When we do group work in my classes, I often select who goes in which group to make sure there’s a good ethnic, gender and ability balance.
At other times, though, I will let students choose their own groups. I always preface that self-selection process, though, at the beginning of the year with a discussion of research that shows the benefits of diversity in groups. I then ask that they keep that in mind, especially around ethnicity and gender, when they create their groups — not always, but most of the time. Generally, students are pretty good about respecting that request, and I think their hearing the reasons behind my request have a lot to do with it.
Scientific American has now published what I think is the perfect article (or, at least, excerpts from it) on this issue. It’s titled “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter.”
Here’s an excerpt:
I’m adding this info to My Best Posts On The Basics Of Small Groups In The Classroom.
You might also be interested in The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.