Comfortable teaching class size

Hi all,

Quick question…

What is the most number of people that you are comfortable teaching
in a six hour workshop for beginners?


Karen, First I would say that a beginning class of 6 hours is a bit
too much, especially if it is done regularly. I have been teaching
for 11 years doing four - three hour classes a week (2 on Monday and
2 on Tues) and even that is quite exhausting. I can take up to 10
students in each class. One class is only for advanced students who
must have completed at least 2 beginning classes and the other three
are beginning through intermediate. I am very active during these
classes, circulating around looking over shoulders, solving
problems, discussing methods and techniques or giving demonstrations.
At the same time, I keep mental tabs on what each student is doing
and how long they have been doing it. If one seems to be having
problems or a process is taking too long, I question them as to what
they are doing and why and get them back on track.

That is for regular classes. Workshops can run 4-5 hours but I do
not do them regularly. I still limit them to 10 students.

Maybe a bit too detailed but I hope this info is helpful. For
further go to
and click on The Art School.

from Don in SOFL

Hi there,

I run a small school and have found that six is the max. Five is
better but after six chaos descends very quickly. But if you are
teaching everyone the same techniques I suppose you could do more. My
students are all at different levels so I have to attend

Good luck

Depends on the instructor… I have done from 8 to 20 and have found
it is in the class makeup… lower the number the more attention the
students get. 6 is a good number to attend to.

The first silver experience I had was a 1 day class offered by a bead
store, with a fantastic metalsmith teaching.

There were 8-10 folks, the class was for 5 hours but many people
stayed to finish another hour. We made a simple link bracelet-
wrapped wire around the mandrel of our design choice, sawed or
snipped each link, filed, and soldered, along with a simple soldered
hook clasp. simple tumble to finish. It was a perfect beginner
class, a project that gave the student choices in how they wanted
their bracelet to look, and was easily completable by the end. Most
of the students pop out for a bite at lunch at some point as well.

The next level class that was offered was a bezel set ring class -
same length and set up.

Amy C. Sanders - raine studios

Having attended and / or taught several classes I have found that
hands on classes need to be limited to 10 to 12 people per instr. If
you have additional asst. instr. then a max of 5 additional people
per asst. If things get much larger you lose people that are slower
or faster than the rest of the group while they are wait for help or
further instruction.

John (Jack) Sexton The most precious things in life cannot be built
by hand or bought by man.

Having attended and / or taught several classes I have found that
hands on classes need to be limited to 10 to 12 people per instr. 

I have taught innumerable classes, both ongoing and one-time ones
lasting from 3 hours to 3 days. I feel that the maximum number of
students depends VERY much on the subject/skill/project being taught,
the skill level and diversity of the students, and the equipment
available. There is no way to give a one-size-fits-all answer.

In a project class, where everyone is doing the same thing at the
same time, and there is no soldering, and everyone has the necessary
tools, I can shepherd 15 or more students successfully (as I will in
Santa Fe at BeadFest this week). I have had very successful classes
of this sort with as many as 21.

If there is soldering and the students are inexperienced, I stay by
each person’s side as they solder every seam, so I usually limit
those classes to 10 or so, though I have had as many as 15 and it was
still OK. They all learn a lot from watching each other learn. On the
other hand, these are classes of 3 to 6 hours to learn to make
something I can do in 10 minutes.

In an advanced weekly class where each student is working on
projects of their own choosing and needs/wants individualized help,
it can be exhausting to have even 6.

It just depends.


Corporate technical classes are usually for 8 hour, 1 morning breaks,
1 afternoon break of 15 minutes, 1 hr for lunch… ‘lecture with
questions’ format… nice size is no more than with a limit of 20
students… 15 is a very good number.


When I teach Gem Stone Setting at my community college in Toronto,
the most desirable class size is kept to about 6 students at a time.
Between running around the bench’s aiding my students is a formidable
task in itself. Anymore than 8-10 folks is too difficult to aid and
many times people might get lost in the “one-to-one” training I
always give.

Between bench-demo and explaining on the blackboard, many times
doing multiple 8-10 training is too strenuous for any personalized
class assisting! Many times our 3/4 hour lunches are always a casual
teaching session.

When I give private classes, I prefer no more than 3 students at any
3-5 day session…

Gerry !

I have to agree with Noel on this that there is no single number
that is perfect. But, what no one is looking at is where does the
instructor or the craft school stop just breaking even and start
making a sustainable living at teaching.

When I taught at the University of Washington, we had spaces (actual
bench space with individual torch) for 17 students and we were under
constant harassment by the administration to get our numbers up. Also,
I taught at the Art Institute of Seattle - a private college, I
would teach 22 to 25 students each quarter. So, for me it was more a
matter of classroom management than one-on-one instruction.

As part of my studies for a masters in Education I have crunched the
numbers and found that with any less than 12 students per class the
school or the instructor are not making enough money to sustain
their business. Of course this could explain why some small craft
schools are charging such high tuition.

Nanz Aalund