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TEACHING AND RESEARCHING ENGLISH IN LARGE CLASSES

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					 43rd IATEFL CONFERENCE CARDIFF 2009



    TEACHING AND
RESEARCHING ENGLISH IN
     LARGE CLASSES
               Dr Fauzia Shamim
           Professor, Dept. of English
          University of Karachi, Karachi
                     Pakistan.
           fauzia.shamim@yahoo.com
                   Outline
   Introduction: Analytical Framework
   Researching Large Classes: The class
    size debate
   Teaching English in Large Classes
   Conclusion and a Way Forward


               Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
               Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   2
 ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK

RESEARCHING LARGE CLASSES:
   Exploring the phenomenon
1. What is a large class?

2. Why do we have large classes?




              Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
              Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   3
 ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK
RESEARCHING LARGE CLASSES: The
   Class size debate
3. What is the relationship of class size and
   achievement?
4. How does class size impact teacher-learner
   behavior and classroom processes?
5. What are the implications of the ‘class size
   debate’ for policy and practice?
                 Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                 Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   4
    ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK
   TEACHING IN LARGE CLASSES:
    ISSUES AND OPTIONS
    6. What strategies do teachers use for teaching-
      learning of English in large classes with limited
      resources and/or in challenging circumstances?
    7. To what extent do teacher education programs
      prepare teachers for enhancing teaching-learning of
      English in large classes?


                     Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                     Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009     5
  EXPLORING THE
  PHENOMENON

1. What is a large class?

2. Why do we have large classes?



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          Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   6
              What is a large class?


   What is considered small in one context, e.g., Pakistan
    (or even the UK) may be seen as a large class in another
    context such as North America
   Even within the same context, perceptions and
    experience of class size varies according to different
    factors such as pupil’s age and grade level
   However, generally, 40 and above is considered large!


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                      Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   7
             Defining large classes
             Teachers’ perspective
A large class is one in which:
 teachers face problems in teaching, managing,
  evaluating
 [there are] many challenges and opportunities
  for the teachers as well as for the learners in
  terms of managing resources, time and space
(Participants, Hornby summer school, Ethiopia, 2006)



                       Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                       Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   8
           Defining Large Classes
           Teachers’ Perspective
   A large class is one in which ‘ the possibility of
    individual relationship between professor
    [teacher] and student is precluded, in which not
    every student who wants to speak in class can be
    called on, and in which grading essay exams can
    take up every evening and weekend of the
    course (Weimer,1987, Teaching Large Classes
    Well, p.2)

                    Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                    Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   9
                    Defining large classes
                    Learners’ perspective
   ‘With 40-45 students it’s enough [ because] then the
    teacher will know what everyone is doing’


   ‘Some girls don’t even get a place to sit’


   When we write, there isn’t enough space for the copy
    [notebook]’.
((Learner’s perspective, from Shamim, 1993:142-143)

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                                  Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   10
       Other variables that influence
         perception of class size
   Previous/current experience of class size
   Physical conditions such as seating and work space for
    the learners
   Availability of resources
   Instructional strategies used
   Difficulty in doing certain things e.g. seeing the
    blackboard, checking written work
   Increased level of stress and/or workload
   Subject (content)
   Pupil’s age and grade level

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                      Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009     11
       Why do we have large classes?

   EFA goals

   Success of universal primary education
    initiatives(e.g. in Uganda)

   Population growth in developing countries
(Benbow, Mizarchi, Oliver & Said-Moshiro, 2007)


                           Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                           Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   12
 RESEARCHING LARGE
      CLASSES
THE CLASS SIZE DEBATE




    Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
    Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   13
RESEARCHING LARGE CLASSES


4. What is the relationship of class size and
    achievement?
5. How does class size impact teacher-learner
    behavior and classroom processes?
6. What are the implications of the ‘class size
    debate’ for policy and practice?


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                  Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   14
What is the relationship of class size
          and achievement?



