Thursday, March 19, 2009

Teaching Effectively in Very Large Classrooms

A read a tremendous article that deals with the challenges and solutions to teaching in a very large classroom. Given that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation (a non-profit organization concentrating on increasing nurses and nurse educators) is currently pushing for more nursing educators, I found this very helpful for any potential nursing teachers.

The following article was written by VickyRN, a staff member of The complete article can be found at:

There is a huge difference in teaching 30 students, as opposed to 140 students. Large classrooms can be noisy, crowded, and full of distractions. The students can be disrespectful and out of control, with pockets of students texting, carrying on private conversations, and coming and going at will. Sound familiar? Learning strategies that work well in small groups are often inappropriate for such large audiences. What strategies, then, can the nurse educator use to facilitate a positive learning environment in large classrooms?

First and foremost, the nurse educator must establish order in the classroom. This is critical, because without order, learning is hindered for all student participants, especially those who want to learn. The syllabus needs to include strict behavioral guidelines (“class etiquette rules”), as well as clearly defined consequences for not adhering to the behavioral guidelines. My university has just enacted the “Disruptive Student Policy,” which backs up consequential wording in the syllabus and allows educators to excuse disruptive students from the classroom. If the student persists in disruptive behavior, then the student may be expelled from the course entirely.

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