Eight Benefits of Small Classes

什么是一个尝试和真正的标志,一个Mounds公园学院教育? Small class sizes. From science to social studies, drama to drawing, MPA的班级明显少于明尼苏达其他大多数学校. In fact, MPA’s average class is 15 students, compared with the Minnesota public school average of 27. What’s more, MPA’s student-teacher ratio, 大楼里的总教师人数除以总学生人数, is 7:1, compared to the state average of 16:1. So why does MPA put such an emphasis on maintaining small class sizes and a lower student-teacher ratio? 因为小班教学对学生有很多好处,大大小小的都有. From hands on learning, to teacher autonomy, to research-based long-term success, see the eight benefits of smaller classes at MPA.

“小班授课让uwin电竞与每个学生都有了更深的联系. We have time to understand the way they learn, what trips them up, and what best motivates each one."


MPA Average Class Size


MN Average Class Size

1. There’s Nowhere To Hide
uwin电竞都可以想象这样一个场景:一个学生和33个学生在数学课上. 很多学生都不感兴趣,也不专心. 这个学生坐在教室的后面,远离老师和白板, 保持低调,但在不断的分心中努力保持专注. Interruptions, compounded by the chaos going on around the classroom, prevent any significant learning. This student falls further and further behind in math, but because they are not the squeaky wheel, they don’t receive individual attention. This student may never truly master the basic concepts in math nor build a strong foundation for future classes. Unfortunately, 这是许多学校的现实,30个或更多的学生在一个教室里是家常便饭.

相比之下,MPA的教室只有15名学生,教室里没有不好的座位. From the get-go, students are in a vastly different scenario, 在这里,他们别无选择,只能相互接触和互动, and with their teacher. 因为他们都是看得见的,所以没有人能够分散别人的注意力. At MPA, students are learning how to learn, 其中的一部分就是被他们所有的老师所了解和理解. Students receive help when they ask for it. They are directed and expected to share their own ideas, express their own opinions, and describe their own perspectives. This equates to confidence, deep content knowledge, 随着他们走向大学和生活,他们热爱学习.

Founding faculty member and Middle School teacher Anne Atchison knows that small classes allow each student to have a voice and a presence in her classes. “There can be more one-on-one or small group instruction, 反馈和庆祝活动更个人化,也更频繁.” And, Ms. 艾奇逊补充说:“学生们更有责任感,因为没有隐藏!”

2. Research Proves Long-Term Success
At MPA, small classes are valued for many reasons, but the most important is clear: they lead to academic success and higher levels of student achievement. Our faculty know this to be true from their experience, 但也有大量的研究证实了这一点.

A number of high-profile studies concluded that students in small classes obtain higher test scores, are more engaged in school, and demonstrate better behavior. For example, Project STAR (also known as the Tennessee Study) found that an average student assigned to a smaller class had a reading score nearly eight percent higher than students in the medium-sized classes. 小班学生的数学成绩平均也比小班学生高9%. A report from the Policy Research Institute in Wisconsin determined that students in smaller classes in elementary grades perform better in a number of academically measurable ways: they record higher test scores, earn better grades, and display superior attendance. In addition, this study found that smaller classes improved students’ growth in “non-cognitive” abilities that are not necessarily noted on tests or report cards, like grit, drive, and confidence, 但这些都与学术或其他领域的成功有关.

small group work 3. Teachers Are Able To Differentiate
在大班教学中,老师经常要教全班中大部分的学生. Students learning at a more advanced level than this broad middle may find themselves bored and disengaged (especially frustrating for gifted and talented students). 那些处于中间地位的人可能需要一些补救性的帮助,他们在混乱中迷失了. But with smaller class sizes, individualized, differentiated instruction is entirely possible.

For example, fourth grade teachers Deedee Stacy and Yamini Kimmerle differentiate their instruction to meet each kid where they are on their academic journey. “小班授课让uwin电竞与每个学生都有了更深的联系. We have time to understand the way they learn, what trips them up, and what best motivates each one. Our feedback, both verbal and written, is personally tailored to help each student take their own unique next step in the academic journey.” No matter where a student’s academic ability is, just being in a small class means their teacher can tailor their instruction so that students are neither bored nor overwhelmed.

Small classes enable teachers to truly personalize the educational experience for students. World language teacher Jess Blue considers herself to be very fortunate to have 10 students in her French V class. “As I write my vocabulary quiz for them, 我发现自己从多年的合作中已经非常了解他们了, and how I can tailor the exam to fit their interests. I have the time and freedom to write curriculum and assessments that meet them where they are and engage them more deeply.”

4. Experiential Course Work Is The Norm
小班上课,学生有更多动手学习的机会. At MPA, that could mean the 160 minutes of laboratory time per week in an Upper School science class, it could be a Middle School iTerm class on our state’s indigenous cultures that’s complete with two days of dog sledding in Northern Minnesota, 也可能是四年级的学生在走廊里游行,进行词汇大游行, an annual event where students dress up as their favorite word and parade around to different classrooms showing off their knowledge. 简而言之,学生们做的是工作,而不仅仅是听. This makes school meaningful, interesting, and engaging.

What’s more, hands on learning provides better opportunities for kinesthetic learners (those who learn best through movement and the sense of touch), who tend to become lost in the shuffle when listening to an instructor just talk about a topic or being asked to spend class time reading from a textbook.

