Is cooperative learning an important strategy in heterogeneously grouped classrooms?
Cooperative learning is one of many strategies, but it can’t stand alone. It needs to be a linchpin of a high-content, activity-oriented, inquiry-based curriculum that provides access to all ability levels. Are gifted children challenged enough in heterogeneously grouped classrooms? If the curriculum is rich and varied, yes. So teachers should commit to creating a high-expectations climate and an engaging, hands-on curriculum for all. In a sixth-grade class I visited, for example, students who were learning about the hearing impaired took turns translating announcements for me in sign language. They also had set up exchanges with schools for deaf children, and were reading personal memoirs of deaf children, composing a novel featuring a hearing-impaired character, testing their hearing at different decibel levels and graphing the results, monitoring their learning with portfolios, and so on. There was room in that unit for all kinds of kids to do all kinds of work. The teacher offered