Class Size And Effective Teaching In Secondary Schools

Class Size And Effective Teaching In Secondary Schools


This study on the influence of class size on the effective teaching in secondary schools was carried out in public secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. The population comprised all the 288 teachers in the 14 public secondary schools. However, 42 teachers were used as sample for the study. Three research questions which sought to find out how overpopulated, optimal and under-populated class sizes influenced teaching were raised. Data were received through a questionnaire and analyzed using simple percentage. It was found out that teaching was more effective in optimal and under-populated classes than in overpopulated ones. The study recommended that the government should train and employ more teachers to cope with the increase in school enrolment.

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Class Size And Effective Teaching In Secondary Schools


1.1       Background to the Study

The factors that affect the performance of a teacher are many. They are broadly divided into two namely, nature and environment (Hilgard, 2004). The nature factors are those qualities the teacher possesses that impact on teaching. The environment factors include those things outside the teacher that affect his performance. One of the environment factors is the class size. According to Nwideeduh (2003), the class size is one of the components of the school environment that determines the effectiveness of a teacher.

Class-size is an educational tool that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school. It is also the number of students per teacher in a class. It is a tool that can be used to measure the performance of the teacher in a given subject. It is simply referred to as the teacher-student ratio (Twan, 2002).

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According to UNICEF, the recommended class size is 1:35. However in Nigeria, the National Policy in Education recommends a class size of 1:40 in upper secondary schools (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). Based on the above, class size can be classified as over-populated, optimal or under-populated. In Nigeria, a class is overpopulated if it has over 40 students, it is optimal if it has 40 students and under-populated if there are less than 40 students in a class in the secondary school.

Several studies have revealed the effect of class size on teaching. Dallas (2005) argued that large class size place heavier burden on the teacher and makes him ineffective. Accordingly, many researchers have recommended class size that is low in order to enhance the teacher’s performance. This was why this study was carried out to examine the influence of class size on the effective teaching of schools subjects in secondary schools.

Class Size And Effective Teaching In Secondary Schools

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The conditions of classrooms at the secondary level of education in our country leave much to be desired. Some of the classrooms are just covered with corrugated iron sheets without ceilings to check heat transmission during the day. Others just have roofs on them, while the windows are open exposing students to debilitating state during adverse weather conditions. Across the country the picture is the same (Adeyemi, 2008).

Apart from the poor physical outlook of the classes, secondary schools in Nigeria have to grapple with overpopulated classes. Contrary to the National Policy on Education, which prescribes a class-size of 40 and UNESCO’s prescription of 35 in secondary schools, the classes in Nigeria range from 100 to 120 in a 12’ by 12’ classroom (Joshua, 2009).

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As observed by Commeyras (2003) and Adeyemi (2008), effective teaching looks impracticable in classes with about 50 to 100 students. The result could be poor class control, poor attention by students, lack of individualized attention and poor quality of the students produced. As observed by Kontz (2006), where the teacher is exposed to large classes, students’ evaluation becomes difficult as the teacher is exposed to over work. The question that bothered this study was: does the size of the class influence the effective teaching in secondary schools?

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