Group size in the reading classroom

Page No.: 
Rachael Ruegg, Kanda University of International Studies



In English language teaching, there is a tendency to promote four as the ideal group size. Outside of the field of English language teaching no particular group size seems to be favoured. Although the primary purpose of small groups in the classroom is pedagogical, there are also social aspects which must be taken into account. As educators, we need to find a balance between making learners feel comfortable in order to increase their confidence and maximizing language acquisition, which may entail pushing learners beyond their comfort zone. The present study examines group size within the context of an English language reading programme. The learners completed reading comprehension activities in groups ranging from two to six members. Scores on the reading comprehension activities were collected. The learners also completed questionnaires about their preferences regarding group size. The results from the questionnaire were compared with the reading comprehension scores.