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Sivukartta

Introduction

STUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER

This chapter consist of Introduction, main text, Conclusion and References.

Overview of the chapter content is presented in Introduction. Introduction also adresses such issues as target group and what we, the authors, mean by a large class in this particular chapter.

Main text is divided into four parts:

  • Part I. Previous research on teaching in large classes. In this section such aspects as relationship between class size and students' achievement, importance of active learning and use of technology in large class settings are mentioned.
  • Part IIChallenges in teaching large classes. Possible challenges a teacher can face when working with a large class are described. Challenges are viewed from different perspectives, among which are pedagogical, technical and social. Specific ways of use of technology and peer support in order to improve teaching are suggested.
  • Part III. Interview of high school IT teachers in Norway and Estonia. The results are presented in order to describe the present situation in high school in these countries.
  • Part IV. Possible solutions. Suggestions for use of technology and peer students to enhance teaching in a large class are presented and described.

In Conclusion we summarize our main ideas and give a short outlook and recommendations. In the Reference section you can find main sources we used and links to some of them.

Keywords of the chapter are in italics and dark green color. References are given (in brackets and highlighted with light blue color).

WHAT IS A LARGE CLASS?

There is no standard definition in the literature what a large class or group is. Ryan and Greenfield believe that treating the class as small or large is dependent on such factors, as other classes in the school or district, the teacher’s experience and training, the level of schooling, the subject and the total teacher workload (in Coleman, 1989).

In the Good Practice Guide issued by Griffith Institute for Higher Education it is also said that there is no singe definition for a large class, but it usually includes 100 students or more. In some cases large can imply a class of 50-70 students, while in other cases it means 1500 students. Large classes are most common in the first year of study at university (Burnett, Krause).

In this chapter, the target group is Norwegian, Finnish and Estonian high school students (15-18 years old).

According to Valdrien, in developing countries a class of less than 60 pupils is not necessarily perceived as a large one (in Sedibe). Mortimore and Blatchford claim that a class of 30-35 could be considered large by the British teacher, but also that experience would be the determining factor (in Sedibe). In Italian and Russian high schools a class including 30-35 students would be also be perceived as a large one. Therefore, the figures depend on the country.

In Norwegian high schools there is a legal limit of 28 students per class. If this capacity is exceeded, an additional teacher is assigned to the class. This occurance is rare - the usual way to deal with this is to divide such a large class into two smaller classes and assign one teacher to each. 

Average class size in Finnish schools is 20 students, and in Estonian - 22 students per class (OECD).

Consequently, we are going to speak of a class consisting of more than 30 students as a large one.

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