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Over-crowded Classes

The background to the study

There was a shocking difficult of overcrowded classes in public primary schools of Mangaung, due to an high residents as it is in central part of the province Free State. One class can be having over forty learners, and this makes the learning process to be ineffective and difficult.
This difficult causes a major poor performance in the school academics as to one in such a huge number.

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In such large classes, the teacher cannot concentrate on all learners in class for attention

The statement of the Research problem

There was a shocking problem of over-crowded classes in public primary schools of Mangaung, due to an elevated population as it is in central part of the province Free State. One class can be having over forty learners, and this makes the learning process to be ineffective and difficult. A class can have about fifty learners and effective learning become hard.
This devastating problem make the performance of learners to drop, the teacher cannot concentrate on all learners in class for attention.

Research questions

1. Does overpopulation in school affect learner’s academic performance?
2. What are the problems both teachers and learners face in overcrowded classroom in teaching and learning process in primary schools of Mangaung district?
3. Does overpopulation affect the efficiency of teachers in the process of teaching?
4. Howdoes the size of class influence in learners behavior?
5. What are the solutions to the problems both teachers and learners face in over-crowded classrooms in a primary?
6. Is classroom management possible in overcrowded classrooms?

  • The purpose of the study

The general purpose of this study is to inspect the effect of overcrowded classrooms on the academic performance of learners in public primary schools.

The purpose of the study is also to disclose the impact of classroom overpopulation on performance of learner’s academically

To inspect factors affecting teachers to fail classroom management

  • The significance of the study

This study is very important to supply the school management with information to recognize the challenges faced by teachers and learners in overpopulated classes. This study will make known the extent to which overpopulated has affected learners academic performance. It also tells the other issues affecting learner’s performance. In addition, this study will help the school leaders and teachers to propose procedures to reduce the effect of overcrowding in public primary schools.
The result of the study will help teachers of primary schools to understand the product of over-crowding in classes, and to find out ways of how to teach the class of more number than the required.
The study will provide support for additional research in education and it will be in the best sign of the learners, teachers, and government.

Definition of key terms

  • Academic

Word used to describe things that related to the work done in schools, colleges and universities.

  • Over-crowded

Full accommodation or a space beyond what is usual or comfortable

  • Classroom

A building constructed for organizing students for learning

  • Classroom management

The essential part of the teaching and learning process, the methods, strategies and skills teachers use to maintain classroom environment.

  • Delimitation of the study

This study is performing in Mangaung district at Botshabelo where two primary schools will select a case study. The primary schools participating areNthabiseng Primary School and Pelong primary school who have more over-crowded classrooms.

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

Introduction

Most of South African school’s leading difficult is overcrowded classrooms. This affects the learner’s performance and teachers’ motivation as well. There is a need to look onto how hard it is for both learners and teachers to cooperate and make it through in this tough situation.it is impossible to learn and teach when there are many learners and one teacher in class. The teachers experience every day (Davis, 2013).

Teaching challenges in overcrowded classrooms

Overpopulation in classrooms affect learners as much as it affects teachers, in long run this will affect the department of education as majority of learners’ academic achievements will drop. Teaching in overcrowded classrooms face big challenges of having to create a productive learning environment for learners. De Corby, 2005 states that physical teaching teachers are challenged in engaging in important physical activities and because of overcrowded classrooms this is difficult for them.

Most of the subject such as life orientation and sciences in terms of practical suffer a lot due to the class size, even the laboratory is not available. This is mostly experienced in South African schools. For example, the study of Guardian Africa Network found that some schools in the Eastern Cape have more than 120 packed in one classroom into one classroom and teachers are obliged to present lessons with their backs pressed up against the blackboard (Guardian Africa Network, 2013). During the practical experience I acquired from the Central University of Technology, I noticed that in Free State this problem is huge. Having to teach more than 50 learners for 30 minutes per period is not enough.

Some of the problems are small space and no resources and equipment needed in some subjects. Teachers cannot practice a variety of methods, such as higher-order questioning methods and active learning methods due to lack of space. The science teachers cannot perform the practical, learners do not concentrate, and discipline is not there due to the number. In fact, teachers are effectively limited to the ‘chalk and talk’ instructional method (Opoku-Asare et al., 2014:128).

