By: Morin Mawhinney

When it comes to candy, most people would rather have 200 Reece’s Pieces than 12. However, this rule does not apply to everything. When it comes to class sizes, it seems many students would rather a little gathering of classmates instead of an overwhelming, lecture-hall full. By asking several students what their feelings were towards class sizes, The Cadre quickly determined the reasons. Here is what several of the students had to say:

Omair Imtiaz, Biology, says he prefers smaller classes because “you’re able to get to know your peers better and your professor better. You can concentrate more because it almost feels more personal.”

Annie Compton, Nursing, responded with, “you get more intimate and individual focus on learning, as well as more attention to each student’s strengths and weaknesses. In a bigger class, it’s like you get lost in the students…there’s no time and it’s very difficult to ask questions, we always need to move along.”

However, this is not a completely unanimous feeling among students. Bigger classes have a reputation of being more relaxed; the twitchy anxiety that accompanies a professor’s scan being more subdued. With so many people in the seats surrounding you, the fear of being singled out is gone. This view is shared by both Mackenzie Simms, Kinesiology, and Kristin Higgins, Engineering.

Simms simply states, “I enjoy bigger classrooms because I feel awkward being called on. I can’t think of anything to say. I learn equally in both atmospheres, but I feel like it takes more self-control to learn in a big class where it’s easy to go on your phone or talk. That self-control is a good thing.”

Not far behind, Higgins replies, “I like the atmosphere of a big class. People are funny, They shout stuff out, you can talk to your friends and nobody gets mad.”

Still, some of the students don’t want to pick one side or another just yet. Higgins admits that although she’s in Engineering which is filled with massive classes, “I would like to try small sizes, I think I would learn well in a smaller class.”

Compton adds on that bigger class sizes are often more “electric,” as she references that feeling when “200 people are taking an exam in silence.” She ends with a resolution, though, “I do prefer smaller class atmospheres, it’s more intimate. It can feel like a family.”

What is your perspective on classes? Are you comfortable being part of the crowd, or would you rather a more individual approach? As always, your responses can be sent to mmawhinney@upei.ca.
photo credit: University of Prince Edward Island