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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eleven Plus Class Sizes

Class sizes up to sixty children were common a hundred years ago. There used to be a single teacher who was both revered and feared. Discipline had to be taut. Control had to be absolute. Pain and beatings were administered for small misdemeanours.

The teachers used lots of drill exercises. The class could not progress at the speed of the most able. The teacher could only allow the class to move forward at the speed of the slowest. The children who learnt quickly were expected to help the less able.

Gradually teachers and educationalists were able to argue that education was there to help a child achieve his or her potential. To achieve this laudable aim class sizes had to drop.

We still have one teacher teaching a class. The size and composition of the class can show considerable variation.

Many of our Eleven Plus children are very bright. We tested a child in one of our centres this week who only made three mistakes on two standardised tests. This places the class teacher in his school under tremendous pressure.

1 comment:

Mike Drury said...

In the early 30s our Dad was a schoolmaster in a central London school. This was just before he travelled out to continue his career in education in the new country Rhodesia.

I can remember him telling us that he used to teach up to 50 small boys in his primary school classes. Most of them came from poor families and would not wash more than once a week and certainly their clothes were not washed very often.

In winter the small classrooms became very fuggy with the boys squashed together on long wooden benches and the little windows high up on the walls, completely misted up.

How much he must have enjoyed the sun streaming in through the classroom windows in his new country and how lucky the children of today are in comparison with their pleasant facilities.