Classrooms today need new thought
I appreciate the amount of attention that student teacher ratios are receiving in the media. When such a diverse group of people is compelled to speak on this topic (such as protesters, Molly Doyle’s letter etc.), I always listen. Canadian Parents for French P.E.I. is also interested in this subject.
I decided to get a bit more educated on the subject. According to members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average student– teacher ratio is recorded at just below 16:1, but ranges from 28:1 in Mexico to 11:1 in Hungary and Luxembourg. Such figures often represent averages and are likely affected by skewing. For example, if one classroom has a 30:1 ratio and another has a 10:1 ratio, the school could thus claim to have an overall ratio of 20:1 ratio. A school could be in compliance with the minister’s directive but not with the intention of the directive.
An additional factor is the diversity among and between students; such as the varying degrees of learning abilities in the classroom. A teacher may have to spend various amounts of time with individual learners in the classroom. This could be quite difficult for a teacher with a teacher with the same ratio as his/her colleague, but with a greater number of students with varying educational needs and requirements.
So although P.E.I. reports average student-teacher, don’t you think it is time to take another look at how we calculate studentteacher ratios? I believe we can look at declining enrollment as an opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great to be the first province to throw out the old-school way of thinking on this subject and jump into the reality of today’s classrooms - they have changed. Gail Lecky, CPF P.E.I.