Small classes vs. lecture halls

BY DANIELLE ERTLE

SC Staff Writer

When a small child of five enters kindergarten, they are normally put into a small classroom setting which is where they will stay through twelfth grade.

Once college rolls around those small classroom settings still exist, but lecture halls filled with at least one hundred students or more is another way for students to learn at a higher level.

ESU’s Beers Lecture Hall and Moore Biology Hall may hold at least hundred students or more and have comfortable seats, but students’ opinions vary on whether or not they like learning in these big lecture halls.

English major, Jodie Grier, has had a class in Moore’s Biology Hall 117 and while she mentions that the chairs are comfy and the professors are awesome, she prefers smaller classrooms.

“I like smaller classes, not big lecture halls,” she said. “Most of the kids fall asleep in the big lecture halls and some professors don’t notice who comes to class or not.”

Unfortunately, the few times that I’ve had a class in a lecture hall, I’ve seen students fall asleep during class and not pay attention to what the professor is talking about.

While lecture halls may not appeal to some students, others don’t mind them, such as history student, Megan Ehrig.

“I actually prefer lecture halls,” she said. “I find it more meaningful to be able to sit and listen to material and process it on my own level.”

Everyone learns on a different level, some are visual or verbal learners while others are better at learning through music and sounds.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a choice in where we learn and even professors don’t have a specific classroom to teach in like those in elementary, junior high or high school do.

However, there are teachers who like the lecture halls and small teachers.

As for Chemistry teacher, Alan Shaffer, he is used to teaching at Beers Lecture Hall with his students.

“If I have to teach a larger lecture section, then Beers is one of the best venues, largely because of the acoustics. The large screen is also very effective, and the side wall can be used for support overheads,” said Shaffer.

I had him for chemistry last year and Beers was a perfect place for him to teach in as he has a lot of slides to go along with his lesson and activities. While he might be used to teaching in a larger setting other teachers like the smaller classroom setting.

Dr. Shaffer mentions how most teachers prefer the small classroom setting, even more so now as technology increases and some students may feel ignored or left out.

It seems that he is right as classrooms use more technology to help students learn, lacking communication between teacher and student.

“The human touch is the most important thing in education, and the more personal attention a student has the chance to receive, the better,” said Shaffer.

As for myself, I prefer the small classroom setting as I feel closer to the other students in the class whether I know all their names or not. In Beers it was always cold in there and I couldn’t see any of the students’ faces and by the end of the semester last year, I didn’t feel close to any of them at all.

Whether or not students like learning in a big lecture hall or small classroom setting, there’s always more room for them to learn something new.

Email Danielle at:

dertle@live.esu.edu

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