Optimising mixed-ability grouping for effective instruction at the junior secondary school level in Botswana
KeywordsEquality of educational opportunities
Junior secondary schools
Effective teaching -- Botswana
Mixed ability grouping in education -- Botswana
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AbstractThe debate on how students of different abilities should be organised and taught is probably as old as the introduction of formal schooling. It has generated a lot of debate in the past and continues to do so in the present millennium. This debate has invariably divided the world of educational research into two distinct camps. On one hand are proponents of ability grouping who claim that this grouping approach creates homogeneity which make it possible to tailor teaching to individual needs and thus raise achievement. On the other hand, are the exponents of mixed-ability grouping, who argue that ability grouping denies equality of educational opportunities to many young people, limiting their life chances and increasing social segregation. However, there is an emerging trend which posits that teachers should view students' mixed-abilities as an asset, which if properly exploited can result in effective instruction for the benefit of all students regardless of their many individual differences. This emanates from the realisation that there are different types of intelligences, and that it is not always possible for an individual student to posses all the types of intelligences. Therefore, students from diverse backgrounds, endowed with multiple intelligences, can help one another understand the content better as they will perceive the content from their diverse experiential backgrounds.
This qualitative study concerned itself with investigating how mixed-ability grouping can be optimised for effective instruction at the junior secondary school level in Botswana. The study made use of literature study, focus groups, follow-up interviews and lesson observations. Major findings were that teachers are not optimising mixed-ability grouping for effective instruction. Instead, teachers have problems in teaching mixed-ability classes, with most of their teaching being teacher-centred. However, teachers can optimise mixed-ability grouping through the use of student-centred instructional strategies such as cooperative learning, small-group instruction, peer teaching and student research. Gifted students could be catered for through curriculum compaction, enrichment and extension work, while mentally challenged students could be offered remedial work. These cited teaching strategies are differential and they make use of the diverse abilities found in mixed-ability classes.
Mafa, Onias (2009) Optimising mixed-ability grouping for effective instruction at the junior secondary school level in Botswana, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <http://hdl.handle.net/10500/1165>
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