Small Ratio v. Large Ratio Classrooms

Small Ratio v. Large Ratio Classrooms

At OLS, all of our ESL classrooms have four to eight students per classroom. We call them small ratio classrooms because it is a smaller number of students to one teacher. There are many benefits to a smaller ratio classroom from more speaking and listening practice to a closer familiarity between our teachers and students. We stand out in the ESL school system because we are more interested in making sure our students get an overall experience of English learning rather than only reading and writing. 

In a small ratio classroom, students get much more speaking and listening practice. If students are in a large classroom setting, with more than twenty students, the teacher is usually talking the entire time while the student is either listening or taking notes. This practice is not a great method for language learners because it does not encourage the student to practice what they learned when they learned it. However, at OLS, we have a small ratio classroom, with eight students at the most. In a small ratio classroom, the teacher is more of a moderator rather than a lecturer. This means that the teacher presents the topic and provides students with a comfortable environment where they are expected to speak on that topic. Often in an OLS classroom, the students are talking much more than the teachers. This practice is also a great method for listening because instead of only listening to one voice speaking English, they are getting used to a variety of accents using English through their peers. Listening to different accents is great for conversation practice outside of the classroom. 

Smaller ratio classrooms also encourage a comfortable environment in the classroom as well as a helpful relationship between student and teacher. Since the classroom size at OLS is smaller, the student is free to ask questions whenever they don’t understand something or to speak freely on a topic the class is discussing. In a large classroom setting, the teacher is constantly talking and the students have to raise their hands to present a question or comment. This can be very uncomfortable for the student and in most cases they are too embarrassed to ask if they don’t understand something. At OLS, we don’t have students raise their hands; instead, they are allowed to speak freely at any time. Not only is this beneficial for the student, it also makes the student much more comfortable to speak. If they are more comfortable, they will ask more questions and comment more often in class. This creates an amazing environment for the student to learn as much as they possibly can without worry of embarrassment. 

Small ratio classrooms also encourage OLS teachers to get much more creative in their lesson planning as well. In a large ratio classroom, the teacher has to stick to one overall lesson plan that some students may already know or other students don’t understand. The teacher usually has no time to make sure that every single student knows all the concepts they learn because of the large class size. However, in a small ratio classroom, the teacher can go over lessons the students already understand quickly and focus on things that the students are struggling in. The small ratio classroom also encourages personalized lessons according to what the students are struggling in or asking for.  

At Optimus Language School, we only want the best experience for our students and we have found that smaller classroom ratios are the best way to learn English. Through small class sizes, the students get a much more personalized and comfortable experience than a large class size.  


Published on February 17, 2018

A leading English language school accredited by the CEA (Commission on English Language Accreditation) and approved by SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) located in Los Angeles, California. Learn English in LA with our ESL classes, TOEFL preparation, and English speaking classes. Are you serious about improving your English? Join a class today!