It’s no surprise that many students prefer small schools to large schools. The climate, relationships, and classes offered by small schools make students, their parents, and teachers happy.
Better, closer relationships
With fewer people overall, it’s easier to foster meaningful relationships in small schools. According to the National Education Association, this goes for student-to-student, student-to-teacher, and teacher-to-administration relationships:
“A small school offers an environment in which students may be more visible. Student-teacher relationships improve, allowing teachers to more easily identify individual talents and unique needs of each student, which offers a more personalized educational experience. Teachers are able to interact more with their faculty administrators.”
With relatively small classes, teachers are able to get to know their students better. In addition, they have more interaction with the administrators, which makes for greater overall cohesion within the school.
According to this New York Times article, students in small schools are more likely to graduate. On a smaller scale, they’re more likely to attend school on average.
With thousands of students, attendance can be hard to keep track of in larger schools. Without close student-to-teacher relationships, it will be hard for the teacher to determine if something serious is troubling the student.
More student participation
With smaller classes, teachers have more freedom and flexibility. They can change the structure of the classroom and their teaching style and encourage more student participation.
According to the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, this isn’t always possible in large schools, and thus teachers have to rely on traditional, non-engaging lecturing methods:
“Due to low pupil/teacher ratios, the school is more likely to be learner-centered with strong emphasis placed on individualized and small group instruction. By contrast, large schools with large class sizes have traditionally led to reliance on lecture and objective tests that stress recall. The potential for student self identity, participation, and expression is thereby enhanced in small schools.”
We know that these traditional methods — lectures and objective tests — have their limitations. But the reality for large schools is that they’re often the only feasible way to teach and evaluate.
Small schools don’t have this problem. Since there is less enrollment, students can get more involved in the classroom. This increased level of participation makes a class more interactive, interesting, and effective.
Better school climate
Small schools are less likely to develop cliques and bullying. Students get to know all of their classmates throughout the years and are encouraged to get involved in extracurricular activities. This kind of climate is less stressful than that in large schools, which have a harder time monitoring cliques and bullying.
Higher teacher satisfaction
Finally, one of the most important advantages of small schools is the higher level of teacher satisfaction. As mentioned earlier, teachers get to know their students and administrators better than they would in a large school. In addition, they get to exercise more creativity in smaller classes than they could with higher pupil-to-teacher ratios.
Teacher satisfaction is an underrated aspect of education. When teachers are happy, they put more energy into their lessons and lectures. Furthermore, they’re more likely to develop meaningful relationships with students and care for their well-being. This plays an essential role in learning and provides additional much-needed support for students.
No matter what level of education it is, small schools will always have certain advantages over large schools. With relatively low enrollment, these schools can foster meaningful relationships between all parties involved. This, along with the more interactive and engaging lessons, helps students grow and learn.
For more information about the advantages of small schools, contact us today.