How to deal with a big class?

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How to deal with a big class?

Post by Jonathan_fu » Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:44 am

:) In the practical English teaching activities of our university, I am always puzzled by the large quantity of non-English major students in the classroom(100 Sts or so).Anyone can give me some advice how to effectively balance the relationship between the students-focused approach and teacher-focused one within limited class time.In fact,I have ever used the group-dividing method,but I am not sure each students'learning interest in the participation is motivated. Thanks a lot! :)

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Post by Lorikeet » Thu Apr 26, 2007 2:06 am

You might want to take a look at this sticky: ... 22&start=0

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Post by Jonathan_fu » Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:39 am

I'v looked through the information you provided. Thanks. I am really enlightened to some extent. But I have to stress that the problem I meet happens in the university. So lots of activities would be resricted for their age and intelligence. Especially how to keep the continuous high-level students' interest and motivate the low-level students' active participation,as sometimes they are so lazy or "clever" to intend to escape from the group task.

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Post by surrealia » Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:44 am

This is a topic that I have been looking into recently, as I'm teaching university classes in Taiwan, with as many as 120 students in one class :shock:

Anyway, I found a number of articles and webpages that address this issue. I put them all on my home page, so you might want to take a look as well. Here's the link (scroll down to the very bottom of the page for the large classes section):

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How can you make such a crowded class student-centered?

Post by Eric18 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:19 pm

Let me just state the obvious: you really can't make a language class student centered with 120 students in a lecture hall class for ESL.

While group and partner activities are helpful, you are working under almost impossible conditions. From my perspective, language classes really should not be more than 20 students - or 100 students fewer than the situation presented!

Perhaps this disparity is just the conflict between "is" and "ought", but it's hard to imagine how you can help students make "significant, meaningful progress" in their speaking skills under such conditions. Good luck - and try to get the administrator to see the need for smaller, better classes!

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Post by Sally Olsen » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:53 am

It seems your class sizes are based on other subjects where it the lecture model. But even in those classes, most universities, at least in Canada, then have smaller groups of 20 meet twice a week for tutoring with assistants - usually graduate students working on their masters.

There is a whole raft of books related to university teaching but McKeachie's Teaching Tips is a good place to start. Then go on to the Co-operative Learning materials. I have my notes from our classes at Carleton on university teaching that I can send you if you are interested.

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Post by mesmark » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:46 pm

Large classes are tough, but keep it simple to start. Get your students in a good routine. Use pair work and group work in 4s. Slowly build activities in complexity and keep a constant format.

It can be done. I teach conversation classes at a university with 45 students in the class.

When asking for help on forums, you'll get the best help by giving examples of what your actually trying to teach and some of the recent activities you've tried.

Happy teaching,

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