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             Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   15
           CLASS SIZE AND
           ACHIEVEMENT
Early research: Results largely inconclusive
 Varying definitions of small and large
  classes
 CS considered an independent variable
  with achievement as the dependent
  variables
 Other ‘confounding’ variables not
  controlled.
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                Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   16
              CLASS SIZE AND
              ACHIEVEMENT
Glass et. al. (1982) meta analysis of 77
 empirical studies (1900-1979) of class size
 and achievement
 ‘Small classes were very much better than large classes.
 [However], Large classes were hardly any better than
 very large classes’ (p.47)



                     Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                     Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009     17
              CLASS SIZE AND
              ACHIEVEMENT
   Tennessee STAR project (1985-1989): A
    state-wide experiment in classes K-3
      Unequivocal support for small classes (13-17)
       in early grades particularly for at-risk and
       minority students



.
                   Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                   Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   18
CLASS SIZE AND ACHIEVMENT

London Class Size Project: A longitudinal study
  focusing on early years

   Findings indicate a significant effect of CS on children’s
    educational progress in reception classes- no clear difference found
    in progress in math and literacy in years 1 & 2.
   This advantage is maintained over the years (KS2) only if
    children remain in small classes

(For details see www.classsizeresearch.org.uk)

                          Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                          Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009               19
How does class size impact teacher-
  learner behavior and classroom
            processes?



           Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
           Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   20
Impact on Teachers & Teaching
In the Tennessee STAR project, teachers
  reported improvement in:
 the quality of instruction; and

 the learning environment in grades K-3
  due to reduced class size. (Johnston, 1990)



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                 Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   21
    Impact on Teachers and Teaching

   In smaller classes teachers move from group to
    individual instruction; time spent on procedural
    activities is reduced; time on review increases
   Teachers react more strongly to class size
    changes when teaching below-average students.
    (Betts & Shkolnik, 1999)
   CS has an impact on use of class time, both
    instructional and non-instructional (Rice, 1999)

                   Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                   Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   22
    Impact on Teachers and Teaching

   In the UK, Blatchford et.al(2002) found
    that in small classes :
      More individualization of teaching;

      Less time spent in management or
       procedural activities, hence more
       teaching overall

                 Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                 Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   23
Impact on Teachers and Teaching

 In small classes, more time to identify
  problems, provide feedback
 In large classes teachers experience more
  stress along with issues of control,
  marking etc.



             Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
             Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   24
 Impact on Teachers and Teaching

In South & East Asia, overall,
 teaching-learning seems to be affected
  more by the educational culture and school
  environment (Shamim, 1993, Todd, 2006)
  and the activities used (Kumar, 1992) than
  class size per se


               Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
               Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   25
     Teachers’ difficulties in teaching
         English in large classes
 Discomfort
 Control

 Evaluation

 Individual attention

 Learning
(Summary of findings of ‘Difficulties’ questionnaire, Lancaster-Leeds Language
   learning in Large Classes project (1986-1990) in Coleman, 1989.)



                            Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                            Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009                   26
 Impact on Teachers and Teaching



‘. . . WHILE SMALL CLASSES WILL NOT
    MAKE A BAD TEACHER BETTER, THEY
    CAN ALLOW TEACHERS TO BE MORE
    EFFECTIVE’ (Blatchford, 2009)



            Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
            Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   27
Impact on Learners and Learning
   Students’ location in large teacher-centered
    classes affects learners in a variety of ways, e.g.
    motivation, engagement and on-task behavior,
    labeling etc. (Shamim, 1993, 1996)
    In small classes students more engaged in
    learning behaviors, less disruptive behavior
    (Finn et al. 2003)


                     Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                     Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   28
Impact on Learners and Learning
 In large classes, students more likely to be
  ‘audience’ in whole-class teaching;
 In small classes more interaction with
  teachers (Blatchford et al, 2002)




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                Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   29
Impact on Learners and Learning
   In higher education, students value:
      lectures and being active more than
       cooperative learning
      any activity that related to improving
       exam performance (whether active,
       cooperative or traditional)
    (Machemer & Crawford, 2008)


                     Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                     Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   30
RESEARCHING LARGE CLASSES
       Major Trends
    DOES CLASS SIZE MATTER? (IS SMALLER
                  BETTER?)

 CLASS SIZE FOR WHAT (LITERACY, MATH) AND
  FOR WHOM (EARLY YEARS, MINORITY-AT-RISK
                    STUDENTS)?
          (What are the mediating factors?)

 HOW IS REDUCING CLASS SIZE COMPARABLE TO
      OTHER EDUCATIONAL REFORMS FOR
          IMPROVING ACHIEVEMENT?
             Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
             Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   31
     SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
   Effects of small classes (13-17) strongest in
    early grades, with minority and at-risk
    students

   CSR has not led to any significant
    improvement in learning or teaching



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                   Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   32
5. What are the implications of the ‘class
  size debate’ for policy and practice?



