There should be a balance between how much time we spend developing ideas and how much time we spend developing real plans to implement these ideas.
In fact, more time should be spent on the latter.
In education, there are far too many thinkers and researchers, or at least, not enough doers. Where are the people who say, “That’s a great idea! So, how is that possible??” These are what I call the “pump-the-brakes” people. These are teachers, too. We are always asking ourselves, “How, can we do this? Is this plausible?”
So, class size. There’s petitions like this one, asking politicians to reduce class size. Yay, that’s great.
So logistically speaking, are we planning on doubling classroom space across the city or hosting two classrooms in one? Do these rules apply to gym…or art (no offense gym or art, lol.)? Oh wait, are we going to DOUBLE the teacher workforce, too? Or cut class time in half? What would THIS LOOK LIKE? Exactly.
You know, the issue is a matter of support. And sometimes people don’t realize that they are on the same side because they aren’t speaking the same language (some of you will get this statement, some of you won’t…think about it.)
Amongst special education inclusion, ESL support, and other teacher professionals, assistants, paraprofessionals, etc. we can get MORE SUPPORT IN THE CLASSROOM. Yes we can! I’ve been in schools where this model works amazingly well. Placing another teacher in the room and utilizing the resources the system already has in place, seems to make more sense, rather than chasing down “class size” across the board as a systemic change. If you haven’t experienced co-teaching, try it.
Where smaller class sizes are possible, sure, go for it. But I’ve seen large class sizes succeed with just one teacher in the room, too. So is class size a carrot stick we need to be chasing in education right now? (Now, I’ve also worked in schools where class size is as low as 16 or even 8. The fact is, no matter how large or small your class is, teachers will need adequate resources to do their jobs.) We need to focus on getting teachers and students support when needed. This requires that individuals within school communities work together.
Perhaps the focus should be on removing the obstacles (including people and situations) that prevent individuals within school communities from working together.