For more than a century, Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania has provided a high quality education to children from low-income families. Milton Hershey School seeks to enrich students’ lives through a variety of means, including smaller class sizes.
Smaller class sizes benefit students in a number of ways. Individuals in smaller classrooms are more likely to have their questions answered in a timely fashion and therefore become more engaged in lesson plans. With a larger class size, it is less likely that a teacher will encourage questions, as he or she will need to progress through all of the day’s objectives.
Similarly, small class sizes allow for more in-depth classroom discussions. In a class with more than 30 children, lessons are more likely to follow a lecture format with little time for student engagement. Even when students do speak, they will not have the opportunity to address various topics or respond to points made by peers. On the other hand, the teacher of a smaller class can approach the day’s subject matter in a more conversational manner.
Individualized attention, of course, is the predominant benefit of manageable class sizes. The closer a school is able to get to a 1:1 teacher to student ratio, the greater the insight teachers will possess into each student’s preferred learning styles and specific needs. This benefit goes both ways, as students in smaller classrooms develop a stronger connection to and understanding of their instructor, as well as other students.