4 Benefits of Collaborative, Small Group Learning

a group of students sit in big chairs while talking about collaborative learning

Have you heard that studying in small groups is the way to go when learning a new language? Well, if you haven’t, we’re telling you that is is.

For the past several years, there is a theme of overcrowding in schools. For many classrooms, there are 30-40 students crammed into a room. Then when those students head to university, they're one of the many hundred in the lecture hall.

This type of learning isn’t the most beneficial for many people. Instead of being merely a number, learning in small groups allows students to be an actual pupil.

We’ve taken that approach at Keats School in Kunming, China. We offer intensive one-on-one programs for students who wish to work with a teacher privately and offer small group learning. Our small group has no more than 15 students in one room with one teacher.

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This allows the teacher to get to know each student and their study needs. Our small group class is two hours long from Monday to Friday for 16 weeks.

If you're not convinced yet that small group learning is the future, here are four benefits of small classes.

1. Flexible learning

a group of students sitting at a table talking about small group learning

One advantage of learning in a small group is that it can offer a more flexible learning curriculum. When the teacher has the ability to get to know each of their students personally, study patterns are formed.

The teacher will be able to develop and teach in a way that will work for each of their students. In addition to that, if one student doesn’t understand or is struggling with a concept, it will be easier to monitor and help that student. Not only can the teacher help, but another student in the class might be able to offer help too.

2. Inspires confidence

A woman who looks confident talking in front of group

We all know that inside classrooms low self-confidence can form. It can be intimidating to raise your hand in class to ask a question or have the teacher repeat the phrase. You may think that your question is stupid and the idea of speaking up is daunting. If you think that way, your confidence in class will lower.

It’s easier to be brave in a smaller setting, trust us. In smaller groups, an informal atmosphere can be formed, which makes students feel comfortable in joining conversations. Not only that but students tend to encourage each other when it’s a smaller, more intimate setting.

3. Feedback is always available

A teacher sits down with student during a collaborative learning course

If you’re in a large lecture hall with 100+ other students, getting feedback may be an issue. We all want feedback, especially when learning a new language. In a small group setting, feedback on work can go beyond an A+ or a red X. Teachers have the ability and the resources to spend extra time on learning materials and feedback.

You're also more likely to receive instant feedback on pronunciation and class work in a smaller setting.

4. Build team working skills

A group of people sit together learning Mandarin in Kunming China

The more intimate environment of a small learning group, the more team building skills. While students may sink into the background or get distracted in a large group, small, tight-knit group learning results in the opposite.

People have the ability and desire to work with each other and work towards the same problem or project. Collaboration and discussions are great when learning a new language.

Teachers are also much more likely to be able to deviate from a rigid plan and allow students to work at their own pace and develop group learning strategies.

Keats offers this and more

At Keats School in Kunming, China we believe small classes are the way of the future. Every year hundreds of students fly to Kunming to study Mandarin at our school. We specialize in small classrooms full of educated and professional teachers.

To learn more about our small group classes, contact us today.

Topics: Insider, Mandarin Language

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