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Small Class, Big Learning: Why Small Art Classes Work

One key reason an education at Broadview Education Arts University is so effective is that class sizes are kept small. Instead of taking courses with countless other students and ending up being a nameless face in the crowd, BEAU students are able to thrive in a learning environment where they are able to receive personalized instruction. Whether or not you have had the experience of small class size in your previous education, you will certainly see the immense benefits of the practice when you enroll. Here is an overview of some of the benefits you can expect from being a part of a small learning community as you become a degree holder in your art program of choice.

Perhaps the most well known benefit of small class size is the ability of professors to provide individual instruction. They are able to truly interact with each student to provide targeted instruction. You are able to reach your professors with problems and concerns, and you are a priority for them. You also get the benefit of one-on-one problem solving. Regardless is your problem is with something you are struggling with in the curriculum or just from being a new college student, professors have the time to assist you. For example, in some large universities, students must schedule appointments with their professors days or sometimes even weeks in advance in order to have a one-on-one conversation. Emails go unnoticed, and students are often left without a response or a boilerplate response from a teaching assistant. Here at BEAU, most professors are available for questions on an on-going basis, and it is a rare occasion when it will take professors longer than 24 hours to respond to any issue you may be having.

A similar benefit of small class size is that due to the increased number of one-on-one interactions between you and your professor, you are able to form a true bond. Your professor knows you as an individual, and through your relationship, he or she is able to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Instead of treating you like everyone else, your professor will know a great deal about your skills and will be able to target areas where you are weak and need additional development. The reverse is also true, and your professor will notice areas in which you excel and will be able to push you even further in these areas. Your ability to grow as an artist with this type of personalized instruction is limitless. Your professors will also be able to Further, you will have a social relationship with your professor. In large universities, some students never even see their professor outside of the classroom or exchange even a single word with them. When it comes time for letters of recommendation or references for your career search, you will have relationships with your professors that will provide you with a great asset. A personalized recommendation goes much further with a potential employer than a generic recommendation copied and pasted year after year.

With a small class, a professor is also able to model techniques and take questions in real time. In large classes professors are more hesitant to model certain techniques live because there is no possible way to address the number of student questions that may result. Along with the modeling process, professors have more time to guide students through their own experimentation with certain artistic techniques. Because of their increased knowledge about the students in their classes, and the one-on-one time they are able to spend with each student, professors can help students to learn how to tackle big projects. Often, the most successful artists have a natural ability to manage their time and an ability to understand the most effective ways to divide large projects into smaller pieces. Professors in small classes can help their students polish and perfect this skill. Once you are employed as an artist, the ability to manage large projects will be essential. Clients expect nothing less. Professors will also be able to assist you with specific parts of an artistic process that you may be struggling with. Even if you need to have some repeated several times before it clicks, your professor will be there to assist you.

As far as your interactions with your fellow students, small classes also offer you the opportunity to form strong bonds with the others in your classes. Instead of being another face in a room of many, you are an individual in a small learning group. This environment fosters intimacy between the class participants, and often results in the formation of friendships that would otherwise not be initiated. Further, as the class culture develops, you and your classmates are able to become unified in thinking and classroom norms are quickly established. This allows you to feel more comfortable in your learning environment. Where you are comfortable, you naturally have more confidence. You are willing to experiment, and your fear of failure is extremely lowered. When you know that your fellow students will be there to assist you in your journey and laugh with you through you mistakes, you are more likely to create exceptional work products and more likely to feel comfortable learning. This collaborative spirit will serve you well in your career. Team projects are the norm at most organizations, and when you have experience working with groups of individuals that are different from yourself, you are an asset to the company.

Finally, the smaller class size will lessen disruptions. The environment will be smaller and more targeted on the instruction occurring at any given moment. In large classrooms, the collective noise of shuffling feet, scribbling pens, and keyboard pounding can be immensely distracting. Similarly, in large online classes, conversations are quick to veer into irrelevant territory. With smaller classes, you can maintain your focus on the material and not be thrown off course by your surroundings.

With all of these benefits, it is hard to understand why some universities throw hundreds of students into classes together. However, sometimes it is necessary due to overwhelming enrollment numbers. At BEAU, your presence here is important. We want you to form bonds and relationships, to learn as effectively as possible, and to succeed.