Grouping in the classroom can be a daunting task for some teachers. They may not be comfortable with classifying their students or managing the time during group activities. Creating groups in the classroom is not an easy task, it takes time, planning and effort to create effective groups. Before a teacher starts planning the groups they have to understand the two types of groups that can be used in the classroom; Heterogeneous and Homogeneous grouping.

You are watching: Advantages and disadvantages of homogeneous and heterogeneous groups

Check out my video on the difference between the two groups!

What grouping should you use?

Now that you understand the difference between heterogeneous and homogeneous groups you may be wondering what grouping to use. The answer will depend on the demographics of your classroom, student behaviors and the purpose of the groups.

Demographics:An effective teacher knows her students and their capabilities. You would need to look at the ability level of all of your students. You might have a classroom made of the majority of students working at a grade above what you are teaching. In this case you can use homogeneous groups to extend instruction and build autonomy among all your students. On the other hand, you might have a struggling classroom where students aren’t moving as fast as the curriculum suggests. This type of classroom can benefit from more support from the teacher. In this case you can use heterogeneous groups to balance out the ability levels in the classroom. As I stated before, you have to know your classroom and what would work best for your students.Purpose of the groups: The overall goal of the group activities will determine the type of groups you form. If you want students to achieve a level of proficiency in a particular skill then you can form homogeneous groups. Having students working at the same level will help determine what they mastered and may have struggled with. On the other hand the goal may be to promote healthy discussion among students. The teacher might want to have students at different levels share their expertise in a particular area. This will require heterogeneous grouping because the groups will be mixed. Having a clear focus for your groups and the outcome you hope to achieve will make the process of forming groups easier.

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Although there are many benefits to heterogeneous and homogeneous groups we have found that both styles have their disadvantages as well. Keep in mind that most of this information is subjective and will depend on your students. No one knows your students best, except for YOU. Therefore, it is important for teachers to make decisions based on what they know about their students, not solely on what someone else suggests.

What type of groups do you use most often in your classroom? Comment below and share your ideas. We would love to hear from you!