Mr. Smith struggled through yet another science lecture, interrupting himself on numerous occasions to verbally dress-down boisterous students all over the classroom. Bone-tired and battle-weary, he mentally asked himself: “How can anyone learn anything in a class of 28 students?”
If only the learning approach could be hands-on! But how do you do experiments with 28 squirrelly 5th graders — and no aide? So much time for learning wasted in unnecessary discipline. The saddest part was that several of his “trouble–makers” were really just bright kids bored with the droning on of lectures, day after day. Good kids, not even close to living up to their potential.
Children like Emily . . .
Emily threw her backpack on the couch. “Hi, Emily,” her mother, Jennifer, cheerfully said, “How was school?”
“Oh, fine, Mom, I’m going to play now.”
“Do you have any homework, Emily?” her mother asked, with concern.
“Nope, everything’s fine, see ya!” And Emily runs out the door.
In her heart, Jennifer knows that everything isn’t “fine.” As bright as she is, Emily has been earning A’s and B’s, with a C last quarter in Science. Yet she rarely brought home any homework. When Jennifer tried to investigate this at parent-teacher conferences, she learned that conferences were done on a drop-in basis, the entire class in a two-hour block. Jennifer had less than 10 minutes with Mr. Smith, whose only knowledge of Emily seemed to be what was in his manila file folder.
On the way back to her car, Jennifer wondered out loud: “Is this the best I can do for Emily?”
Perhaps there are Jennifers in your life; or perhaps you are Jennifer. Class size is one of the most researched topics in education. And the research is clear — Emily is losing (a lot!) in any class with over 20 students:
- Lower reading and math skills,
- Half or less individual attention
- Much less “hands–on” and small group learning
- Less classroom instruction (more discipline & distraction)
- Poorer relationship with the teacher
- Less safe
The National Education Association and the average Christian school don’t have much in common, but they both agree on this: Small class size is essential for strong student achievement!
In fact, since 1995, there is very little debate in the educational community. Christian elementary and secondary schools are characterized by small class size, typically with dedicated, ministry-minded teachers. What are the advantages of this to students?
There are many benefits, according to the research:
- Student performance improves by a minimum of 33%
- Stronger reading and math abilities
- Less disciplinary problems
- Improved teacher morale and enthusiasm
- High levels of classroom participation
- More instructional time & materials covered
- Greater joy for learning
And that’s just the beginning. Students who were educated in small classes during the crucial early grades (Kindergarten through Third Grade) were much more likely to graduate on time, with honors — and about half as likely to drop out of school altogether.
In some parts of the country, charter schools and public schools are catching on, and have begun lowering their class size to more manageable levels. Students fortunate enough to attend these schools do receive the kind of individualized attention that Christian schools have provided for decades.
The difference is, with Christian schools like Desmond T. Doss Christian Academy, teachers approach their students with a pastor’s touch. The success of students in their classroom is a matter of the heart. The result is WOW! students who can achieve their God-given potential. They become students who naturally work in teams and accept their peers because they have the values grounding that makes genuine acceptance possible.
For many parents, the combination of individual attention and strong spiritual values offered by Christian schools justifies the cost of tuition.
If you know a student or if your child is “lost in the numbers” in a
school system with large classes, perhaps it is time to consider
a proven alternative such as Desmond T. Doss Christian Academy.