I get the research; I have gone to Kagan. Put kids into groups because that’s how they learn.
In my early years, that’s what I did and then experienced the frustration of every teacher of why the groups did not work.
Oh, I assigned the roles: leader, timekeeper, scribe, and so forth. It didn’t work.
They socialized and blew off the work … or one kid did the work and everyone else copied.
Not much learning going on.
I get the research: homogenize groups and focus on the strugglers or blend the groups and let the advanced kids move the strugglers up.
Pbbbt. It didn’t work.
Maybe because kids have different learning styles and in a room of 25, there are too few to blend them right in any way.
In the last few years, I haven’t bothered. I have allowed kids to sit where they want and to form groups if they want. I encourage it, but I don’t enforce it.
The introverted kids who hate being put in a group and will shut down–they are much happier and work at their learning.
The extroverted kids who can choose who to associate with … actually focus on the work, talk about it, and come up with solutions. They are not off task.
(Of course, there is always the cell phone to deal with, but that’s another post.)
Point being, now that I allow students to make the choice, I get better results than when I acted as the Supreme Being who will force everyone to learn as I dictate.
Something to think about.