All The More Reason

Class Size
July 2, 2007, 3:43 am
Filed under: Education, French Politics

I’ve just heard a debate online in France which discussed some current issues. One of the points brought up was that currently schools in the ZEP (areas in France deemed worthy of extra funding) have class limits of 25, whereas in the rest of France the limit is 27. One of the debaters, a leftist, argued that class sizes in other areas could rise to 32 per class without the quality of teaching suffering whilst at the same time lowering class sizes in the ZEP to as low as 15 or less (the ratio of ZEP to the rest of France is clearly much lower than 1:1).

The advantage of this idea is that it wouldn’t cost France one centime. The disadvantage is that some classes might genuinely suffer by having 30 or 32 students in the class.

I have to say that I’m very partial to this kind of idea. The biggest challenge a teacher has is discipline in the classroom. Arguably the second biggest challenge would be a command of the material. I understand that this kind of innovation could be looked at as a reward for those that don’t comport themselves well in class. Still, it’d be far easier for a teacher to create a contact with his students when he had fewer students in his class.

One may wonder why this exact same rule wouldn’t apply to classes that have 30 or 32 students. To be frank, if classroom discipline is not a problem, a teacher in command of the subject should probably be able to organise the lectures and work in a way that would work. As clichéd as this may sound, considering how much money the state spends to keep individuals incarcerated, it’d probably be a good idea to consider as well ways to keep some students on the straight and narrow while they’re still children. Still, this kind of topic is pretty controversial, so I throw the debate open to the wolves!

Jonathan Smith


2 Comments so far
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I think smallers can never get small enough. Not for the sake of easy control and discipline, but for providing interactive, intimate education to the children, without isolation. The biggest fundamental problem of public schools is that some kids inevidently get left out.(That’s why I support homeschooling) Small class size can definitely be a cure. I’d say build more schools.

Comment by yunjin

Sorry, typeo. smallers -> classes

Comment by yunjin

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