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Research you won’t hear about from NZEI

  • December 21st, 2013

Increasing Class Sizes Can Actually Improve Student Learning

I wonder whether we will hear from the NZEI about the research reported here, that suggests we could help a lot of kids and schools by increasing class sizes in the care of the best teachers, pay them more in recognition and compensation, and cut the numbers of kids iin the classes of the poor teachers.

Of course, the best teachers would feel they were being penalised for their excellence if the had to take on greater numbers than the incompetents, if they were not properly compensated with a substantial pay difference.

In most professions the best performers tend to be the busiest. They often also carry administrative and leadership roles at the same time, even in firms that try to avoid significant pay differentials. The best performers seem often to feel there is enough reward for greater burden by first choice of more interesting work, and the advancement that accompanies peer recognition.

The problem for teachers, almost alone among professions, is that they have insisted on a monopoly employer and industrial style fixing of wages and conditions. The greatest change in pay and respect for teachers would be if they worked like most other professionals, effectively in their own businesses, as 'worker co-ops' (otherwise known as partnerships).

Syndicates or partnerships of teachers, freed of dumb consumer council rule (Boards of Trustees) should own their own school businesses (not necessarily the premises). They would be disciplined like most other professionals by having to attract custom in competition with other self-governing worker co-op run schools.

They would soon find ways to use the best teachers to best advantage, and get rid of the worst.


  • simon arnold
  • December 21st, 2013
  • 7:17 pm

40 years ago, when I had something to do with education research, there was a well known result that teachers invariably nominated the ideal class size as 5 less pupils than they were currently teaching.

Usually they could name them.

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