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Practical Tips for Teaching Large Classes 1

Practical Tips for Teaching large classes

Esraa Estayta

Omar AlMukhtar University

Faculty of Education

Academic year : 2017 - 2018

Practical Tips for Teaching Large Classes 2


Class size is one of the mostly concerned factors to any educational system
for the success of teaching and learning process.

In the classroom, large enrollments can promote student disengagement and

feelings of alienation, which can erode students’ sense of responsibility and lead to
behaviors that both reflect and promote lack of engagement. Ideally, ESL class sizes
are fairly small. There are many challenges involved for both teaching and learning in
large classes.

For the instructors, teaching a large class presents unique issues related to
grading assignments and homework, keeping students engaged, managing
discussions, getting to know your students and incorporating active learning strategies
- to name but a sample. For the students, being in a large class can lead to feelings of
isolation and anonymity.

In this research provides ideas for teaching and managing the large class.
Practical Tips for Teaching Large Classes 3

Ur (1996) states that “the exact number does not really matter: what matters is
how you, the teacher, see the class size in your own specific situation”.

According to many studies, there are a lot of difficulties associated with

teaching large classes such as:

a- Standing in front of 70+ teenagers trying to encourage them to ‘speak

b- Physically draining:
Teachers will have to speak more loudly causing strain to the throat, cover
more ground (wear comfortable shoes) and constantly pay attention to all
areas of the room.
c- Discipline:
The majority of large classes consist of school children/teenagers where
teachers are bound to have behavioral issues. How do you get students to pay
attention and NOT throw that eraser at their classmate’s head?.
d- Classroom management:
Teachers are limited on what they can do within such a confined space. Most
of the time, teachers have very little space to conduct kinaesthetic activities
such as running dictations or wall tasks. You will need to think of other ways
to keep them occupied. As Hayes (1997) stated, teachers are ''unable to
promote student interaction since there is no room to move about''.
e- Giving Feedback:
With larger class numbers there comes an even more diverse range of learning
styles and individual need for feedback, requiring more one-to-one attention.
Teachers feel they are neglecting learners individual needs as this isn’t
physically possible.
Practical Tips for Teaching Large Classes 4

According to Hayes, David (1997) ,here are a few tips to teach large classes:

Plan, Plan, Plan: To keep a large class engaged, you need to keep things moving and
have a lot of energy. That means you need to know exactly what you and the students
are doing next.

Establish Routines: Routines are one of the most important things to have in terms of
maintaining order in the classroom. When students know exactly what is expected of
them, what books they need to have ready, and how to do certain activities, the class
flows by easily and efficiently.

Be Strict About Discipline and Rules :This does not mean you have to be a mean
teacher. It does mean that you can’t let students get away with little things like
talking to their neighbor or starting fights. At all. Make it clear from the first day of
class what you won’t tolerate, and enforce it consistently. If you have to stop class to
manage a conflict between two students

Have Fall-Back Activities: In the event that you do have to deal with one or two
students’ behavior or leave the classroom for some reason, have something prepared
for the students to work on independently. Keep a stash of worksheets, or have some
reading activities that they can do. Be sure to offer rewards to the students or team
who finishes first or most accurately.

Manage Your Time Carefully: With so many students, it’s easy to let a game or
activity take up a lot of time. Have a clock visible and keep a close eye on it, or bring
a timer to keep a strict limit on activities. Always have extra activities planned and
ready to go in case you have extra time.

Seating: Have a seating plan ready. If you know the students, think about which
students are most likely to start chatting or fighting during class. Also think about
which students are struggling, and try to seat them next to students who have a strong
grasp of the material. Make some notes during the first week of classes about what
problems have come up
Practical Tips for Teaching Large Classes 5

Divide the Class into Teams: Having a fun, competitive environment can help
motivate students. By rewarding points for the quietest team, best behavior, or
fastest to finish their work, you can keep their behavior in check, too.

Give Every Student a Chance to Participate: In a large classroom, it’s easy for quieter
students to fade into the background while the more outgoing ones answer the
questions and participate. Whether you are keeping track of who you call on, playing
games where everyone has to participate, or doing partner work, make sure that every
student is involved.

Reinforce and Review: Before starting any independent work, practice lessons,
patterns, or new vocabulary thoroughly. You don’t have much time or resources to
give individual attention to a lot of students, so make sure that the whole class really
understands everything and can do the work pretty independently.

Learn everyone’s name and get to know them: When you’ve got a high-energy, fast-
paced activity going on, the last thing you want to be saying is “You…no, you, in the
red shirt, um…Tim? Tommy?” Know everyone’s name within the first couple of
days of class. Plan name-based, “get-to-know-you” activities to help establish

Teachers do not overlook the fact that, although teaching a larger class has
many challenges, it also has its own set of rewards and benefits. Class time tends to
fly by, too, since activities and games take much longer when there are a lot of
students. Large classes tend to have a lot of energy and, if well-managed, can be very
rewarding and fun for the students and the teacher.
Practical Tips for Teaching Large Classes 6


Hayes, David (1997) Helping Teachers to Cope with Large Classes’, ELT Journal
Volume 51/2

Baker, J. & Westrup. H. (2000). The English language teacher’s handbook: How to
teach large classes with few resources. London: Continuum.

Ur, P. (1996). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University