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Twins in School

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: Should twins be assigned to the same classroom (for security) or to different classrooms (for independence)? I know it needs to be an individual decision in regards to the children involved, but what would be the criteria for making either decision?

A: As the number of twins in schools has increased dramatically since 1980, schools have become far more interested in whether or not twins should be placed in separate classrooms. Unfortunately, research on this subject is very limited at the present time so there is not a definite view. While some schools have a fixed policy of separating twins, most parents of twins seem to feel, as you do, that such decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.

In making your decision, ask yourself if each twin is capable of initiating and maintaining satisfying relationships with other children? If your answer is "yes," separation would not be warranted. If your answer is "no," then separation, perhaps for part of the day, might be attempted on an experimental basis.

You might also consider separating the twins if they are constantly being compared, and the comparisons provoke negative feelings in either twin. If one of the twins typically comes out on the poorer end of these comparisons, a pattern of discouragement may develop.

In deciding whether or not to keep your twins in the same classroom, you need to think about how much they depend on each other. If one twin helps the other excessively, you might consider separating them so that the one being helped does not become too dependent on the other.

In the case of school-age twins, it is a good idea to check their own preferences about separation. Of course, their feelings on this issue should be put into the larger perspective of the long-term development of each twin. Finally, if the twins enjoy being together, there is usually no advantage to separating them.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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