Japanese students tend to be put into han groups whether it’s to solve problems together for each class or do cleaning duties. Han means a platoon, a squad, or a working group and it operates with little to no hierarchy. Each han is comprised of 5-8 children depending on the class size with a total of 6-8 han groups per classroom.
Teachers decide who will be in each han group and will try to balance the abilities of all han groups to make it as heterogeneous as possible mixing all types of abilities, personalities,and intelligence. A good example of this kind of han group would be the cell divisions in Naruto. Naruto is outgoing but a poor student who is mixed with Sasuke who is quiet and a very skilled student. Completing the group is the average Sakura who’s balanced between social abilities and skills.
Everyone has a say in a han group and no one person is above another though when the answer is announced to the class, a speaker or leader as I’ll call the person, will be chosen to do so. No individual person is ever praised or reprimanded; rather it is the whole group that will receive the recognition or not.
Han groups are changed throughout the year during each term and eventually, each student should have partnered up with a fellow student at least once. This is to allow students to get to know others and not stick with just friends or become comfortable with a set group. Some teachers also put “leader” or more dominant students into one group to allow other non-dominant students to rise up to that kind of role. It will also allow more alpha-oriented students to sit back and work as a united group instead of dominating the group all the time.
When working as a han group, particularly working on problems together, the class may rearrange their desks so the han group can sit together. Of course, they will have to rearrange their desk back once they are done.