Flexible Grouping: What You Need to Know
In flexible grouping, students are placed in distinct groups for superior learning. In this data-driven practice, teachers can target students’ particular needs by developing different kinds of fluid groups, where they provide the students with specific instructional needs. Basically, in flexible grouping, teachers can provide the right students with the right instruction in the right way at the right time. Therefore, the groups will not be the same throughout the entire school year, semester, or even week. These can and will most likely keep on changing on a day-to-day basis.
All flexible grouping should be reliant on present data, a lot of which comes from formative assessments. While formative assessments do not necessarily need to be complex and long, they are highly important and have to be incorporated daily.
In flexible grouping, students do not get pigeonholed. Instead, they can be regrouped for precise content areas. This becomes advantageous to students who think and learn differently because they may only face challenges in particular content areas. For example, a student who struggles with mathematics but not reading can be grouped with students who need similar support in mathematics. Then that particular student can be regrouped for reading.
In flexible groups, students can see that value is being added by everyone to the learning community. It reflects the culturally responsive teaching philosophy of recognizing the assets of the students and utilizing those to develop learner-centered instruction. Additionally, students develop responsibility for and ownership of their learning. This helps them prepare for higher education and work, where teams usually depend on differing skill sets to successfully handle specific assignments in a project.
Teachers can develop a positive culture in their classes using flexible grouping. Both practice and knowledge become more fluid because students constantly learn from others present in the class rather than depending only on the teachers.
Teachers also provide the students with the opportunity to practice academic skills without having to change their daily schedule or find the time to pull students aside.
As flexible grouping relies on data, it gives teachers the opportunity to collect data routinely. When students are working in groups, teachers can gather more formalized data and observational data. This data can help them make immediate alterations to their instruction. It also helps them tailor their future instruction that includes switching up the groups the next day.