Study finds big small benefits

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 March, 2007, 12:00am

Small schools with small classes create a learning environment that improves the interpersonal relationships between students and teachers, according to a Hong Kong Institute of Education study released this week.

Ip Kin-yuen, teacher development consultant to the institute's Centre for Development and Research in Small-Class Teaching and who oversaw the research, said the improved atmosphere boosted students' confidence and helped their all-round development.

The study, based on interviews with students and teachers at four schools in Tai Po district, included two primary schools and a secondary with 500 pupils or less plus another secondary school with about 1,000 pupils.

Around three quarters of students felt their relations with other students had improved since small-class teaching had been adopted. Roughly two-thirds felt their teachers showed more concern for them.

The report comes a month after a key debate on the issue of class sizes in the Legislative Council's education panel, at which the controversial preliminary findings of a four-year government study had found 'insufficient evidence' of benefits to reducing class sizes 'in terms of academic performance, subject attitudes and motivation'.