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Education 代写 范文The Effectiveness Of Heterogeneous Grouping

 Education 代写 The Effectiveness Of Heterogeneous Grouping

In most EFL classes, some learners perform better beyond grade-level, others struggle with target language, while another great part of the class falls somewhere in between. In their effort to meet the needs of such a diverse students, educators tend to assign pair and group work with students of different ability levels finding ways to involve all students in the activities. These ways could include communicative and cooperative tasks to allow scaffolding of less advanced students. In such a classroom environment, advanced level learners perform as a bridge to assist the learning process and lower level classmates show a readiness to cross that bridge (Sean, 2002).  As a general rule, it seems reasonable to propose that classroom harmony might better be achieved in a group of motivated students who are allowed to take part and cooperate.

Statement of the problem

Teachers as well as educators seem to have struggled to find answers to questions about heterogeneous and homogeneous grouping: Are they of certain benefits for learners? Do they harm anyone? Who gets the benefit or the harm the most? And why? (Kulik 1992). The answers to such questions are not always clear-cut and often depend on whom you ask and what learning outcomes are considered important. To many educators, grouping is considered as an proper response to academic diversity. To others, the practice has harmful unintended consequences and should be abandoned (Ansalone, 2001).

Statement of the purpose

Consequently, this study aims to investigate the effect of homogeneous grouping versus heterogeneous grouping on EFL students achievement in writing in the hope that it may settle the argument on which is better for both high and low achievers. Homogeneous grouping can be defined as dividing students into small groups which include students of the same ability or level for example high achievers together and low achievers together. While heterogeneous grouping can be defined as dividing students into groups that include mixed or different levels, high and low achievers together.

Theoretical Framework

When tackling the issue of cooperative learning or grouping it is useful to draw upon the theories of social constructivism and multiple intelligences so as to view intelligence from a multi-dimensional perspective. Social constructivism emphasizes the significance of the social environment in cognitive development. Vygotsky, as reported by Seng et al. (2003), wrote: “Every function in the child’s cultural development environment appears twice: first, on the social level, and later on the individual level, first between people (interpsychological), and then inside the child (intrapsychological)”. Vygotsky (1978) supposed that intelligence starts in the social environment and directs itself inward. Other writers on constructivism elaborated on this theme. Students must interact with other students as well as materials in order to learn. The conventional ways of teaching through lecturing and recitation do not work effectively (Hillocks, 2002). Teachers must allow a learning environment in which students search for meaning, appreciate uncertainty, and inquire responsibly (Brooks, 1993).

Gardner (1993), in his work on multiple intelligences (MI), highlighted the importance of precisely understanding the profile of intelligences of the individual learner to provide a more enlightened search for remedies for difficulties. Edward (2004) stated that the problems students encounter at school are because of the fact that they have different kinds of minds and therefore remember, understand, perform, and learn in differently. Gardner identified 8 separate intelligences; two of them are linguistics and interpersonal intelligences. Armstrong (199) stressed the need to provide learning experiences which may accommodate those 8 intelligences through a variety of multi-spectrum experiences.

Moreover, there are two cognitive theories that are directly applied to cooperative learning, the developmental and the elaboration theories (Slavin, 1987). The developmental theories presume that interaction among students around appropriate tasks raises their mastery of critical conceptions (Damon, 1984). When students interact with other students, they will need to explain and discuss each other’s perspectives, which lead to greater understanding of learning targets. Also the effort to resolve potential conflicts within collaborative activities develops higher levels of understanding (Slavin, 1990).

The elaboration theory proposes that one of the most effective means of learning is to explain the material to someone else. Cooperative learning activities improve elaborative thinking and frequent giving and receiving explanations, which increases the depth of understanding, the quality of reasoning, and the accuracy of long term retention (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1986). Thus, the use of cooperative learning methods should lead to the improvement of students’ learning and retention from both the developmental and cognitive theoretical perspectives.

