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Teacher's union says smaller class sizes are better

This as the province moves ahead with consultations on class sizes
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With the Ford government moving ahead with consultations on elementary school class sizes, local teachers unions are concerned over those classes potentially getting larger.

Jeff Pilich is the Vice President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario in Waterloo Region. He says their members often ask for smaller class sizes in their contract negotiations, before higher salaries and before benefits.

"We're frustrated because we have seen the benefits of smaller class sizes,"

Pilich says larger class sizes would mean teachers won't be able to give the individual attention many students at that age needs.

"Learning has changed over the last twenty years, and with that comes smaller class sizes because it's more teaching on an individual basis, teaching in small groups, teaching with project base learning and inquiry based learning and all of these things require less students."

According to Pilich, there are better ways to cut costs without it being at the cost of a child's education. He says teachers will let the Ford government know through the consultation and offer alternatives.

Patrick Etmanski is the president of Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association in Waterloo.

He says when it comes to class size they're really talking about the learning conditions for children.

"As soon as we start putting more children in those classrooms that becomes harder to do ... add in behavioural issues, English language learners, other disabilities and exceptionalities that kids have and bring to the class, mental health issues. Teachers work really hard to meet the needs of the kids and when there are more kids it'll be harder to meet those needs, absolutely." Etmanski explained.

He added the one on one part of teaching is really important.

"As soon you start putting more people in that mix, then you're going to have to spread that one on one time thinner."

Currently, the cap on kindergarden classes is 29, while elementary school classes are capped at 23 students.

Meantime, Ontario's education minister says no decisions have yet been made as the government considers removing class size caps in kindergarten and primary grades.

Lisa Thompson says in a tweet that she looks forward to the education sector sharing their perspectives to ensure tax dollars have the greatest impact in the classroom.

with files from The Canadian Press


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