Friday, September 4, 2009

The Ideal Language Class Size

Over the years, I have taught listening/speaking classes that range anywhere from 1-2 students to about 50, and each type of class brings its own rewards and benefits. However, for you personally, what is the ideal size for a listening/speaking class? Are their advantages to having smaller or larger classes depending on our goals? How much of a role does the teacher have in the learning process regardless of class size?

Please share your ideas.



  1. I like studying in small groups for about 5-10 students per class.It's easy to approach teacher.I think teacher should stimulate and encourage students to ask and speak.A class environment is important as well.Thinking of studying is boring,right?If teacher can make everyone feel like they're not in class but enjoy something,it's good.

    It's the first time i've commented on blog.I'm not native speaker.Hope you understand what i posted.

  2. Anonymous, I understood everything you said. You did a great job. I am an ESL teacher and a learner of a second language as well. So I can see language classes from the teacher's point of view and the student's point of view. As far as class size, I think it really depends on the students. It depends on their language levels and their ages. For younger students or beginners, smaller is better. The advantages of larger classes are that you can get students interacting more with each other (speaking, listening) and you have more flexibility in grouping them for activities.

    If anyone is interested in reading or commenting about general education issues, please visit my blog,

    Great job, Randall! I love your work! I use your listening activities all the time. Thank you so much for your contribution to the online teacher toolbox we've all come to depend on so much! :)

  3. Hello there,
    Why did you say:"how much of a role"?
    isn't "role" a countable noun?


  4. You're right. "Role" is a countable noun, but I don't see your question. I can use the same word in the sentence like this:

    A mother plays many roles in a family: financial advisor, chef, teacher, and counselor.

  5. There are benefits to both large and small groups. Naturally people prefer smaller groups as there is more opportunities to practice. Groups with more students have a different dynamic and promote teamwork. A lot of the time the budget of the student is the most telling factor in terms of group sizes.

    Jack @ JDAenglish


Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.