5. Classrooms Are Calmer And Quieter
quiet classrooms There’s a tremendous difference between a classroom of 15 and a classroom of 30—ask any teacher. Even under the best circumstances, when all students in a classroom are focused, 单单在一个地方养30个孩子就会让人过度兴奋. Add to that equation the distractibility of young learners, the prevalence of learning challenges, and the shorter attention spans in this age of technology, and large classes can descend into turmoil quickly. 无论是学生们在课桌前不断的推挤, whispers coming from the back of the classroom, a phone ringing, or even the soft sounds of 30 pages turning, 即使是最专注的学生也会受到干扰. And that’s not insignificant. 这可能是完全理解课程和完全不理解课程的区别. By contrast, MPA的小班意味着更少的干扰和干扰, behavior is easily managed, and a quieter, calmer learning environment prevails.

6. Students Connect Better
在小班中,学生更好地了解他们的同学和老师. This means that students, especially those who are new to MPA, are not just another face in a vast crowd, but capable of quickly developing close knit, long lasting connections with new friends. These social connections lead to enhanced academics as well. Students learn from each other’s contributions to classroom discussion and feel more comfortable sharing these perspectives among friends because their opinions are affirmed and acknowledged in class discussion. MPA学生知道,如果他们在作业上遇到困难,可以去找谁, 也可以轻松地向老师提出一个简短的问题, a useful skill as they prepare for college. They also benefit from peers commenting on and reviewing their essays and providing feedback for presentations.

As a result, the MPA community feels like a family. In fact, in a yearly tradition in which the graduating class gives advice on how the school can improve its student experience, 学生们谈到他们在MPA的时光时,用的就是这些词. Nearly every senior, 有些人已经在这里呆了很多年,有些人是新来的, comment on the remarkable sense of community at MPA, one that is welcoming, inclusive, and has a distinct family feel. That’s small class sizes in action.

What’s more, at MPA, our small classes help us to hold steadfast to our whole-child pedagogy. We know that the social, emotional, physical, 而学生的心理健康状况直接影响着他们的学习能力, 因此小班是整个儿童环境的重要组成部分. 西班牙语教师María José约翰逊认为,在班级较大的学校, 教师与学生共存,却没有深厚的联系. In those cases, the classroom time turns into mere lecture. “当我与学生建立联系,向他们展示我关心他们的时候, who they are and their needs and interests, the teaching-learning process becomes meaningful.”

“当我与学生建立联系,向他们展示我关心他们的时候, who they are and their needs and interests, the teaching-learning process becomes meaningful."


MPA Student Teacher Ratio


MN Student Teacher Ratio

7. Students Receive More Feedback
小班授课意味着老师提供更详细的反馈,这已经不是什么秘密了, which in turn leads to more academically engaged kids. Faculty at MPA spend significant time analyzing their students’ work and providing meaningful feedback to improve analytical skills. This is especially true for humanities classes, where teachers review and provide comments on multiple drafts before a final draft is turned in, and in mathematics, where teachers like Dan Ethier (Middle School Honors Math) write a comment on every challenge problem that a student answers incorrectly with advice on where they went wrong.

However, in schools with overcrowding and large classes, 老师们工作过度,并不是总能在作业上提供实质性的反馈. They may be burned out from classroom management, 不要总是非常详细地批改作业,或者提供额外的反馈. That’s not to say they aren’t dedicated, but many simply have too many students under their purview.

Contrast that with MPA, 在uwin电竞的小班教学中,老师们是如何了解每个学生的, partner with them to augment their strengths, and recognize their opportunities for growth. Teachers also get to know a class right away and can modify their lessons and teaching style according to the unique personalities of each one. 这允许类快速地从一个主题转移到下一个主题, 尤其是在快节奏的课程中,比如荣誉代数2/3, a course which takes advantage of MPA’s small class sizes to combine two years’ worth of material into one.

uwin电竞的师生比例是7:1,这有助于uwin电竞尊重每个学生内在的独特学习者. Middle School director Dr. Jenn Milam说,小班授课可以让老师“了解孩子们的社交模式”, emotional needs, academic strengths and weaknesses, and the joys of their heart in a way that helps us connect with them in a more meaningful way.的确,反馈和参与会带来很大的不同.

8. Teachers Have More Autonomy
Fewer students in a class, 再加上在独立学校教学的灵活性, means that faculty can incorporate dynamic lessons with real-world relevance to engage all students, 特别是那些渴望更多挑战和严格的人. With MPA’s emphasis on collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and deep understanding rather than rote memorization, 老师鼓励并授权学生深入钻研手头的课题, to answer the “why.”

Kindergarten teacher Kristine Peterson, who has been at MPA for more than 30 years, 经常谈论她为什么在整个职业生涯中都留在这里. “我父亲总是鼓励我追随他的脚步,成为一名公立学校的教师, 但我一直想成为一名更独特的老师, and I knew MPA was place for that.”

Upper School social studies teacher Summer McCall added, “With a class of 35+ students at my previous school, 我觉得我每天都在让我的学生失望,因为我没有时间给他们打分, plan, or get to know them. 在MPA,我觉得我有时间给我的学生、我的评分和我自己. It has completely changed my life.”