Flexible Grouping in Education

Teachers have over time faced the challenge of applying the appropriate teaching techniques to improve students’ grades in mathematics and other science-related subjects. A preparation mainly to equip a student before the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, which is sat annually is mainly not an easier task. The most common and preferred method in such a case has been said to be flexible grouping which entails either placing students in a teacher guide group or letting the students lead themselves. The efficiency of the said method results in yielding. In a teacher-based grouping, the teacher concentrates on the ability of the students while in the student-based groupings the students will best group themselves according to their coordination (Teno, 2000).

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It is of grave importance to note that, the main stumbling block in flexible groupings is the lack of ability to make efficient groups. Teachers have to be guided by various factors to identify where exactly to place a student. Teachers have to first understand the nature of students before he/she assigns them to any group. Stratifications in classrooms based on gender, cultural background, and ability of a student are the main elements by which every teacher who desires to use the flexible grouping must master (Weaver, 2006). Students from different backgrounds will have different learning skills. Sometimes the English language is secondary; hence they ought to be placed in the appropriate groups for better performance. In an event whereby the teacher uses the differentiated instructional strategy, the students should be carefully placed in a group in line with their ability and skills. The main advantage of differentiated instruction through flexible grouping is that student learning is greatly promoted through collaboration; thus building self-confidence. In such a mode of groupings, uniform instructions are given while the teacher takes a close monitoring role (Weaver, 2006).

Flexible grouping contributes to the student’s development of self-confidence which is a greater tool in learning. In addition, students with high learning abilities are given room to tackle assignments of their level while at the same teaching the students to coordinate with classmates. Flexible grouping is advantageous in the sense that it is not discriminative since students with low abilities and special needs are considered just like the gifted ones. Further, students with learning difficulties and language problems are catered to. The method also propels an environment of diversity whereby students improve their social skills despite their different backgrounds (Teno, 2000).

It is of paramount importance to point out that teachers using this strategy always get an opportunity to study the student’s interests s hence offering a clear insight on the nature of questions and instructions to give students. It has been established that students understanding skills are greatly triggered by relating class assignments to what students like (Teno, 2000). The teacher creates a friendly environment by making sure that students are in the same groups as comrades, hence counteracting stereotypes by students. A friendly environment is a key element in enhancing better results. When such groups are developed it is easier to facilitate group work even in the absence of the teacher. The technique promotes a student-to-teacher relationship which is very helpful in ascertaining the problems of the learner while at the same time discovering the students with special needs. It is only through flexible grouping that students will be placed in a group they fit in hence stimulating healthy competition towards achieving the desired goals (Weaver, 2006).

References

Teno, K. (2000). Cluster Grouping Elementary Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom. Gifted Child Today, 23(1): 44-51.

Weaver, M. (2006). Exploring Conceptions of Learning and Teaching through the Creation of Flexible Learning Spaces: The Learning Gateway-A Case Study. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 12(2): 108-125.

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