ERIC Number: ED421796
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Nov-2
Grouping in Classrooms as an Institutionally Constructed System of Actions.
Cabraal, Liyana M. C.
Built on preliminary findings emerging from an ongoing research project, this paper examines student grouping practices from an institutional-theory perspective. The study, based on interviews with 10 teachers, examines how teachers explain their reasons for grouping students and how they account for their grouping actions. The majority base their grouping actions on some consideration of student ability. Teachers adopt a fluid, flexible approach that balances individual and collective dimensions while attempting to create a small structure to accommodate instructional contingencies within the broader classroom structure. Teachers group to reduce uncertainty and enjoy a sense of autonomy within the small-group structure. Teachers' organizational grouping arrangements may be an attempt to translate differences in intellectual ability into a familiar version (or categorization) of diversity. Teaching to the middle grade level remains a high priority. While converting a complex instructional system into a manageable system, teachers are constantly worried about unintended effects of separating students. Findings suggest that teachers employ grouping as a flexible organizational mechanism for instruction. Grouping creates institutionally defined structures to organize activities related to the instructional program. There should be a judicious match between structure and broadly defined ability. (Contains 37 references.) (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration (11th, Orlando, FL, 26-28, October 1997).