When I read "By Trying to Reduce Class Sizes, We're Solving the Wrong Problem" by Sam Chaltain in the November 19 Huff Post Education blog, I immediately thought of Malcolm Gladwell's book David and Goliath, specifically Chapter 2 - "Teresa DeBrito 'My largest class was twenty-nine kids. Oh, it was fun.' " Essentially, the first part of his book is about the advantages of disadvantages. A great read, by the way.
The best part of Chaltain's piece was when I came to the part that stated:
“The University of Virginia's Angeline Lillard, a professor of psychology who has studied the extent to which [Dr. Maria] Montessori's century-old theories have been affirmed by 21st-century research, unpacks Montessori's preference for large class sizes a bit further. ‘She believed that when there are not enough other children in the classroom, there are not enough different kinds of work out for children to learn sufficiently from watching each other work, nor are there enough personalities with whom children can practice their social interaction skills.’
‘In traditional settings in which class sizes are reduced, Lillard explains, ‘when one person is teaching the whole class simultaneously, that person would have more attention to devote to each child, and fewer children would conceivably allow for better teaching.’ By contrast, ‘when children are learning from materials and each other, having more varied possible tutors and tutees, a greater variety of people to collaborate with, and more different types of work out (inspiring one to do such work oneself) might be more beneficial.’ ”