Cluster Grouping: What You Need to Know
This term describes a manner of classifying gifted students to place them in properly segmented classrooms. For example, about five to seven extremely bright pupils with comparable skill levels make up a cluster, and this cluster is then taught together in a classroom. When grouped in a cluster, gifted students learn better as teachers tailor their teachings specifically to each cluster.
Teachers of these students must have some special training. For instance, they need to be able to identify and foster ‘gifted’ behaviors, allow gifted students to demonstrate already-existing mastery of concepts, incorporate the passionate interests of these students into their independent studies, etc.
The gifted students placed in cluster groups might be gifted in just one academic area, such as mathematics or reading. Consequently, the mathematically gifted students are placed in one classroom and those, who are verbally gifted, are in another one.
For teachers, one of the key benefits of cluster grouping is that it becomes more realistic for them to fulfill the special learning needs of gifted students. For gifted students, this method offers a plethora of significant benefits. First of all, as these students already have some of the concepts, which they are anticipated to learn in a particular class, a considerable percentage of their school time might be wasted. However, when gifted students are placed in cluster groups, they get exactly what they need: a steady opportunity to learn new study materials. They stay more humble when they face ongoing academic competition. They also get to develop the behaviors required to deal with the struggle and challenge of new learning. Additionally, they may avoid the emotional and social problems, which take place from struggling to comprehend why they appear significantly different from their peers.
Many think that cluster grouping may hinder the performance and achievement of other students in that particular class. However, in reality, as long as a cluster group appears with a reasonable number of no more than seven students, it is not a problem. The fact is that the entire class experiences a general improvement in its achievement, as reported by cluster teachers.
For the school, the major advantage of cluster grouping is it can provide a cost-effective, full-time program for gifted students. This is because it can likely fulfill the extraordinary learning needs of gifted students by grouping them together with one specially trained teacher.