Choosing and Selecting Groups/Document

From OER in Education
Jump to: navigation, search

Choosing and selecting groups

Choice of groups for group work may be predetermined to a certain extent by any setting of classes that has already taken place. Your grouping of pupils might be based on a number of different criteria linked to the outcomes of the activity in which the groups are engaged. You may consider, at different times, factors such as ability, communication skills, social mix, behaviour, gender, SEN, disability and EAL.


Think about a class where you have used group work. What influenced your selection of pupils?

Group composition

Task 10 Benefits and limitations of different grouping criteria 15 minutes

Look at the grid below. It shows a range of different criteria for grouping, with their benefits and limitations. The right-hand column indicates when these criteria may support your teaching.

Highlight the issues you have encountered, and add any extra points from your own experience.

Grouping Benefits Limitations When to use
Friendship Secure and unthreatening Prone to consensus When sharing and confidence building are priorities
Ability Work can more easily be pitched at the optimum level of challenge Visible in-class setting When differentiation can only be achieved by task
Structured mix Ensures a range of views Reproduces the power relations in society When diversity is required
Random selection * Builds up pupils’ experiences of different partners and views

  • Accepted by pupils as democratic
Can get awkward mixes and ‘bad group chemistry’ * When pupils complain about who is allowed to sit with whom

  • When groups have become stale
Single sex Socially more comfortable for some Increases the gender divide In contexts where one sex habitually loses out, e.g. competing to control the computer keyboard