| Questioning/Discussion | Team
Teaching | Thematic Teaching
| Integrated Curriculum |
section of the cooperative learning module focuses on the roles
and responsibilities for effective group learning. There are at
least four key roles, and it is important that each member of the
group understands their role, which means you, as the teacher, need
to constantly remind group members of their roles, have them discuss
what the roles are and the responsibilities of each role, and have
them "role play" their roles. Additionally, it is important
that group members be continuously reminded to be good listeners,
be responsible, and work at building consensus in the group.
is especially important in the middle grades.
You always have to remember that just because you've
introduced each role (or communication skill), the students have
practiced them, and seem to understand them, that the next day or
the next week (perhaps even the next minute), they may not have
a clue. Even though it may seem repetitious (and boring) for you
and the students, they need to constantly practice and know their
roles. Also, typically, there is a great deal of cross over (everyone
in the group doing each other's roles at the same time), which is
okay. The key is that everyone knows their role and "plays"
their role when it is appropriate.
roles can be identified in a variety of ways, but we will refer
to them as "leader," "reporter," "monitor,"
and "consensus builder." These are the main roles, and
each person in the group needs to be assigned one of the roles.
When the groups are first put together, the manner in which roles
are assigned is up to you, as long as each group member has a role.
In the event a group has five members, the fifth member is the "wild
card." It is also important to rotate the roles, probably every
two to three weeks (or as you think appropriate), so each member
of the group has an opportunity to be a leader, or a recorder, or
a gatherer, or a consensus builder. The roles are explained below.
responsibility of the leader is to make sure all group members understand
the task, and stay on task. The main "job" of the leader
is to keep the group focused, but in a diplomatic way so as to lead
reporter has the responsibility of keeping track of (recording)
the groups discussion, the decisions made by the group and report
those decisions to the total group, i.e., the class.
monitor has two responsibilities. First, the monitor makes certain
that the group's area stays clean and orderly, especially after
the group has finished its work for the period. Also, the monitor
has the responsbility of being the group's "go-for" person.
Whenever materials are needed, the monitor is the person who "goes
for" them. That way there is only one person moving around
from each group (or at least there should be only one person moving
around) instead of four. It keeps the confusion down.
consensus builder has the responsibility of helping the group reach
agreement. The leader is also a consensus builder, but the main
role of the leader is to make sure the group stays focused, and
to get the group back on task when it begins to wander. The consensus
builder helps in summarizing the discussion and keeps reminding
the group that they need to reach agreement, especially if there
seems to be disagreement.
there are five members in a group, one is designated the "wild"
card. This person's role is to assist the leader in keeping the
group focused on its task. Also, the "wild" card member
can be designated the "leader in training."