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8 reasons heterogeneous groups are ideal for effective teaching

Heterogeneous grouping is where we have both the well-performing and underperforming students together. This technique has been used by so many teachers in secondary schools, especially in subjects like Math and Literature.

At first glance, students prefer to be grouped homogeneously because then, it keeps them in their safe bubble where no competition is required. On the other hand, they always get to love the long term rewards that come along with it including;

1. Helping one another

While students are grouped together, the presumably smart students will most likely help out their fellows that aren’t as good as them. This makes it easier for them to understand.

Much as it might not be obvious that students will help one another, no smart student wants to be part of a losing group. So, they either help their fellows or report them to you if they aren’t cooperative.

2. Learning from one another’s abilities

Students have different things they’re capable of doing, and this makes each one of them important to others. Sometimes, people overlook this and end up judging students because of their academic performance. However, here’s how students can learn;

  • Through everyone sharing their own different perspective of the same thing
  • Giving simpler forms of interpretation to students that have somehow failed to grasp
  • Explaining concepts with their relevant and understandable examples

Many students have talents and abilities that they are only confident to show their fellow students. It’s only when you group them, that you see the magic manifest.

3. Improving the performance of weak students

We have often heard this phrase, “Walk with four fools, and you’ll be the fifth!” It’s as simple as that for students too, given the fact that so many students fail to perform well just because they pick the wrong friends.

Therefore, grouping weak students with the smart ones will be one smart way to revive their performance by unlocking their genius.

4. Making it easier for students to consult through others

Ever seen a student that just can’t raise their hand despite having a burning question? We have so many of those. However, these students are usually fond of asking their fellow students to help them.

Therefore, putting them in a group helps them learn because someone else will ask the question on their behalf.

5. Promotes more competition

Due to their underperformance, some students believe they’re not in the position to compete with others. However, grouping them with smarter students will challenge them to beat the odds and get the very best out of themselves.

In a situation of tight academic competition, there’s always a huge improvement in the general performance of all students.

6. Motivates weak students to work harder

Even in adults, the power of association makes magic in people’s lives. Some students are in a bad academic position because they just aren’t working hard enough.

Therefore, associating with students who work hard, will build a spirit of hard work and persistence among them.

7. Promotes cooperation among students

What’s the best way to teach students to cooperate with one another, if not grouping them? Grouping students heterogeneously promotes cooperation by;

  • Eliminating biases among students about one another
  • Sharing stories about everyone’s personal experiences, thus strengthening friendship
  • Solving problems together creates a tighter bond.

When students learn to work well and cooperate with others, they can easily win and make it big in the real world outside school, thus leading to financial prosperity.

8. Gives students a more humble perspective

So many students think they’re too smart, but grouping them heterogeneously will make them swallow their pride. This is because they’ll see other students help them understand lots of things.

Humility is important for every student, because pride is always the quickest way to injure one’s ability to perform as expected.


Sometimes, there are a lot of differences between students, thus rendering that the outcome will differ depending on the students. This is largely because some seemingly smart students aren’t cool enough to share their knowledge with other students that aren’t as good as they are. However, this technique has more advantages than disadvantages, which makes it a far relevant option.

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