Education tips


Managing large language classes: Many English language teachers around the world face a common problem: large class sizes. A large number of students in a classroom can lead to difficulties for both the instructor and the learners.

We discuss what teachers can do to help manage large classes. We will also look at ways to increase student participation.

How large is too large?

People have different ideas about what makes a class “too big.” Some studies consider a classroom with more than 30 or 35 students a large class. Other studies say that a class with more than 60 students is considered large.

The positives and negatives to large classes

Teaching a large class can bring both positive and negative experiences. Some teachers report that students misbehave more often in big classes. The teachers may also find it hard to provide feedback on every student’s work.

It can also be hard for the students. Larger classes often include students with different ability levels. While stronger students may feel bored, weaker students often feel left behind.

But large classes can present positive opportunities, as well as offering a chance for interactive activities. They also provide students with a chance to help other students in class as well as learn independently.

Below are some tips to help students manage a large class:

Establish rules

Researchers suggest creating a list of classroom rules – with feedback from the students themselves. If students are part of such a process, they are more likely to follow rules for class.

Organisation and routine

Organisation is extremely important with large groups of students, and keeping them focused.

Start each class with an agenda for the day. When students know the plan for each class, they may be less likely to misbehave.

It also helps to have a method for getting students’ attention if the class starts to get noisy. This may include a “quiet signal” (such as raising your hand) or a word or phrase that you say with your class.

Plan a variety of activities

Students may lose interest if class activities last for too long. This is especially true with large classes. Therefore, teachers should plan to have many different activities, with different levels of difficulty. This helps keep the class moving at a quick speed and helps prevent students from feeling bored.

Increasing student participation with pair and group work

In large classes, there is simply not enough time for a teacher to work with each and every student. In order to give students enough of a chance to practice English in class, teachers should consider organising the class in pairs or groups.

Pair and group work can help make a large class feel smaller for students. Such work also gives them more opportunities to participate in class.

Form groups and assign roles

When forming groups for group work, it helps to give each student a role. These roles may include note-taker, timekeeper, leader, or presenter. Roles help students stay focused. They also give the students a sense of responsibility.


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