When I say, “easier”, I am talking in terms of speaking to them and keeping them safe, controlled, attentive, and participatory. I just finished speaking to 1,000 kids tonight (and will do so all week). And here’s why I would take this number any day over a room of 8 kids. Granted, there are plenty of ways to successfully handle a room of 8 kids (and people do it all the time).
My hope is simply that this will encourage you not to be afraid of large groups of kids…..
- Eight kids in a room all want to participate (naturally). But their group size often means they don’t know the right boundaries of participation. They interrupt you, they talk out of turn, and they try to take control of the adult or adults. A thousand kids, on the other hand, have a natural boundary set up where they know that they need to behave in order to see what’s going on for all 1,000 of them. If one tries to interrupt, it is very difficult for them to interfere with the order of things because they are lost in the sea of people and activity. So they simply pay attention.
- More kids usually means more adults, which creates more hotspots of authority around the room.
- In large crowds, “the way of the crowd” will prevail, meaning if the leader can set a tone where most of the kids will enjoy the activity, then the rest will fall in line. This can be hard with 8 kids, especially if even just 3 of the 8 are out of control.
Of course, it helps when you have lights, a PA system, and lots of chairs facing the same direction, so my theory certainly breaks down in some contexts. But most of the time, there’s no need to fear the crowd of kids. Just pretend there are 8 of them 🙂