Cooperative learning is a student-centred learning strategy in which a small group of pupils work together and take responsibility for their own learning and the learning of other group members. Cooperative learning allows for pupils to work together in their group to achieve the same goal. Working together is a key aspect of this learning strategy. This is highlighted by Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (1993) who state that pupils can maximize their own and the other group members’ learning when they successfully work together. Furthermore, Slavin (1996) highlights that a vital element of cooperative learning is group team work. Therefore, it is evident that this learning strategy is one which teachers should be familiarising themselves, in order to successfully incorporate it into their classroom.
Through discussion, it was agreed that cooperative learning is something this group feels passionate about and is a tool which members had been using in their classrooms. One common issue with conducting this learning strategy was pupils becoming demotivated and disengaged when they had not been assigned a role by the facilitator. Following this discussion, it was decided to focus this study on what happens when the young people are given a role within cooperative learning.
The aim of this enquiry was to observe what happens when roles are assigned when conducting cooperative learning, and more specifically, whether assigned roles have an impact on pupil engagement and motivation.