Every student at ENC will attend large and small classes at some point. I personally think small classes are more beneficial to not only students, but to faculty as well.
Imagine being in a room full of 100 students with only one teacher to attend to you and the other 99 people. It is not only easy for you as a student to be distracted, but also hard for a professor to gain the full attention of his or her students.
Now, imagine a classroom with only 10-15 students. Since there are fewer attendees, there is a less likelihood of whispering, “Facebooking,” or texting. Without all the extra distractions, students are more apt to stay tuned-in to the professor and increase their progress in class.
In a smaller class, students are able to lean on professors more. Since teachers have less grading to do and fewer students to help, they are more available to work with each student individually. This will help students feel more valued and cared for, which can motivate them to work harder academically. When people are congratulated for the big or small tasks they do, they tend to succeed more. Feeling appreciated and competent is an important key to success.
Unfortunately, I have noticed that in larger classrooms those feelings are mostly nonexistent. I could attend all of my large lecture classes throughout a semester and not once receive a personal greeting from my professor.
Of course, students have an existence in the class because teachers are required to take attendance and grade assignments. However, since the class capacity is so large, the professor only develops relationships with a few students, as opposed to cultivating relationships with all students in a smaller-sized class.
Participation in class discussions is more beneficial with fewer students. When students are able to state their claim about a topic in class, they learn more about the chapter or section a professor is teaching. If there are 10 people sitting around in a circle, more of them are able to state their opinion on a question or discussion. When a lecture hall with over 60 students is in dialogue about a topic, only 10-12 people will be able to share their thoughts, leaving 50 other students with unheard voices.
Small class sizes will challenge a student to step up, participate, and be known, and in the long run, they will help build that student’s confidence to strive for greater things.