Danielle McBride

Primary Teacher

St. Gerard's Primary

  • Cooperative Learning

What happens when roles are introduced within group work in the classroom?


Cooperative learning is an organised and structured way to use small groups to encourage children to work together to complete a task. Each child in the group is given a role/ responsibility and is held accountable for a specific area meaning that all pupils need to work together for the task to be successful (Olsen, 2018). It is important to give children within the group a role to ensure that everyone is involved in the learning (Bertrand, 2011). Co-operative learning promotes team work, builds on life skills and can develop social skills amongst children (Kelly, 2018). Initially we struggled to create a question due to the range of age groups we were working with from primary one to second year. Through our group discussions we concluded that whole class involvement and motivation could at times be challenging in the classroom. We therefore decided to focus our practitioner enquiry on co-operative learning and allocating all children within the group a role. Within this we have decided to focus on gathering evidence from SIMD children as the attainment gap is an important focus at present. This is also crucial in many school’s improvement plans and has allowed us to track and monitor children’s motivation and participation more closely. This enquiry will focus on the effects of introducing roles to group tasks and the impact on learning and participation from children.


The aims of this practitioner enquiry are to gather evidence concerning what happens when roles are introduced into group work. Our group chose the roles: recorder, resource manager, time keeper and checker and these were allocated to one child in every group to monitor the effects and to investigate whether this increased motivation and participation. Their roles remained the same throughout the enquiry. We also recognised the importance of not introducing the reporter until the end of the task to ensure all children were engaged. These roles were fully explained to children and they understood the responsibility of each.

Download Practitioner Enquiry