This also give teachers challenge in terms of how to finish the curriculum, resulting in teachers being guided by the books and work schedule or weekly plan but not teaching for the learners to understand. The teachers give over less time to instruction and give learners lot of notes on the board resulting in learners not even writing those notes because of their number the teacher cannot even tell who participate and who does not. Tasks such as checking presence of learners, and managing their performance take lot of time of content and lessons.

Time teachers give to individual students is affected by class size as well as the social self-motivation among students. The teachers are challenged a lot because as much as they want to help all learners, it is impossible and very sad. Class sizes are a problem in the Free State and even present problems to student teachers in conducting learners centered lesson methods. Large class size gives practicing teachers only one option of teaching style that is convenient that requires learners to be passive recipients of knowledge during lessons. This does not allow for learner teachers to interaction (Mtika, 2010). The quality of learning and teaching for them is lost and this can emotionally drain them, leaving them with doubts of continuing the teaching career.

There is a lot of noise in large classes this being an outcome of an increasing number of learners in the classroom. Noisy classrooms translate to the distraction, making it more difficult for learners to learn and for teachers to teach. No concentration in class and more time wasted trying to make learners keep quit instead of teaching.

There is creation of stress for teachers making it difficult for them to handle the learning needs of learners (Oliver, 2006). This creates a hurt on the bond between the teacher and the learner. Most of the time spent is at school than at home, teachers supposed to know the learners and their ability more than their biological parents do and the lack of bond leads to problems and disruptions in the classroom.

This can create a negative learning environment for the teacher and learner. Behavioral problems, absenteeism and high failure rates are experiences in overcrowded classrooms (Gibbs ; Jenkins, 1992). Gibbs and Jenkins (1992) indicate that dealing with overcrowded classrooms leads to high teacher absenteeism, teacher laziness and teacher stress. The research that is presenting an international perspective has shown that teachers internationally are finding difficulty in managing overcrowded classrooms.

Disciplinary problems in large classes

Overcrowding increases classroom issues of discipline. More learners provide more opportunities provided for personal conflicts, tension and general disruptive behavior. Even the best teacher or the principal cannot control the overcrowded classroom effectively , teachers find themselves spending more time to manage the class that they spend the time to teach. It is easy for learners to misbehave in large classes because teachers cannot keep their eyes on one person the whole time.

Most of troublesome learners comes from overcrowded classerooms, troubles such as bullying, disrespecting and violence. Teachers are involved in failure to maintain classroom management by coming to class with no lesson plan. This learners most of them have problems from outside classroom that make them to misbehave.

According to Mustafa (2014) more number of learners in classroom the more misbehavior increase and classroom management become difficult. Corporal punishment is not legal in South Africa. It is not easy for teachers and principals to discipline the learners and give the penalties. Every doing is according to the laws no matter how long it will take.

The permissions available to the disciplining learners are very few. Beyond talking to learners as their teacher, and short of transferring or expelling them, disciplinarians hold students out of class, contact their parents, or enforce one to five day suspensions. Official responses to misbehavior are, thus, limited in training to either a simple reproof, holding the learner in the office until the next class period, or a suspension, this is still not enough for every minute a learner spend outside is loss of education.

The most easily front runners’ problems for suspension are class troubles, failure to attend classes, disrespect, leaving the school during school time. The other common types of disciplinary problems found mostly in schools as mentioned by Donnelly (2000) are fights, and disbelief of the organization.

McManus (1995) lists several types of misbehaviorsthat make the work of educators difficult. These include; Repeatedly asking to go to the toilet; Missing lessons, absconding; Smoking in the toilets; Pushing past the educator; learners playing with matches in class and making rude remarks to the teacher when the teacher stops them. The noisewhen the learner is supposed to be writing; this happen a lot when learners are writing formal tasks and it distract other learners who are concentrating.

Other misbehavior includes : talking while the teacher is talking, failing to raise hand before talking, Being abusive to the educator; fighting in class; Chasing one another around the classroom; Packing up early, as if to leave while the teacher is busy with the lesson. This thing of taking the educator’s property without the permission is bad because it is associated with stealing. The mentality of wearing private clothes and not the school uniform especially during winter seasons is one of the misbehavior that teachers and principal deal with all the time. Leaving class early; and Commenting of wanting to go home while the teacher is busy is what most of the learners always do and it really irritate the teacher and make other learners to lose focus.

