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From large to small classes: a classroom window
Australasian Canadian Studies (2014)
  • Boris Handal, The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Professor Marguerite Maher, The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Kevin Watson, The University of Notre Dame Australia
Over the past three decades the class size debate has been prominent in
not only educational discourse but also the subject of public opinion and
politics. While much has been debated about the instructional benefits
and the financial implications of low teacher to student ratios, little has
been written about how teachers teach when they teach smaller classes.
Do they continue to use the same teaching strategies employed to teach
larger classes or do they use different strategies and if so, what are those
teaching strategies and why are they used? This study examined over
one thousand teacher responses to this question. The majority of those
who said they used different teaching strategies said they used a broad
range of strategies to promote the use of high-order thinking skills. Those
who did not change their strategies appreciated the benefits of teaching
smaller classes and talked about quality teaching rather than limiting
their comments to class size. This paper also discusses the implications of
the ‘class size debate’ for professional learning and future research.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Handal, B., Maher, M., and Watson, K. (2014). From large to small classes: a classroom window. Australasian Canadian Studies, 31(1-2), 53-72