Cooperative learning has its roots in the theories of social interdependence, cognitive development, and behavioral learning. Some research provides remarkably strong evidence that cooperative learning results in greater effort to achieve, more positive relationships, and greater psychological health than competitive or individualistic learning efforts (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1994(

Cognitive growth springs from the arrangement of a variety of perspectives at the time individuals work to reach common goals. Both Piaget and Vygotsky saw cooperative learning with more able peers and instructors as resulting in cognitive development and intellectual growth (Johnson, et al., 1998). The assumption of behavioral learning theory is that students will work hard on tasks that provide a reward and that students will fail to work on tasks that provide no reward or punishment. Cooperative learning is one strategy that rewards individuals for participation in the group’s effort.

Slavin (1987), highlighted two main theoretical perspectives related to cooperative learning, motivational and cognitive. The motivational theories of cooperative learning stress the students’ motivation to accomplish academic work, whereas the cognitive theories emphasize the effects of working with others. A major element of cooperative learning is positive interdependence, as students perceive that their success or failure depends on working together as a team (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1986). From the motivational theories perspective, cooperative goal structure creates such a situation in which the only way group members can achieve their goals is when the group is successful” (Slavin, 1990,). As a result, for the reason of attaining certain goals, students are likely to encourage their group members to do whatever helps the group to succeed and to help one another with a group task.

Review of Literature

A number of studies examined the effects of cooperative learning techniques on student learning. Humphreys, Johnson, and Johnson (1982) compared cooperative, competitive, and individualistic strategies and concluded that students who were taught by cooperative methods learned and retained significantly more information than students taught by the other two methods. Sherman and Thomas (1986) reached similar findings in a study which involved high school students taught by cooperative and individualistic methods.

Slavin(1983) based on a review of 46 studies related to cooperative learning found that cooperative learning resulted in significant positive effects in 63% of the studies, and only two studies reported higher achievement for the comparison group. Johnson, Maruyama, Johnson, Nelson, and Skon (1981) conducted a meta-analysis of 122 studies related to cooperative learning and concluded that there was strong evidence for the advantage of cooperative learning in promoting achievement over competitive and individualistic strategies.

Johnson and Ahlgren (1976) investigated the relationships between students’ attitudes toward cooperation, competition, and attitudes toward education. The results of the study pointed out that student cooperativeness, rather than competitiveness, was positively related to being motivated to learn. Humphreys, Johnson, and Johnson (1982) also found that students studying in a cooperative learning treatment group rated more positively in their learning experience than did students in competitive and individualistic treatment groups. In a study involving elementary and secondary students Wodarski, et al., (1980) concluded that 95% of the elementary students enjoyed the cooperative learning activities and that they had learned a lot about the subject.

Cooperative learning can result in positive effects on student achievement (Devries & Slavin, 1978; Cohen, 1986; Davidson, 1989; Johnson & Johnson, 1989; Okebukola, 1985; Reid, 1992; Slavin, 1990). Academic benefits include higher achievement in reading comprehension, writing (Mathes, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 1997) and mathematics (Ross, 1995; Whicker, Nunnery, & Bol, 1997) and improved conceptual understanding and achievement in science (Lonning, 1993; Watson, 1991). Social benefits include more on-task behaviors and helping interactions with group members (Burron, James, & Ambrosio, 1993; Gillies & Ashman, 1998; McManus & Gettinger, 1996), higher self-esteem, more friends, more involvement in classroom activities, and improved attitudes toward learning (Lazarowitz, Baird, & Bolden, 1996; Lazarowitz, Hertz-Lazarowitz, & Baird, 1994).

Emmer and Gerwels (2002) stated that some research on cooperative learning addressed instructional components. In a number of studies students were taught interaction skills, such as how to question or to help each other so that they did not give answers but facilitated each other’s thinking (Fuchs, Fuchs, Kazdan, & Allen, 1999; Gillies & Ashman, 1996, 1998; Nattiv, 1994; Webb, Troper, & Fall, 1995). When students are taught these skills, positive outcomes like increased intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, and liking for school can result (Battistich, Solomon, & Delucchi, 1993).

Ability grouping can be carried out between-class or within-class (Dukmak 2009). Between-class ability grouping refers to a school’s practice of forming classrooms that contains students of similar ability. Within-class grouping refers to a teacher’s practice of forming groups of students of similar ability within an individual class (Gamoran, 1992; Hollified, 1987). A review of the literature on cooperative learning shows that students benefit academically and socially from cooperative, small-group learning (Gillies, 2002).

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