Interesting disucssion. I've been using Visual Math and the comments made
by Cliff rang true for me. I think my upper level kids suffer from the
slow pace and the lower level kids are "blown away." As one of the "us"
(educators) in the "us," "them" description, I am often skeptical when
someone quotes research to me, because it seems that the research always
backs up their persepctive and I'm skeptical of the validity of the
research. I'm skeptical, of course, because I haven't taken the time to
read the research or look into the research that has been done on something
like grouping. However, as a teacher I just don't have the time to do lots
of research. I've had a discussion with people in my daily carpool about
this. One person says that as a professional educator I am obligated to
look into this research and form my own opinions. (She's a former
classroom teacher, and currently supports our literacy program) The idea
of a school looking into an area of research as a group (an idea mentioned
in a previous em-mail) is interesting. If an administration made time
during faculty meetings to read and discuss research I think overworked
educators might be more likely to take time to understand and form solid
opinions about different issues.
At the moment, when I read e-mails advocating homogeneous grouping I find
myself agreeing with basic philosophy and beliefs underlying the advocacy.
However, when I'm in class with kids who have skills ranging from 3rd gr.
up to 8th gr. I find myself questioning the homogeneous grouping. Just my
thoughts. Thanks for listening
>I am actually feeling just the opposite of Beth's comments. In our third year
>with Connected Mathematics, I have had most success at both ends of the
>spectrum when there is at least a degree of ability grouping. The brightest
>kids are no longer feeling retarded by the slooooow pace, and the most
>challenged students aren't being blown away. Yes, I have read a bit of the
>literature, but it does vary in perspective, and I do know what is obviously
>making a big difference for the better in my classes. Cliff Adler, Putney