OVERCROWDING: THE NEW NORM IN THE CLASSROOM SETTING
Post date: Jul 7, 2017 12:13:45 AM
by: Jerico Venedict Valdez Nazareno
One of the requirements in having quality education experience is the effective classroom management. Classroom management is the most challenging job that all educators are facing each day, let alone manage an overcrowded classroom. Overcrowding is the sad truth that is apparent in the public schools and even some private schools, especially in developing countries like the Philippines. In the ideal classroom setting, the class size will be limited to 15 to 20 students. This will ensure smooth movement in the classroom, sufficient attention to each student and manageable learning activities. However, it has always been a tight squeeze in the actual scenario for most of the schools as they regularly have 30 and above students in a single classroom. Unfortunately, this concern is nearly impossible to eradicate, brought by continuous increase in population and underfunded schools. Thus, overcrowding becomes the new norm in the classroom setting.
Overcrowding can be frustrating, overwhelming and stressful for the educators for it causes tremendous problems. It can bring massive discomfort to both the educators and the students, increase noise level and discipline issues, limit the access to necessary equipment, technology and study materials, inadequate attention to each student and give rise to problems concerning health and hygiene. Since it is likely that overcrowding will stay an issue, its negative impact shall be managed well through both whole school and classroom approaches.
Whole School Approach
Since overcrowding significantly affects the education of the students, the school community shall enlist the help of the parents to find practical ways to considerably lessen the problems arising from it. Several projects can be brought up during the parent-teacher meetings like building additional classrooms and/or room extension, acquiring additional classroom equipment and study materials, providing teacher aides, and etc. With a collaborative effort of the school community and the parents, campaigns can be creatively put up to raise funds like recycling things and selling them, growing crops in the school garden and selling them, caroling during Christmas season, launching a school dance, cultural show or concerts, and etc. They can also find suitable volunteers to be teacher aides and the parents can volunteer as well. Besides the help of the parents, the school community can either ask assistance from the media for their situation to be heard or seen by the national government, Non-Profit Organizations or other developing countries that can willingly provide financial and non-financial aid to uplift their conditions or directly request from them for donations.
While bringing in school-wide solutions for overcrowding related issues, the educators shall apply smart strategies to ease the burden caused by the said issues to successfully execute the lessons. The following are helpful tips for the educators teaching in overcrowded classrooms:
1. Exceptional Planning
- It is highly important that the educators are extremely organized when teaching in overcrowded classrooms. Thus, educators shall exceptionally plan the daily activities including the execution and transition of those activities for them to be prepared every single day. They shall also progressively establish efficient system in the classroom to balance their time with each student and lesson.
2. Energetic and Engaging Lessons
- It is very common for the students to lose focus and interest in any class setting, let alone in an overcrowded classroom. Thus, every lesson shall be fast paced and engaging. The educators shall provide activities that are uniquely related to the lesson and create fun atmosphere. Such activities can surely capture the attention of the students, and boredom and misbehavior can be avoided.
3. Suitable Seating Arrangement
- With a large class size, seats shall be strategically arranged. Those who are academically challenged students and those who are misbehaving can be placed towards the front. On the other hand, those who are excelling academically and those who are well-behaved can be placed towards the back. Rotation can also be used to establish and maintain an impression of impartiality.
4. After School Tutoring
- One of the problems arising from overcrowded classroom is the inadequate attention for each student. If this will not be addressed, the students who are already academically challenged will have more trouble in grasping the lessons and will be more susceptible of losing interest in learning. Therefore, the educators shall give extra time for those students after school. The educators shall ask permission from the Head of the Academic Department and the parents of those students so they can have after class hour tutoring. In this way, the aforementioned students will be able to gradually catch up with the rest of the class, giving them the much-needed boost to their confidence.
With the continuous support from the parents and other third parties, and the best effort of the school community, the negative effects of overcrowding can be lessened into a manageable level.