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This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.
Overcrowding is one of the most significant issues facing schools and teachers in the United States today. This problem is a combination of an increase in population, a shortage of teachers and a decrease in funding which has caused class sizes to soar. Class sizes are supposed to be capped at 15-20 students in an ideal world. Regrettably, many classrooms now regularly exceed thirty students, and even in some situations, schools exceed more than forty students in a single class. It is now a common thing to have overcrowding in schools. However, this issue is not likely to be solved soon, so teachers and schools must come up with plans and solutions to limit the negative impact of overcrowded classrooms.
Problems Created by Overcrowded Classrooms
Teaching in an overcrowded classroom can cause many problems such as stress and frustration for teachers and students. A crowded classroom may provide some challenges that can be nearly impossible to find a solution to or even overcome. Overcrowding became a solution that many schools resorts to due to problems in school funding or teacher shortage and sometimes for the two reasons. Below are some of the problems created by overcrowded classrooms:
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1. Noise — With all the students present in the classroom, the noise level increases naturally. It also becomes harder for teachers to teach and for students to concentrate in louder classrooms. While teachers are fighting hard to stop noise in order to teach, much of the time is wasted, and lots of lessons will be missed due to the time wasted.
2. Less Individualized Focus — When there are more students in the classroom, teachers can’t spend the same amount of time with each student. If a student is finding it hard to understand a particular topic, there may not be enough time to attend to him/her because there are thirty or more other students in the same class. A teacher may not even notice that a student is struggling due to the larger size, and they may not even have the time to help them if they finally notice them.
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3. More People — One simple fact to notice when there are more people in a classroom is that there are more people to deal with. That means more levels of intelligence, more distractions, and more everything. This can, however, lead to a slower pace or a faster pace for some of the students and can make it harder to learn
4. Overcrowding increases classroom discipline issues – With an increase in students’ count, comes an increase of risk factors such as tensions, conflicts and disruptive behavior. The best teachers in the school even find it difficult to successfully manage an overcrowded classroom. As a result, teachers will be forced to shift their focus from teaching to trying to manage their classrooms and controlling all students.
5. Struggling students fall further behind – Average students and students that fall below average will struggle the most to progress in an overcrowded classroom. These students require additional attention, resources, intervention and sometimes individualized attention.
6. Lack of personal connections – In an overcrowded classroom, it may be difficult to have certain teachers who always stand out in our minds. Students may find it difficult to have personal contact with their teachers in a class of above 30 students. Teachers may not have so much time to invest in a student individually.
District Level Solutions to Overcrowded Classrooms
Hire aids for teachers – The provision of an aide can help decrease the burden on the teacher. Aides may not affect the school that much since they receive a lower salary, but they will help improve the student to teacher ratio and reduce cost when they are placed in overcrowded classrooms.
Lobby your local and state representatives– Schools should build great relations with their local and state representatives in order to lobby them for more funding. During these meetings, you can explain the issues faced by your school due to overcrowding and even invite them to join teachers in the classrooms to see the problem firsthand.
Solicit local donations – Every community has individuals who are willing to support public schools and invest in a better educational system. Private schools can charge a tuition and collect donations to be able to cover their costs and keep their door open. Public schools should tap into local unsung heroes to bring in more monetary support for their buildings. Any extra amount will help a lot in an overcrowded classroom.
Apply for grants – Public schools should take advantage of the thousands of grant opportunities available every year. Teachers and administrators can apply for grants that help with classroom supplies, technology, activities and training.
Start an education foundation – Education foundations can raise funds to directly impact the public-school classrooms in their districts. In large part, these foundations exist to fund student programs and classroom tools that school budgets cannot cover.
Use Crowdfunding – Since we are living the era of internet and social media, schools can use these tools to fundraise for school projects. Administrators may be able to fundraise enough money every year to even hire more intervention teachers or aides.
It should be noted that Dearborn Public Schools have seen the best teacher to student ratio in over two decades. Elementary schools have approximately 1 teacher for every 22/23 students, middle schools are at 1 teacher for every 25/26 students and high schools have 1 teacher for every 28/30 approximately. These are overall averages and they are conservative as they do not include support teachers who do not have a direct classroom but provide support to students.
