As world populations continue to grow exponentially, teachers are facing a new problem in classrooms- the large number of children. With more children, it is more difficult to teach new subjects in a short amount of time. Teachers have little time to help individual students struggling because the rest of the class is already excelling on the subject and wants to learn something new. Not only do the children learn less, teachers face more stress, often are less happy with their job and do not perform as well. (Vobejda, 1998)
Authors Barbara T. Bowman, Suzanne Donovan, and Susan Burns once wrote “If there is single critical component to quality, it rests in the relationship between the child and the teacher/caretaker and in the ability of the adult to be responsive to the child” (cited in Wasik, 2008). Students often feel shy, unimportant, or dull when they have many peers because the teacher can invest only a short period of time in making a connection with students. Only after children have broken out of their shell are they able to express their thoughts and take risks in front of and under the guidance of a teacher.
A study conducted by Yale University revealed that higher student- teacher ratios, extended day programs, and teacher stress were all related to prekindergarten expulsions (Yale University’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Developement and Social Policy, 2008). Through surveys, Yale University professors and students found that when there were less than eight children per adult in the classroom, only 7.7% of the teachers reported expulsion. The expulsion rate for students with teachers with 12 or more children was 5% higher. (International Labor Organization News, 2002).
In America, majority and popular sovereignty win. The same applies to the classroom, where 20 children who already completed an assignment should not be hindered by a few. Since the future’s children must be thoroughly educated, more schools must be built, and more teachers trained and paid (Lewit & Baker).
International Labor Organization News. (2002, October 5). More children, fewer teachers. Retrieved July 2, 2009, from International Labor Organization: http://www.ilo.org/global/About_the_ILO/Media_and_public_information/Press_releases/lang–en/WCMS_007813/index.htm
Lewit, E. M., & Baker, L. S. (n.d.). CHILD INDICATORS: Class Size. Retrieved June 2, 2009, from The Future of Children: http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2826/information_show.htm?doc_id=73401
Vobejda, B. (1998, March 7). Day Care Improves With Staff Training. Retrieved July 2, 2009, from The Washington Post: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-648572.html
Wasik, B. (2008, April 8). When Fewer Is More: Small Groups in Early Childhood Classrooms. (Temple University) Retrieved July 2, 2009, from Springer Link: http://www.springerlink.com/content/k50743327r8jr251/fulltext.html
Yale University’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Developement and Social Policy. (2008, January 10). Prekindergarten Expulsion Linked to High Student-Teacher Ratios, Extended-Day Programs, and Teacher Job Stress . Retrieved June 2