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Class Size and Effective Teaching International Network


Class Size and Effective Teaching International Network


How can teachers make the most of large (or small) class sizes? A new international project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust,  brings together researchers from across the world to explore the interactions between class size and effectiveness in teaching.


There has been a lot of debate around the world about class size. In the West there has been interest over why Asian regions like Shanghai and Hong Kong perform well academically, despite larger class sizes. Paradoxically—and often on the basis of Western research—a number of Asian countries have introduced policies to reduce class sizes, in order to help students to develop critical thinking skills and collaborative approaches, for example.


This project was born from the belief that an international network would fundamentally advance understanding of the educational effects of class size and how teachers can make the most of smaller (and larger) classes. It brings together prominent researchers from institutions in the UK, mainland Europe, East Asia and the US, countries of strategic importance in this field. Network members include the Institute of Education, University of London; the Hong Kong Institute of Education; the University of Cambridge; University of New York State, Buffalo; University Pierre Mendes, France; East China Normal University, Shanghai; and Hong Kong University.


Previous research on class size has focused on establishing connections between class size and pupil attainment; though influential, this research is in one important sense simplistic because it overlooks the pedagogical effects of class size. The network will champion the idea of what we have called the ‘third generation’ of class size research, which addresses the neglected topic of effective pedagogies in different sizes of class.


The network involves three workshops and ends with a final international conference. The integrative approach that the network is taking will be furthered through visits to each site by the principal investigator. The network offers a unique opportunity to share findings and insights and develop practical benefits for education worldwide.

Aims and Outcomes of the Network











Key Outcomes for the Network


  1. Each network partner writes a paper on an aspect of class size and teaching – basing this on the empirical and conceptual work they have conducted.

  2. Joint paper on our search for a general model of class size and effective teaching.

  3. Identify a future research agenda for class size.

  4.  Identify key policy recommendations.


Aims of the network

  • Share information on work, methods, results and recommendations for practice relating to class size.

  • Identify central themes and a common framework underpinning effective teaching and learning and class size.

  • Interrogate data collected in each country on teaching and learning in relation to class size.

  • Share findings and recommendations and arrive at integrative conceptual framework and conclusions for wider dissemination to education practitioners around the world.

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