As much as this issue troubles administrators and teachers, it negatively impacts students. As a student in an overcrowded classroom, you should talk to your teacher and make sure he/she knows that you need extra help even if it means that you will have to see him/her after school to make sure that you do not fall behind. You should not be afraid or ashamed to address any problems and ask for help. Another idea you can do is to ask to sit in the front where you will find it easier to focus if you are having trouble concentrating in the back of the class. Teachers want you to learn, and they will be willing to help if you have such issues. Unfortunately, every year states make cuts to school funding and educational programs. Schools must be proactive and creative in creating plans that will ensure an adequate learning environment for teachers to teach and students to learn while not falling behind on their financials.
*Author: Hussein M. Hachem, is a multiple award-winning Education Advocate and Entrepreneur whose dedication to diversity, inclusiveness, and learning have earned him the reputation as an innovative team leader in the educational and non-profits sectors. He is the founder of Educare Student Services, Educare4all and What's Up Media Network.
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Researchers find that overcrowding can reduce students' ability to pay attention to teachers' instruction and even increase students' behavior issues. The rates of teacher and student absenteeism are more likely to be higher than at schools without overcrowding.
Overcrowding increases classroom discipline issues.
Large classes packed with students provide more opportunities for personality conflicts, tension, and general disruptive behavior.
Overcrowding can lead to a chaotic classroom environment that is more difficult for the teacher to manage. The increased number of students leads to a greater likelihood of disruptive behavior and conflicts among students, especially with fewer resources to accommodate the extra students.
A high LER value leads to various challenges that teachers must face. The following challenges were identified by the participants as the result of a high LER in classrooms: didactical neglect, problematic behaviour and a lack of discipline, as well as negative teacher attitudes.
A classroom is said to be overcrowded in which the number of students exceeds the optimum level such that it causes hindrance in the teaching-learning process. Researchers argue that there is no exact definition of a large class.
Effects on quality of life due to crowding may include increased physical contact, lack of sleep, lack of privacy and poor hygiene practices. While population density offers an objective measure of the number of people living per unit area, overcrowding refers to people's psychological response to density.
- Keep Everyone Busy. The more students you have in your classroom, the easier it is for a few distracted kids to derail your lesson. ...
- Use Flexible Grouping. All classes have students at different ability levels who learn at different paces. ...
- Keep Lessons Short.
/ (ˌəʊvəˈkraʊdɪŋ) / See synonyms for overcrowding on Thesaurus.com. noun. a state of being filled with more people or things than is desirable; congestion.
Overcrowded conditions have been linked to slow growth in childhood, which is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in later life. Almost half of all childhood accidents are associated with physical conditions in the home.
2 Population is growing rapidly, far outpacing the ability of our planet to support it, given current practices. Overpopulation is associated with negative environmental and economic outcomes ranging from the impacts of over-farming, deforestation, and water pollution to eutrophication and global warming.
- As indicated the teachers face problem of management of the discipline in the class so the. ...
- The teachers were agreed that the teachers feel very difficult to get students focus because. ...
- Teacher agreed that a structure of good environment can reduce the number of problems that.
Research shows that school overcrowding has varying effects on student achievement. A North Carolina study noted that: “Severely crowded schools [>130% of capacity] have a negative impact on reading achievement, but no discernible impact on math achievement.”
- Define expectations clearly in the syllabus. ...
- Reduce uncertainty. ...
- Delegate. ...
- Keep students' attention when you teach. ...
- Test what you teach. ...
- Every topic, no matter how abstract, must have real life application. ...
- Avoid mid-course changes. ...
- Meet your students.
This translates into about 40,500 schools that were under enrolled, 20,400 schools at their capacity, and 17,400 schools that were overcrowded (not shown in tables).
In large classes, students tend to interact with people they know. It's easy for some students to become outsiders or for cliques to form. In smaller classes, students will engage with each other and form relationships. The effect is a cohesive group of students who support and learn from one another.
The study revealed that large class size influenced students‟ academic performance and also limits their learning opportunities of students. It was again unravelled that psychological classroom environment had a great influence on the students‟ academic performance.
Problems with large classes
With a large class, it is difficult to get a satisfactory knowledge of student's needs. Intimacy with students and remembering names might be a problem. As a consequence of the large number of students, the noise level is inevitably high which adds to the stress teachers may experience.
A large class can grow into a supportive learning community. Students have more opportunity to partner with, and learn from, other students. Questions are answered more quickly on Piazza or a message board. Students can learn from their peers.