Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Size does matter....

This afternoon I ran a PD ( more a conversation than a presentation) with Ros from Bungaree PS on using iPads in the classroom. I enjoyed sharing some of what I've learnt over the last four years about using iPads in the classroom.Thanks for dropping in Ros.

Below is a photo of one of my preps with his sugar glider paper bag hand puppet. I also included photos of the Jack and the Beanstalk bean growing activity ( An idea from Pinterest) My grade 2 girl loved doing this. I hope it grows!

The article below was published in the latest AEU 'Curriculum co-ordinations E- newsletter.'
I heartily agree that class size does have a significant effect on the provision of an engaging classroom learning environment. Only those who don't teach or who teach a wholly teacher centric pedagogy would think that small class sizes are irrelevant to student learning. (That means conservative education 'experts' and Department bean- counters) At Glen Park I can maintain a focused learning environment while at the same time providing ample time for discovery learning and negotiated learning. This is best achieved with a manageable class size. 

A new review of class size research from the National Education Policy Center in the USA finds that there is strong evidence that class size reduction helps raise student achievement.


The report - Does Class Size Matter? - written by Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an economist and education policy professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, takes on political and academic critics who have been pushing the line that lowering class sizes will do little to improve educational outcomes.


The report confirms that class size does matter: "Research supports the common-sense notion that children learn more and teachers are more effective in smaller classes."


Schanzenbach explains that: "Class size is an important determinant of a variety of student outcomes ranging from test scores to broader life outcomes. Smaller classes are particularly effective at raising achievement levels of low-income and minority children."


The report concludes:


"Policymakers should carefully weigh the efficacy of class-size policy against other potential uses of funds. While lower class size has a demonstrable cost, it may prove the more cost-effective policy overall."

[Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Does Class Size Matter?, National Education Policy Center, Feb 2014]


Post script: Mac.Robertson Girls' High School topped the list in the VCE school league tables published late last year. Its median subject study score of 38 was matched only by Fintona Girls' School in Balwyn.


The principal of Fintona stated that one of the key factors in its good performance was its policy of keeping "class sizes small with an average of 17 throughout all year levels."


[Marshall K et al, Mac.Rob holds its place at top of table, The Age

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