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               Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   33
     IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY
          AND PRACTICE
 To reduce class size to 17 students
 ‘The most expensive educational input’
  (Normore & Ilon, 2008)
For example: to reduce current CS of 35 students to 17
  (the ideal number!) in 1,000 student school, estimated
  cost of hiring additional teachers only is $899,000
    (AERA research points, 2003)


                     Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                     Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009    34
 IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY
      AND PRACTICE
CSR is clearly NOT A POLICY OPTION for
  majority of governments in the developing
                    world!



NEED TO FOCUS ON HOW TO TEACH
      LARGE CLASSES WELL!


              Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
              Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   35
TEACHING ENGLISH
 IN LARGE CLASSES
    The challenge is to find ways of following the
 principles of ‘good practice’ for teaching English in
    the specific context of a large class in difficult
            circumstances (cf. West, 1960)
6. What strategies do teachers use for
 teaching-learning of English in large
 classes with limited resources and/or
     in challenging circumstances?


           Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
           Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   37
 Strategies for Teaching English in
            Large Classes

Problem-solution approach
 Managing  large classes e.g., grouping
  techniques
 Teaching writing
 Assessing speaking/writing
 Dealing with limited resources
               Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
               Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   38
   Rethinking large class teaching
     Individualizing instruction (Sarwar,
      2001)
     Creative redistribution of time and
      resources (Burgess, 1986, Bolton, 1989)



                 Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                 Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   39
7. To what extent do teacher education
     programs prepare teachers for
 enhancing teaching-learning of English
            in large classes?


             Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
             Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   40
    Preparing Teachers for Large Class
                Teaching
   Training Manuals (e.g. USAID, UNESCO, Peace
    Corps)

   Cambridge University Teacher Preparation Courses
    e.g., ICELT (In-Service certificate in English language
    teaching)

   British Council Initiatives e.g., Hornby school on
    Teaching English in Large Classes, Ethiopia, 2006

                      Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                      Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009      41
            CONCLUSION
 Growing research evidence for what
  teachers seem to know intuitively- i.e., class
  size matters!
 Research undertaken in the North mainly
  to inform policy decisions leading to class
  size reduction, e.g., in California


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                 Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   42
               CONCLUSION
   Practitioners’ response to large classes in the
    South mainly focused on finding ways of
    teaching large classes well
   Strategies for large class teaching remain as
    practical tips- no research evidence about their
    effectiveness



                    Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                    Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   43
     DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE
           RESEARCH
   Need to develop models for research on class
    size to identify mechanisms through which class
    size affects student learning and achievement in
    varied educational contexts
   Need to explore the effectiveness of strategies
    for large class teaching through practitioner
    research (e.g. SPELT course)


                   Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                   Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   44
       A WAY FORWARD
Teaching English in Large Classes
 (TELC) Research Project /
 Network

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc
 /al/research/projects/telc

            Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
            Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   45
TELC Research Project/Network
Aims
 To share and disseminate good practice relating
  to teaching in large classes / teaching in
  otherwise 'under-resourced' or
  'difficult' circumstances
 To theorize from such practice with a view to
  identifying common principles
 To promote further exploratory practice and
  research in such circumstances
                 Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                 Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   46
TELC Research Project/Network
Initial activities involve:
 Providing links to relevant sources of
  information and other resources
 Building up a comprehensive bibliography
  of recent work in the field



               Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
               Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   47
TELC Research Project/Network
 Encouraging and providing a portal for
  dissemination of research by staff and
  students in participating universities and
  teachers/researchers elsewhere,
  including research carried out in existing
  country-wide networks
 Encouraging further research initiatives in
  the area of large class studies
                Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009   48
TELC Research Project/Network
Joint Coordinators:
 Dr Fauzia Shamim, University of Karachi, Pakistan
 Dr Richard Smith, University of Warwick, UK


International Advisory Committee
 Harry Kuchah (Ministry of Basic Education, Cameroon), Dr Rama Mathew
   (University of Delhi, India), Dr. Nigussie Negash (Ethiopia), Shelagh Rixon
   (University of Warwick, UK), Zakia Sarwar (SPELT, Pakistan) and Dr Wang
   Qiang (Beijing Normal University, China), advised by Hywel Coleman
   (formerly University of Leeds).

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/al/research/pr
  ojects/telc


                            Shamim, 43rd IATEFL Conference,
                            Cardiff, UK, 31 March-4 April 2009               49

				
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