"Large classes make me feel cluttered and unnoticed," said Bingham High senior A. Ian Hogan.
In the large classes that are common in Utah schools, students may not receive the individual help they need or be able to learn as much as they are capable.At about 3,200 students, Bingham High School has the largest student body in the state of Utah. (There is a new high school being built to relieve the overcrowding.) At Bingham, large class sizes cause problems in some departments while in others it is an advantage.
"You need individual attention, but in a math class of 51 you can't get that. It's OK to have a large class if it's something like band," said junior Natalie Bean.
At some point throughout the school year, a student will not understand something or have questions about how to complete an assignment.
There may not be enough class time for students to get individual help from teachers, but teachers are usually willing to help students before and after school.
Some teachers feel that large classes limit the amount of material that can be taught to the students. Teachers can only teach as fast as the slowest student can learn.
Janice Voorhies, an English teacher at Bingham, feels, "With large classes you don't get to know each student, which is a problem. Students do better when the teacher knows and understands them."
Senior Peter Blackham said, "With large classes you don't get to learn as much because you're afraid to ask questions."
On the other hand, some students feel that large classes aren't a problem. "Large classes are fun because you get to know many other people, and if you want to learn you'll pay attention," said senior Bonnie Jackson.
Junior Rebecca Bostwick said, "I love large classes because I like having a lot of people around me."
As long as a teacher keeps the class organized and busy, having a large class shouldn't be a problem. Still Robbie Jenkins, a senior at Bingham, feels that "with large classes, teachers have trouble controlling the students, everyone can't be involved, and some students feel left out. It's hard because you can't get individual attention from teachers."
"I think having large classes prepares us for what college will be like," said senior Michelle Douglass. Once students get to high school, they should be mature enough to pay attention in class, learn everything they can, and be responsible enough to go in to a teacher before or after school for help.
Junior Chad Simmons thinks, "You could learn better in a smaller class because the teacher could give you more individual attention." If class sizes were smaller it would cost more money to furnish teachers. Maybe that's a fair trade, but it is possible for students to do well in large classes.
Brent Cox, the yearbook adviser at Bingham says, "Teachers have to develop new skills to be able to teach large classes, such as organizing their classes so that they are geared toward the individual."
Core academic classes should not have large numbers, because one-on-one attention is needed. Classes like choir, orchestra, band and newspaper work better with more students because they are team oriented classes.