Co-operative learning is becoming an ever-growing learning and teaching strategy employed across schools. Co-operative learning occurs when learners work together on a set task to achieve a shared goal. Contribution to the group is equal, so all members are accountable (Olsen, 2018). The Scottish Government (2020) noted the difference between co-operative learning and standard group work in that the latter is highly structured. Another defining feature of co-operative learning is in the assignment of roles to members. Role assignment ensures that all members contribute and everyone is responsible for the completion and success of the task (Heller & Hollabaugh, 1992).
Kelly (2018) highlights that co-operative learning can improve leadership skills, communication skills and encourage children to support one another ultimately, then, building life skills and developing children socially as well as academically.
Closing the poverty related-attainment gap is a priority across education systems and of importance to North Lanarkshire Council. The group agreed that this was an issue we were committed to tackling in classrooms. From here, the aims of this enquiry were decided, which were to: –
- evaluate whether the placement of co-operative learning groups and the assignment of roles within these groups would create more pupil engagement
- assess the extent to which highly able learners were challenged and additional support needs (ASN) children were supported