It is quite common for children in early grades to be divided into homogenous groups. While this does have its pros, in most cases, the result is that a single classroom has all the gifted kids, while the potential of other classrooms is quite limited.
The opposite of this approach is a heterogeneous placement that does even distribution in terms that children of different abilities are placed in various classrooms (all of the same age/grade), making for a more exciting and long-term productive environment. Much like with any other approach, there are both positives and negatives to this one.
Are Heterogeneous Groups Adequate For Everybody?
One of the most common issues related to heterogeneous groups is disabled students or those with autism. In most cases, they aren’t able to learn at the same pace as other children, which affects both their potential to develop and hinders the progress of the whole group.
For this reason, more educational institutions focus on placing ADHD, autistic, or emotionally disturbed children into a homogeneous classroom as it stands as the best solution for all parties involved.
The Positives Of Heterogeneous Grouping
According to numerous studies and empirical data, there is more than a single advantage of heterogeneous grouping. Firstly, the children who are thought to be exceptionally talented can still go to the same classes as their peers, making it much more pleasant for them, mostly because they aren’t likely to be a target for bullies.
Also, kids who are usually deemed to have learning disabilities can have more confidence and try harder if they aren’t placed in homogeneous classrooms. They are put in an environment that requires more focus and a faster pace, eliminating the existing stigma.
The Negatives of Heterogeneous Grouping
While there are several advantages to heterogeneous grouping, a lot of them being productivity or socially related, it is a fact that the exceptionally gifted kids may be quite bored learning in such a setting.
This is because they will likely be a minority, and the pace would still be adapted more towards those students with the average ability. This can result in the gifted gifts feeling the need to act as second teachers.
On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be that bad given that Vygotsky’s theory of proximal development or scaffolding can be effectively applied between peers and, in some cases, is thought to be even more resourceful.
We aren’t the ones who should come up with a final verdict – in our opinion, both approaches have pros/cons, and the decision should be left to educators and the parents.