The present school system is under constant pressure to increase the size of their classes. In cities like Gurgaon and Delhi, class sizes in many school have exceeded 50 students. While there is a global move to keep class sizes to 20 or below for effective learning, it is unlikely to be implemented in India in the near future. It is small wonder then, that many students are unable to follow or get adequate support from their teachers, resulting in the need for tuition centres.
There are essentially three types of 1 to 1 chinese tuition centres today. The first are those where students are taught 1 on 1 either by a tutor coming to the home or the student going to the tutors home. The second are those that are held in the tutors home but multiple children at a time are taught. In most cases these children are not from the same class. The third are in proper centres where the number of students frequently exceed 25 children and in the case of test preparation may even exceed 60 students.
All these models survive because each meets a specific need today. The home tutors help children with their homework and answer their doubts while preparing them for school exams. The test preparation type of centres select only bright students and provide extensive practice to improve their marks in exams.
But for parents who want their children to truly understand their subject, neither the existing tuition model nor the school system may be meeting their requirement.
Children have different learning styles and most children learn better in the company of others, where some interaction is possible. They must also have individual attention. This means that the ideal learning situation is where a small number of children work together on a range of activities with individual supervision and then also get support based on individual needs.
A class size of 4 or less does not provide for adequate variation in group dynamics. Pairing options are limited and very quickly, one child emerges as the dominant one and the others fall into supporting roles from a learning perspective. Beyond 12, the number of children are too many for a teacher to be able to provide individual attention.
We believe that class sizes should be between 8 to 12 to provide the best of both worlds. Teachers will know each child well, and if they have been trained to work with different learning styles, will be able to provide each child with the right support in the right way. Children learning in such environments will be able to express themselves as individuals and work together in sufficiently varied groups.