Organizational Patterns in Meeting Individual Needs

Research reveals no one best organizational scheme for meeting individual needs (Hiebert, 1991; Slavin, 1986).

Whole Class/Flexible Groups

For many years, teachers utilized some form of ability grouping to meet individual needs for reading instruction. At the elementary levels, teachers typically had three groups. Research has shown that ability grouping has not been successful in meeting individual needs during literacy instruction (Gamoran, 1992; Slavin, 1986). Instead of organizing students into ability groups that produce social and cultural differentiation in schoolwork, teachers should be encouraged to use whole-class and flexible-group patterns for instruction. For example, whole-class and flexible-group activities can be used to accommodate such things as different ways to read selections, story and author discussion circles, different ways to respond, different interests, or various strategy and skill needs.

Cooperative Learning

Another way to organize to effectively meet individual needs is to use cooperative learning (Slavin, 1987). Researchers have found that this is a very flexible technique that can be used to accommodate students of diverse needs and cultural backgrounds (Kagan, 1986) - students experiencing difficulty, students acquiring English, gifted and talented students, and students of diverse cultural backgrounds.
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