Cooperative learning is a method of teaching and learning in which small groups of pupils work together to develop knowledge and deepen understanding of a particular topic. Scottish Educational Policy promotes the benefits of collaborative learning as a way of evolving significant life skills and encourages its use across all stages of the Primary curriculum (National Improvement Hub, 2016).
One issue teachers have raised when children work within groups is that of the diffusion of responsibility – some children take on all the responsibility of completing tasks whereas others take on very little. Introducing group roles has been shown to encourage higher levels of participation, engagement and positive attitudes within cooperative learning tasks (Barkley, Cross and Major, 2005). Johnson and Johnson (2014) propose that the effectiveness of cooperative group work relies on the engagement of all learners and personal accountability, which can be achieved through the introduction of individual roles.
The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the success of introducing group roles as a co- operative learning tool and the impact this had on teaching and learning within a Primary 1 classroom.