How many students in your class?

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts - General' started by spidersam, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. spidersam

    spidersam Yellow Belt

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    What’s a good teacher to student ratio in your martial arts class? I feel like 15 is a lot, but I’ve seen videos with a hundred + students. How many on average are in your class on a weeknight?
     
  2. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Depends on the night, and as stupid as it sounds, the season.

    We’re a pretty small club. Weeknights we’ll average 6-10. Saturday morning is typically 10-12. While it’s not the norm, it’s not so unheard of to have 2 or 3 people in a class. Especially during the summer.

    Kids’ classes have about double the adult classes.

    I like the smaller class size. There’s far more focus on individuals and it’s easier to tailor the class to who’s there. But with the right teacher, bigger classes can be just as effective. I took a class under our founder. There were about 30 students there, from white belt all the way to 6th dan. Nakamura didn’t miss a beat. Everyone got the attention they deserved, and he differentiated (teacher word there) instruction appropriately. The higher ranks didn’t do everything to the top of their rank curriculum, but nobody else did either, except maybe the white belts. That was a general/all ranks adults class, so that’s expected. Nakamura has rank specific classes as well.

    I’ve been in classes where there were a couple dozen students and more, and I’ve been in classes alone or with a few students. If the teacher knows what he’s doing, there’s no real issue. If he doesn’t know what he’s doing, it doesn’t matter how many people are or aren’t there.

    Edit: some teachers are great wya really small group and horrible with large groups. Others are great wya large group and horrible with a small group. Good teachers are good with both. If you’re teaching a class with 3 people the same exact way as you’d teach 300 people (and the other way around), you’re probably not very good. It takes a bit of experience with different groups and sized groups to be able to determine what really works for you and what doesn’t when you’ve got different group abilities and sizes.
     
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  3. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Grandmaster

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    We have a lot of classes on the schedule, which may be why we have so much variation in how many students show up for any given class. I’d say the average is 4-10 students per class but it can run as low as 1-2 and as high as 15-20.
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I've had classes with 1-2 students, and I've had classes with 30. I think smaller classes allow more intensive training, obviously. I think the huge classes are fine for conditioning, but there's no way a single instructor can make corrections in a group that size.
     
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  5. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    My assumption with those hundred plus classes has always been that there are multiple instructors(or senior students)...that must be the case. I can't see how it would be effective otherwise. Even with 20 students, I think you need a couple people who know the material helping the newer students.
     
  6. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Yellow Belt

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    Adult classes at our school: very small/nonexistant
    Kids classes at our karate school: Average about 5-10 (not bad, ive taught kids classes with up to 20 - its tough)
    Private adult classes at my house: 1-2
    Self-defense classes i teach at a local university: vast range of about 1-22 on any given classes (depends on their academic classes and tests. Its nice to give personalized attention to a student as well as a large group for certain drills and camaraderie encouragement)
    Self-defense seminars: average about 15
     
  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran 3rd Black Belt

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    We vary by the class age range and time of year. Kids/first class averages 15 to as high as 40. The latter is tough. Adult/second class is usually 10-25 but we allow family groups so it can actually be tougher to cover everyone well even with the smaller size. We usually break up into small groups for specific elements when we can.
    Larger size classes are easier if everyone is at or near the same rank. Corrections can be made globally and everyone should get them. The big exception is at the lower ranks where verbal correction doesn't work very well.
     
  8. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Our classes average 15-20. There are times we have 5-6 and times we have closer to 30.
    In the beginner classes we always have multiple instructors or higher level students to help out.
    In the intermediate classes there are usually higher level students and we have students rotate to new partners every 3 the 5 minutes. In the higher level classes... well there are all higher level students helping each other out.
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    A good ratio really depends on a lot of factors. I'll start by listing a few:
    • The teacher's experience
    • The students' level (beginners need more watching, advanced folks can help watch)
    • The approach to the material (if folks are just rolling or light/technical sparring, most don't need as much watching)
    • New or review (new usually needs more instructor intervention)
    • How unified is the activity (a bunch of people simultaneously doing kata is fine with one instructor, not so much with a bunch of people throwing each other)
    • Intensity (this can go a lot of different ways)

    For me, with my experience and my usual approach, 4 (2 pairs) is too few (I tend to meddle too much) and 30 (15 pairs) would be too many without an assistant - I won't have time to get to each pair to work on things. I tend to really like groups of about 15. With some reasonably senior participants, I'm totally comfortable as the only instructor in a room of up to 20.

    Those numbers can all go up if I put folks on a more regimented drill - everyone doing basically the same thing. This allows me to correct and adjust the class as a whole on some things. It also makes it easier to spot something that's off, since I'm looking for the same cues in each group. The more different the assignments, the more the numbers go down.
     
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  10. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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