout the course of the day, no one has either the time or the energy to customize assignments for an advanced student. In small classrooms, however, teachers are able to work more directly with each individual student, customizing assignments for their unique academic needs.

There's less shame in asking for help. Even for the smartest student in the school, there will be one subject that just doesn't "click." Sooner or later, it's going to be necessary for advanced students to ask for help. Unfortunately, in large classrooms, those students often find that there is a stigma associated with asking for help. They're the "smart kid," so they aren't supposed to need to ask for help. In smaller classrooms, everyone is often closer to the same level, so it's easier for students to ask for help if they need it. This is particularly important in math and science, where concepts often build on one another and missing one concept will result in weeks or months of confusion.

Project-based learning means that students can work on things that interest them. Advanced learners often struggle with being "trapped" by the concepts that the rest of the class is working on. They want to pursue their own projects, work on their own subjects, and increase their learning in the areas that are of greatest interest to them. Unfortunately, many traditional classrooms don't allow for this style of academic exploration. Smaller classrooms, however, allow for a greater variety of projects and therefore permit students to spend more time on the things that matter most to them.

Smaller classrooms lead to more collaborative learning. Many students learn best by working with their peers. They're able to engage creatively, sharing their learning with one another and taking it to new heights. In a large classroom, collaborative learning can be overwhelming, particularly as thirty or more voices all try to be heard at once. In a small classroom, on the other hand, collaborative learning is much more easily managed.

Each voice is better able to speak. Many advanced learners are also introverts. While they're fully capable of functioning in a larger-sized classroom setting, they might be reluctant to speak out or to share their opinions and ideas. As class size decreases, however, advanced learners are better able to share their ideas with their teachers and classmates.

If you're considering a reduction in class size for your advanced learner, the benefits are obvious. Engaging advanced learners in a smaller-sized classroom gives them the freedom to flourish, to learn at their pace, and to develop new strategies and thrive. Once they've spent time in a smaller, more intimate classroom setting, advanced learners may prefer never to return to a larger classroom.

Learn More About Small Classes at Method

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