n Journal of Educational Studies - Demystifying large classes teaching in a university : lessons for basic education teachers

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



Can teaching large classes in a teacher-education university programme offer lessons for large classroom teaching in rural schools? In this paper we highlight successful student-centred practices in teaching large undergraduate classes, predominantly from rural areas, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. We do this as we hope to contribute to the debate on the improvement of teaching and learning in rural schools, for the purpose of addressing under-achievement in rural schools. Cognisant of the great resource disparities and differences that exist between universities and rural schools, we maintain that universities have much to offer on the management of large classrooms and creative methodologies, particularly given the imperatives for access that drive the provisioning of post-apartheid higher education. Using narrative research practices and principles, we draw from our own subjective experiences as three academics with a collective experience of more than 15 years in teaching and coordinating large core education modules in pre-service teacher education. In the main, we show how successful teaching of large classes should be understood as a process that unfolds at three interdependent stages namely: preteaching, teaching and post-teaching. We then conclude by presenting practical suggestions on what rural teachers can do to enhance their classroom teaching practices and thus improve l learner performance.

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