Mixed group is a unique form of teaching where the children are the teachers and learners themselves. Mixed group day is a day in the week when a group of children of various age group and classes come together in an environment where these children learn to help and be helped by other children and the whole process of peer learning takes place. There is a good and consistent interaction that takes place among children whose age and abilities are varied. Maria Montessori said nature and nurture work hand-in-hand where the groups should contain different ages, because it has great influence on the cultural, social and emotional development of the child.
It has been observed that within 3 -4 weeks the children get acquainted to all students and teachers in the school and develop a beautiful bonding and they keep exchanging a ‘hi-bye’ whenever they meet.
The importance of mixed group is felt more now as the upbringing of kids are now in nuclear family whereas there was a strong system of joint families in earlier days where a lot of learning would occur among brothers, sisters, cousins when they played, studied and did things together. The difference of few years creates a comfort zone for the children at both ends to help out more. The child also gets her own time and learns at her own pace which is crucial for a child’s learning. The propensity of accomplishing the task, learning how to cooperate and act sensibly in a situation doubles.
We at Gyankriti feel that mixed group is not only a medium for learning but also an opportunity to promote interaction among children of various age groups, which plays a part in enhancing their all round development.
FAQs for teachers organizing Mixed Group:
1) What are the logistics of planning a mixed group?
Organizing mixed group for the first time is bit difficult but it gets easy with time. You need to plan the classrooms settings and number of groups you will form at the school level. Then the students are evenly distributed in proportion of strength of each class. The groups may be same or different for each week.
2) How frequent should we organize mixed group activities?
Ideally it should be on daily basis but due to logistical constraints we do it once in a week. The last day of the week is left empty for regular syllabus and a significant time (1-2 hours) is spent on mixed group activities every Friday or Saturday.
3) What is role of teacher in mixed group class?
Teacher acts as a mere facilitator and tries to minimize her interference in the class. She must try to explain all the rules carefully before starting the class. One or two student leaders should be chosen to make sure all the rules are followed sincerely. However the student leaders are not supposed to scold any child, they should in fact take care of other children just like teachers.
4) What activities should be conducted?
Let the students decide what they want to share. If they don’t, you can suggest simple activities that have happened recently in any of the classes. We should never underestimate younger children, many times they are in fact better at sharing certain things.
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