The absence of parents on their children’s school life play a huge part in the discipline of learners, this starts as early as in primary school level. Learners are coming to school with bad attitudes towards life and school. Lot parents are not involved in the education of their children, they do not even check the books, they do not attend parents’ meetings, and these cause poor results, and learners dodging school. Louw and Barnes (2003) clarify that there is no problem child, there are only problem parents, those learners who behave badly at school are not taught respect at home. Rossouw (2003) regards the failure in discipline in most schools as originating from the communities rather than from schools. What causes the parents of learners to be absent in their school life is that, they are single parents at home and having lack of parental dominance over the house.

Children who are walking and playing in croups influence each other in the discipline and misbehavior. These learners increase the problems of discipline negatively

These groups effects on what are the child principles, what he or she knows, and learns. The amount of this influence depends on other situations such as, age and personality of children in the group and the nature of the group its self (Harris, 1998; Hartup, 1983). There are no doubts that the peer pressure and groups affect the aupport the growth problem of youth behavior. According to Seita, Mitchell and Tobin (1996) “When the family and loved ones of the children are absent in their lives, someone will play their part for them and advice the child”.

Methodology

Research methodology

The study is descriptive in nature. It is an attempt to investigate the problems faced by the teachers in overcrowded classes and suggested some measures to settle these problems.

Research design

The research captures the structure of case study. Case study is helping in making the results more vigorous, worth natural setting and context. Teachers are able to elaborate further in where the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions are discovering.
For this study, the case study is to search a specific group of teachers, in two public overcrowded schools in order to explore their experience in overcrowded classrooms.

The research instruments

The study is developing appropriate tools for the collection and analysis of necessary data. Close ended questionnaires that are unstructured for teachers.

The population and sampling

Population

The population of the study included two government schools. Ten teachers of different gender and age are part of the research.

The sample

There are ten participants in the study and two classrooms are going to be part of observation. Five teachers are from Nthabiseng Primary school and five teachers are from Pelong primary school. One classroom each school for observations. Both schools are public schools in Mangaung disctrict, Botshabelo, Free State province

Sampling technique / procedure

Purposive sampling

Only the teachers of two overcrowded schools are participating. Between those two schools, only teachers who have overcrowded classrooms participate so that the research can gain accurateinformation for the experiences in the overcrowded classrooms.

Convenience sampling is used, the teachers who are readily available to contact will participate. The technique participants from Nthabiseng Primary are easily accessible to generate data from the school

Data collection procedures

The research is using the unstructured questionnaire and observation as the methods of data procedure and data generation.

Unstructured Questionnaire

In this study, a questionnaire is a primary data tool for collecting data from the teachers. Open-ended questions for respondents because they impose no restriction and they allow foe any response to questions provided to the respondent. This type of questioner is preferred because the respondent will express themselves freely with no restrictions. The questioner generates personal opinions, beliefs, emotions and experiences

Observations

The observation method helps in taking the live data from the natural occurring social location. The teachers’ observation will take place while they teach one classroom it is important to observe these classrooms so that they could be included in in sample so that the researcher could also have first-hand experience into what happens in overcrowded classrooms of different schools, observing learner-teacher interaction and the attitudes of both learners and teachers.
This is a preferred method as it allows the researcher to gain insight information into teachers’ experiences with overcrowded classrooms.
The secondary data collections are from review of literature, a study of documents and books.

Data Analysis Techniques

For the purpose of this research, there is carefully and thoroughly reading, transcribing, and analysing of data. Thematic analysis will ensure the rich description of the data set.

Ethical Consideration

The principal will receive the written letter asking the permission to use their school for the research. Explaining the purpose of the study and asking the permission to make class observations while teachers work Approval from the Department of Basic Education informing them of the plans to use Nthabiseng primary school and Pelong primary school in this research
All the participants as well as the school involved in the study privacy and secrecy will be with respect.

Limitations of the Study

Most of the sources are old therefore; the present study literature is limited. The sample size that is the number of teachers is also limited, reason being they must be in classes teaching not answering questioners. During data collections under observation method, the teachers do things different from when the researchers are not there.