Introduction to Ability Grouping
Ability grouping is one of the types of homogenous grouping, where students of similar ability levels are grouped together. Instructors use this method due to various reasons, and when the method is applied appropriately, ability grouping can assist the students in learning their lesson effectively in the classroom. In contrast, when the methodology is applied inappropriately, it can cause more harm than any good. The article will help you to learn about some of the pros and cons interlinked with the ability grouping.
Positive Aspects of Ability Grouping
Students Are Not Forced To Rush
When the students of the same ability are placed together, they are generally able to work at about the same pace. This helps the students to comprehend the idea that is taught by the teacher and they can freely move on to a more progressive phase. Besides, the ones that require extra supervision can slow down and get additional assistance. No one has to wait on someone else to grip a concept that is already understood and no one is enforced to move on before they are ready.
More Intensity to work with those who need help
Dividing the class into ability groups can help you to have groups that completely comprehend the topic and are ready to move forward for something new. Additionally, the teacher will have a group that understands the majority of the idea but need some additional practice, and then there will be a group that requires extra instruction and guidelines prior beginning. As they are organized according to their abilities, capacities and working together, the instructor can avail this opportunity to sit with those that requires additional instructions and provide it for them. The other students can work on their assignments meanwhile, so they remain busy working on the material that has been tailored to fit their needs. The methodology frees you up to spend some time with those who genuinely need it.
Students can move on their own
The students that explicitly comprehend a notion have much time to move forward and progress at a faster pace and possibly move on to a more complex subject. This practice helps them to build self-esteem and lessen dullness in the classroom environment.
Negative Aspects of Ability Grouping
Students May Get Stuck In a Group
Not every student is perfect at everything and no student is bad at everything. Usually, when the ability group is organized, it is easy to tag students and place them in the same low, middle, or high group time after time. The idea can lead to labelling, such as “nerdy group” or the “dumb group” which a teacher usually tends to avoid at all costs. Eventually, the role of the instructor or the teacher is to make you feel confident of yourself. The practice of ability grouping can lead to the destruction of the self-esteem of the student.
One of the convenient methods to avoid such cases is to use a data notebook that can help a teacher to track students’ progress. This can help to avoid unintentional placing of students in the same groups time after time. Properly following the data can help place the students in a group according to their ability. In some educational centres, students are consistently being placed in the same group intentionally that eventually makes school hard enough for the students of young ages. The practice also leads to a situation where such students are bullied or teased by their classmates.
Additional Work for The Teacher
Ability grouping can lead to additional work for the instructor. Ability grouping should not be practised on a daily or weekly basis. Instead, it is important to figure out the concepts where the students seem to have the most differing abilities and then and their only ability grouping should be used keeping in view those areas. Ability grouping can be very advantageous, only if it is done considerately and with a proper strategy in mind. Ability grouping should be considered as a simple tool in your toolbox. It needs to be pulled out when needed and only when it will work for both the teacher and the student.
Classroom Management Strategies
To have a successful grouping, the entire class needs to be well behaved and on-task. Grouping becomes ineffective if students consider this phase as a time to spend chatting with their friends. The management situation of a classroom can worsen rapidly if effective measures are not taken in advance to determine that students know what is expected from them behaviorally. Below are discussed some of the classroom management strategies that assist to prepare the students for group work.
- Proactive: Before initiating any group work, students should be well awarded of exactly what sort of behaviour is expected from them in class. They should be informed of how loudly they should speak, whether or not they are permitted to leave their seats, signs that will indicate the end of the activity and anything else that is required to tell them related to the group activity.
- Practice: After students know what is expected from them, move towards practice. Organize groups, and allow them to speak with each other in the tones of voices you expect. The activity is based on the learning of how they should participate in groups and this is their assignment. Therefore, avoid making corrections on verbs. The activity should be repeated every week or twice a week so that the student gets familiar with the procedure and the message that was intended to deliver to them.
- Establish Consequences: Before entering into a group activity, it is important to ensure that each and every student is aware of the consequences for not following directions. The consequence for not following the directions should be something that is directly related to the group work. For example, the one who does not behave properly during class will have to complete the entire project on his own.
- Behavior Contracts: It is good to consider having students read and sign the behaviour contracts before initiating the group work. The practice would refrain the students from doing something unethical or against the morals throughout the group activity time.