• Nick Kemp

Task 2 Essay: Language Learning and Class Sizes

Question: Some people say that class size affects language teaching, while others feel that big classes do not matter. Discuss both view and give your opinion.

Band 8+ Sample Answer:

(Intro) People hold differing views about the effects of the size of a class on the quality of language lessons. Although the number of students is not a major concern in some cases such as receptive skills, I believe that for the majority of language classes including productive skills, class size can be pivotal.

(Body 1) To begin with, I would suggest that when teaching listening or reading skills, teachers should not worry about the class size. Since the main purpose of such courses is to equip learners with basic techniques, teachers can deliver a lecture to a large group of students and afterwards check their understanding by giving them exercises and answers. There are, of course, occasions when some learners lag behind their peers, but this can be solved by giving these individuals further reading at home and extra homework. In fact some studies in Vietnam have shown that there is no significant impact on progress of increasing class size.

(Body 2) However, I am of the opinion that the number of students in a class is an important consideration because a small-size class promises better interaction between learners and their teachers. This holds true for many aspects of language learning, some of which are pronunciation, speaking and writing skills. In such lessons, the instructor provides tailored advice and correction to each student as their mistakes vary from person to person. A student may struggle with putting their thoughts on paper, while another has difficulty in word choice and punctuation. If there are too many students, the instructor cannot allocate time to each of them, and the overall outcomes of the lesson will ultimately not be realised/reached.

(Conclusion) To conclude, class size does not matter in a few aspects of language teaching, but in my opinion, for other aspects this is a highly influential factor. Language school and teachers should, therefore, take the size of their classes into consideration to increase the teaching quality where appropriate. (339 words).

Essay: Student Essay, fully corrected and upgraded by Nick Kemp, former IELTS Examiner.

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