The more the merrier
CHANDRIKA S. CHAKRAVARTY
50 to 80 students in a class is just right for many
Loads of fun: College students love company. (Below) Vaibhavi, Chitra, Abhishek, Anala
Despite the large number of colleges in the city, most classes have very big strengths, often more than a hundred students, but just one lecturer handling them all. This can be highly inconvenient not only to the teachers but also to many students, especially those who sit in the back benches or those who have been to schools with much fewer people per class.
Large classes can certainly have a bright side, since there is greater interactivity between students, giving them a chance to make more friends and to learn from increased exposure. However, several problems crop up with the increase in the number of students per classroom.
The Hindu EducationPlus spoke to some students to find out what they thought about the strength of their classes.
Vaibhavi Patil (Mount Carmel College): I went to a school where we had about 36 people in a class, and now in college there are 85 students in a class. Since there are more people here, more questions are asked, so the exposure is different, and we learn a lot. Also, the lecturers are good and the classes are interesting, so people don't make noise, and we can hear all that is said. I wouldn't want the class to be smaller. In fact, there are lots of empty benches in the class and I think I would like more people to join.
Chitra Vinod (Baldwin's College): We have 54 people in our class, and I think the more we have, the better, becauase when it comes to things like events and pooling in money, when there are fewer students things work out a little expensive. At first the weaker students got all the attention from the teachers, but now the teachers give us all equal attention. The more students we have, the better is the participation for events, but then if there are too many people we won't get the attention we need, so this is a good strength.
Abhishek Vishvanath (Presidency College): There are 50 students in our class, which is not bad, because with a number like this, the teachers monitor us more. But then there's also another way of looking at it — we get caught for every second thing we do because they notice every little thing we're up to.
I think we would all have much more fun in class if there were more students. However, it's not really the strength of the class that makes all the difference, it's the lecturer. As long as the lecturer is good, any number up to around 90 students is fine.
Karthik Raheja (Christ College): Our class strength is 94, which is a little big, but smaller than other combinations that have up to 100 students per class. Also, in a college as big as ours, I think this is quite a reasonable number, and that a smaller strength would not be too viable. If a class is too small, we won't have any fun. Also, this is the age to meet people and make new friends, so I have no problems regarding the class strength.
Shashank M.S. (Sheshadripuram College): With 106 students in our class, the ones in the front have no problems, but backbenchers, and even people from about the sixth row onwards, tend to drift away from what's happening in class because they can't hear what the lecturers are saying, and the teachers can't see them.
Most colleges today seem to have around 100 students per class, but even if the lecturer uses a microphone, I don't know how interested a student will be. I think a class should ideally have about 65 to 70 students.
Anala Gururaj (Jain College): We have 70 people in our class, and though I came from a school where there were only about 40 people per class, I don't really have any problems now. The attention we get is a little different than what we used to get in school, but it's not bad.
With regard to other things like hearing the lecturers and getting space to sit, I have no difficulties at all. This number is not bad, but I think just a little more individual attention would be good, so a strength of around 50 to 60 would be perfect.
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