I can remember being told on Teacher Training over 20 years ago about the amazing idea of sitting bright pupils next to dim ones so that the clever ones could help the unclever ones. (I think they were probably described as 'less highly achieving children' or whatever the fashionable term was back then.)
I can also remember foolishly suggesting that we could take it one stage further; pair off the pupils into bright and thick, then just go home and leave them to it.
Although my comment raised a few hastily smothered giggles, the bearded blatherer delivering the lecture was not amused. We must embrace new techniques and look to more modern methods blah...
I eventually nodded off, as I did in virtually every PGCE lecture and thought no more about it until last week when a friend told me that he had been in a 'Best Practice Session' (Note: Chalk's 9th Law states that the importance of something is always inversely proportional to how important its title makes it sound). He had been forced to sit for half an hour listening to some imbecile expound the virtues of this exact same idea.
Can you imagine how delighted you would be as a parent; to find out that your child was doing their teacher's job rather than pushing ahead and learning more for themselves? I would go absolutely mad and immediately storm into school ranting, raving and waving my arms about like a loon.
This is a classic case of an idea which appeals to those who believe that as long as every child gets a 'C' then that's ok. It also conveniently lets the teacher off the difficult task of stretching the bright kids.