Publication Details

Fortes, P. & Tchantchane, A. 2010, 'Dealing with large classes: a real challenge', in International Conference on Mathematics Education Research, 13- 14 Dec 2010, Malacca, Procedia, Social and Behavioral Sciences, pp. 272-280.


Dealing with large classes constitutes a real challenge to every teacher: diversity of students, lack of flexibility, class climate management, difficulty of setting and enforcing classroom behaviour (crowd control), minimum attention to students, limited monitoring of students’ learning and difficulty in engaging students to activities. The major hypothesis is that effective teaching and producing learning is critically constrained by the large size of classes and the students’ perception about large classes being negative. This research is to engage in a study of the effectiveness of teaching foundation Math for very large classes (150-200 students). The baseline of our study is based on data that has been collected from students’ survey. Two surveys were conducted throughout the semester to monitor students’ expectations, motivation, own perception on performance, views and preferences about the delivery of the lecture and the learning. We designed the surveys to detect accurately as much as possible students’ attitude towards learning. Each student's responses such as the students own perception has been correlated to real performance through out the semester as measured by two midterms, weekly class work, quizzes, tutorials and the final. Our study will highlight other solutions to the above critical obstacles to conducting an effective learning environment. Both the lecturing time and the mode of teaching are investigated and reviewed as a potential solution to the problems encountered during the lecture delivery. We compare our findings to the existing literature and other teachers’ experiences. Studying students’ experience is quite challenging and can be used as a quality indicator in addition to the standard quality in higher education. Evaluating or assessing students’ experience, need and expectations can lead to improvements in teaching performance and achieving learning outcomes. Since most studies on students’ achievements and class size effects are done in a western context, this study is timely and relevant for United Arab Emirates.



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