As we have talked in last blog, there are several benefits in keeping the class size small in our case. However, as a smaller class size means a greater individuality, simply dividing 10 children into 3 groups does not mean we will achieve all that we expect from a small class size.
Children learn differently. If a large class size minimizes differences, a small class size maximizes them. Therefore, students should be grouped smartly and teacher should make sure they learn.
First, our old and new students are mixed together. Grouping new and old students together helps creates a language environment and it is especially effective in a language classroom. The first benefit is that new students will be motivated and in many cases repeat our old students’ Chinese. Also, our old students can sometimes be little teachers in class. For instance, they can tell a picture book story to new students with the help of the teacher.
Second, to make full use of a small group size, the teacher offer individual time to every student in class. The individual working time is both short and intensive. It can be going through a series of fruit flashcards with students individually, or it can be interact with one student about what interests him/her particularly. The individual working time is short, which lasts about less than one minute in most cases. However, it yields great benefits: First, the particular student gets very intensive language practice catered to his/her learning interests; and second, the other students in class are also listening and learning.
-Chinese with Meggie Language School, Austin, Texas