I was recently reading Kathy Sierra’s blog on negative people being bad for the brain. The section on mirror neurons got me thinking about how we group our students when we want them to work collaboratively.
There is so much talk around heterogeneous versus homogeneous grouping, specifically in math and reading. If we focused on what we know about mirror neurons it seems to me it would make sense to heterogeneously group students.
Let’s assume a student, Jim, has no behavior challenges, is putting forth effort, and is still performing below grade level. Grouping Jim with a high achieving student should positively benefit Jim, based on what we know about mirror neurons. The question that then comes to mind for me is what does the higher achieving student gain and would this student benefit more from being with another high performing student, rather than Jim? Is the teacher then the model of a higher achieving student for that child? How do we ensure that all students have a model for them to mirror, specifically in subjects in which they need improvement?