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10 Tips for Teaching Large Classes

With the right teaching strategies, you can succeed even when a class is large.

Education experts recommend keeping class sizes small, particularly in the earliest grades.1 Unfortunately, budget cuts, teacher shortages, and other issues often complicate efforts to keep student-to-teacher ratios low.

As a teacher, you’ve probably seen or even taught classes that are far larger than average. These oversized classes can feel unmanageable. But with the right teaching strategies, you can successfully teach a lot of students at once. Ten of the best strategies include:

10 Tips for Teaching Large Classes

Learn All of the Names

Having a lot of kids in your classroom can be daunting, but you don’t want to give the impression you’re overwhelmed. One great way to make students feel comfortable in a large class is to learn and use all of their names. Make this a priority early on.

Use a Seating Chart

Waiting for students to choose a seat can waste valuable time. It can also lead to students with attention or behavioral issues grouping together, increasing the likelihood they will struggle to learn. To avoid this, implement a seating chart and adjust it as necessary.

Make Clear Rules and Stick to Them

Large classes need discipline and orderliness to function smoothly. Establish firm rules of behavior, post them for everyone to see, and abide by them without fail. The more structured you can make the environment, the better you can communicate with your students.

Be Active

Don’t just stand by the whiteboard at the front. Move around the class, even while lecturing, so all students feel that you are there for them.

Plan … a Lot

Keeping a large class engaged requires a daily plan of lectures, activities, and assignments. Before each class, you need to know what you’re going to do and how long each part of the lesson will last. Then, you need to follow that plan.

Have an Escape Plan

Even the best laid plans can occasionally go awry. A few students might need extra attention, you might get called out of the class, or there might be a fire drill that uses up your teaching time. That’s why you need to plan out “emergency” activities or assignments that can keep students busy, even if your original plans are disrupted.

Keep Resources Accessible

The larger the class, the more likely one or more students will get confused about assignments or not know where to go for information. While you should make yourself available for student questions, you should also make sure needed resources are easily accessible to all students.

Divide Students Into Teams

Teams can promote co-learning and, if you institute a point system, give your students competitive motivation to do well on assignments.

Ensure Participation

Shy students will typically avoid participation in large classes. This can make it difficult for you to assess learning. So, in a large class, you should ensure participation, either through activities that mandate it or by putting together a plan where you call on each student at least once through the course of a lesson.

Earn an Advanced Teaching Degree

While classroom experience can certainly help you become the kind of teacher capable of handling large classes, the best way to advance your skills and educational knowledge is through a BS in Elementary Education program. When you earn a BS in Elementary Education degree, you gain the skills to succeed in all types of educational environments and put yourself in position for promotion and a higher salary.

While earning a bachelor’s in education used to mean driving to the campus of a school of education, online learning is making earning an advanced education degree more convenient than ever. Through an online bachelor’s in education program, you can complete your courses from home. Plus, a bachelor’s in education online program will give you the flexibility to attend classes at whatever time of day works best for you, so you can continue teaching full time while you earn your degree.

A bachelor’s degree in education can significantly improve your ability to teach classes of all sizes and varieties. And thanks to online education, attending an online degree program for teachers is more feasible than ever before.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Elementary Education degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

1Source: www.nea.org/assets/docs/PB08_ClassSize08.pdf

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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