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Smaller Classrooms Promote Better Learning Experience Over Lecture Centers

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Some freshmen and transfer students may have never been in a classroom as large as the lecture centers before. I know when I transferred from a community college, the largest classroom I’d ever been in could probably hold around 100 students. I’ve had only one class in the lecture center that could hold over 300 students. Because of this discrepancy, there are mixed views among students as to what the best venue for learning is. I prefer the smaller classrooms. It’s a better learning compared to being in the lecture center.

During my time at my community college, I sat in the back. With my anxiety and hypervigilance, I felt more comfortable sitting away from the front. That way, no one was behind me and I could see everyone in front of me. In a small classroom, it did not make much of a difference. I could hear the professor clearly and see the notes on the board easily. When I transferred to the University at Albany, it was repeatedly suggested that I sit towards the front of the class. I knew I would feel uncomfortable at first, but when I entered LC 18, I knew I had to sit up close anyway just to hear what is going on. I didn’t sit up in the first few rows, but about eight rows back. Of all my classes, the one in LC 18 took me the longest to feel comfortable in.

There were screens on the side of the classroom to help students towards the back to be able to see the notes. A microphone was used to help students towards the back hear. However, there were a couple of times the microphone did not work, and it was a little difficult to hear from where I was sitting. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for those sitting in the back and some students did complain they could not hear and the professor suggested to the students to move up. The biggest thing I did notice was, those who sat in the back, rarely ever raised their hand or was called upon. That is the biggest take away for me.

I believe to have the best learning experience; a student must take risks and raise his or her hand and answer the professors’ questions. I also believe sharing your ideas and thoughts help expose and teach your classmates and having students not able to share because they are sitting so far away, limits the learning experience. Sure, it can be more nerve-racking being in such a large classroom, but over time I got used to it. But in a smaller classroom, most, if not all, of your classmates can speak up and share. In a large lecture center, that is not always the case. Smaller classrooms promote a better learning experience because it provides more opportunities for all students to answer questions and share their thoughts and ideas.

1 Comment

  1. Nick Strock
    October 6, 2018 at 2:05 pm — Reply

    I think I’m understanding your message in this article. If so, you are saying students should step out their comfort zone, but also saying the university should push smaller classrooms to give students more of an opportunity to be engaged? I don’t think creating smaller classes will just facilitate discussions. Even if a student is in a small class, it still takes a considerable amount of courage and risk taking to you raise your hand and speak. I think we should work towards another approach when trying to increase student participation on the classroom. One I’ve particularly enjoyed in some of my UAlbany classes is when the professor splits the class into sub-groups and allows us to discuss things on a smaller scale, and then beginning a full class discussion.

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