5 Ideas for Large Classes

The trickiest part about managing a large class is getting everyone on the same page and keeping them there. (Anybody have a megaphone?) Attention gets diverted easily and extraneous chatter spreads like wildfire. Here are five ideas to make your oversized class possible and maybe even productive:

1. Give troublemakers a task
If you have a class troublemaker, empower them with a specific task. This could be setting the tempo (clapping out a beat), organizing accessories or “driving” a computer to access examples for a lesson.

2. Have a “come back” cue
It could be a different instrument like a flute or trumpet or just the same chord progression on your guitar. Having a cue that you can play anytime the class gets away from you will condition both you and your class.
Visit the Teaching Channel (Substitute the countdown with something musical – sol, fa, mi, re, do — of course!)

3. Prioritize digital

6300224891_95be7ac1d7_z With a set amount of class time and so many students, it’s next to impossible to learn everyone’s name, let alone their individual strengths and struggles. When you prioritize digital research, assignments and interaction, you have a living record and a place where students can feel valued outside the four walls of the classroom.

4. Get Groupie
Divide your class, whenever possible, into groups for activities. This could be playing a song in parts or competing as teams on a quiz, game show-style. Working collaboratively will keep your class active and agile.

5. Accept that even a chaotic class can learn
Just because a class is quiet and “well behaved” doesn’t mean that they are learning. Often students are more used to the chaos than the teacher, and they have developed a system for working through distractions. The real test is in the playback – have your students absorbed the material you’ve taught them? If they have, then you owe yourself a pat on the back.