The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > When small isnít beautiful > Comments

When small isnít beautiful : Comments

By Andrew Leigh, published 17/7/2009

Class sizes in Australia have steadily reduced, gobbling up more money than any other educational reform.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All
I was actually thinking about this earlier today. The real issue I face when I stand in front of a big class is behaviour. At 2:00 on a Friday afternoon, it takes considerable effort to keep students motivated; furthermore, one student's poor behaviour can start a chain reaction of sorts across the whole class. Take the time out to isolate that student or to control his/her behaviour, and the rest of the class misses out on learning time AND is more likely to get bored. And boredom leads to bad behaviour.

Interestingly, the problem is much less likely to occur in one of my classes, in which I have a number of Special Ed students. They have a support teacher, who also helps out with behaviour management and circulates to keep students on task.

I'm not proposing that we double class sizes and assign two teachers to each class, but perhaps a more effective use of teacher aides could be put in place. Teacher aides are typically low paid because they are not formally qualified, they don't do planning and they don't do any marking. Perhaps some aides could be given basic behaviour management training. They could be embedded in larger classes, so that the qualified teachers could continue teaching while the aides help to maintain order in the classroom. I would be happy to teach classes of 40 students if I had a bit of help in that regard.
Posted by Otokonoko, Friday, 17 July 2009 10:18:06 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
May I suggest two Books you might find an interesting read :

Dollars & Sense ; The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools ..and Dollars & Sense 2 ; Lessons from Good , Cost-Effective Small Schools .

Available from Knowledge Works Foundation , One West Fourth Street ,
Suite 200 ,Cincinnati , Ohio 45202-3611 and possibly from Email, info@ruraledu.org or http://www.dollarsandsense.org

In my humble opinion you need both books.

I would be happy to give you my books if you can figure some way to preserve our ID , cheers .
Posted by ShazBaz001, Saturday, 18 July 2009 12:03:06 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Victorian teachers at the top of the scale were paid 153 per cent of male average ordinary time earnings in 1979. I do not have exact MAOTE figures for this quarter, but that would be over $98,000 today. In addition, the actuary-determined employer superannuation contribution was 21 per cent of salary, giving a total package of over $118,000. Such teachers are now paid just $77,000 with an employer superannuation contribution of 9 per cent of salary, giving them a total package of around $84,000.

Top of scale teacher salary package in 1979 Ė $118,000
Top of scale teacher salary package in 2009 Ė $84,000

Victorian Secondary PTR in 1979 - 11.0:1
Victorian secondary PTR in 2007 - 11.8:1 (2009 figures not available)
(To be fair, I must point out that the damage to the secondary PTR was done by the 1992-99 Liberal Government which worsened it from 10.8:1 in 1992 to 12.6:1 in 1999. The 2007 figure is the work of slow and steady improvement by the current Labor Government.)

Conclusion: far from the price of the extra teachers required for smaller classes being lower teacher salaries, both got worse in the secondary system. The PTR worsened by 7 per cent over three decades, while the relative salary worsened by 28 per cent over almost the same three decades
Posted by Chris C, Saturday, 18 July 2009 12:20:25 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
When reading the article by Leigh, I was genuinely surprised to see information on class sizes that were both counter intuitive, and counter what I have heard from most sources.

Intrigued, I did some reading, only to find that the vast majority of studies on greater scales almost always showed improved performance from smaller classes.

As with most topics there are always dissenting studies, and if you cherry pick, you can show that there is no global warming, HIV doesn't cause AIDS etc. The general reason for doing so is to push an otherwise unpalatable political platform.

So Leigh what is it? Higher pay for teachers?
Posted by SM2, Saturday, 18 July 2009 7:58:35 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Without going into the gory details here, my daughter came into my care after a 3 year custody battle.Because of her abusive and neglecting mother she would miss up to 5 weeks of school every term, up to 20 weeks a year on top of holidays. When she came into my care she finished bottom in the school in the year 3 basic skills test and was put in a special class for SLOW CHILDREN at her primary school. The classes at her primary school were small but along with my own efforts she received a great education and after doing the year 7 basic skills test and being on the point of entering high school i received a letter that she was on a list for another SPECIAL class, this time a far different class than before, this time it was for a class for GIFTED AND TALENTED children. She is currently doing the second year of an honours degree in psychology at uni in adelaide and consistently getting distinctions and high distinctions for her work, a far cry from the broken child i was given so many years ago.
Recently the government here in south australia tried to amalgamate all the schools in my area into what they called SUPER SCHOOLS where all 4 primary schools in town would have been amalgamated into one, i believe solely on the basis of the money they might save. Fortunately and very much to their credit the parents gave a resounding thumbs down to this proposal and it was not implemented.I believe increasing numbers of Students like my daughter will fall through the cracks in these super schools with their attendant larger class sizes and wiil not get the educational support they desperately need. There are some things that are more important than purely economic considerations and i believe in the old adage " if it's not broken, why fix it".
Posted by eyeinthesky, Thursday, 23 July 2009 3:20:32 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy