Class Size: Eastern and Western perspectives (Hardback) book cover

Class Size

Eastern and Western perspectives

Edited by Peter Blatchford, Kam Wing Chan, Maurice Galton, Kwok Chan Lai, John Chi-Kin Lee


292 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Much debate, research and commentary about class sizes in schools is limited because of an exclusive concern with class size and pupil academic attainment, and a neglect of classroom processes, which might help explain class size effects (or lack of them). Very little is known about the central question: how can teachers make the most of class size changes? Much of the commentary on class size effects has focused on Western and English-speaking countries but there are promising developments elsewhere, particularly the 'Small Class Teaching' initiatives in East Asia in the past decade, which have brought new knowledge and practical wisdom to the class size debate.

This book seeks to move toward a clearer view of what we know and do not know about class size effects, and to identify future steps in terms of policy and research. There is a huge and exciting potential for international collaboration on knowledge concerning class size effects which can help with research-informed policy. The book aims to draw out Eastern and Western international contexts which underpin any understanding of the role of class size in school learning.

The book has chapters by an international team of experts on class size effects, including Maurice Galton and John Hattie. Chapters are organised into four main sections:

  1. Socio-cultural and political contexts to the class size debate in the East and West;
  2. Research evidence on class size;
  3. Class size and classroom processes likely to be related to class size changes;
  4. Professional development for small class teaching in East Asia.

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction

1. Bringing together east and west approaches to the class size issue: An introduction to ‘Class Size: East and West perspectives’ Peter Blatchford, Maurice Galton and Kwok Chan Lai

Part II: Socio-cultural and political context

2. Eastern and Western perspectives: Educational and policy contexts and how they have shaped approaches to class size Kwok Chan Lai, Peter Blatchford and Beifei Dong

3. East Asian contexts of small class teaching: Policies and practices John Chi-Kin Lee

Part III: Research evidence on class size

4. Long-term impacts of class size reduction Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

5. Research on class size in France Pascal Bressoux

6. Is it true that class size does not matter? A critical review of research on class size effects Peter Blatchford

7. The right question in the debates about class size: Why is the (positive) effect so small? John Hattie

Part IV: Class size and classroom processes

8. Does class size (still) matter? Jeremy D. Finn and Michele E. Shanahan

9. Creating autonomous learners in small classes: The critical importance of motivation and wellbeing Maurice Galton

10. Classroom interaction in reduced-size classes: a Hong Kong perspective Gary Harfitt

11. Class size and collaborative approaches and group work Kam Wing Chan

Part V: Professional development for small class teaching

12. Teachers’ professional development for small class teaching in Hong Kong and Taiwan Kwok Chan Lai, Kuo-Liang Yen and John Chi-Kin Lee

13. Teachers’ professional development for small class teaching in Shanghai Beifei Dong, Kwok Chan Lai and Kam Wing Chan

14. Catering for diversity in small classes in Nanjing Xiaomei Wang, Jian Yang, Kam Wing Chan and Kwok Chan Lai

15. Curriculum adaptation in small class environment in Hong Kong Ellen Yuefeng Zhang, John Chi-Kin Lee and Michael Ho-Fai Chau

16. Enhancing the effectiveness of small class teaching through innovative learning environments in Hong Kong schools Kam Wing Chan

17. Utilizing pedagogical strategies of the learner-centred model in primary small class teaching settings in Hong Kong Celeste Y.M. Yuen

Part VI: Future developments

18. Eastern and Western approaches to class size: Conclusions and future directions Peter Blatchford

About the Editors

Peter Blatchford is Professor of Psychology and Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London and Honorary and Visiting Professor at the Education University of Hong Kong (formerly the Hong Kong Institute of Education).

Kam Wing Chan is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Honorary Advisor in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the Education University of Hong Kong. He was formerly the Director of the Centre for Small Class Teaching at the University.

Maurice Galton is Emeritus Professor with the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Former Dean of Education and Continuing Education at the University of Leicester; previously he was Visiting Professor at Hong Kong Institute of Education and evaluator of the Hong Kong Government's small class teaching programme from 2004 to 2014.

Kwok Chan Lai is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Honorary Advisor in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the Education University of Hong Kong. He was the founding Director of the Centre for Small Class Teaching from 2006 to 2012.

John Chi-Kin Lee is Vice President (Academic) and Chair Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, as well as Co-Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, at the Education University of Hong Kong. He was conferred the title of Changjiang Chair Professor.

About the Series

Asia-Europe Education Dialogue

This Routledge book series provides a forum for dialogue on key educational issues and challenges faced by Asian and European societies. Its distinctiveness is its broad focus on Education in Asia and Europe. In essence, it will address major issues in education reform, student learning, leadership, curriculum, higher education, multicultural education, and other major educational issues affecting Asia and Europe.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Elementary
EDUCATION / Secondary
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
EDUCATION / Classroom Management