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50 templates for improving teaching and learning Section 4: Effective group work

Allocation of group roles: Teachers’ notes

Rationale In group work the allocation of roles implies that each individual is an important
part of the group and helps create a feeling of accountability. This promotes a
sense of worth and belonging which is one of the important benefits of
cooperative learning. Assigning roles provides explicit expectations and can add
to the sense of order in the group work (Fogarty, 2002).

It is important to note that in most group situations the allocated role is not the
only contribution that the student makes - they are expected to contribute to the
general work of the group in addition to their allocated role.

How to use It is unlikely that all of the roles identified here will be relevant for any one task so
teachers need to be selective about the most appropriate roles for a particular
activity. In many cases it will be sensible to allocate more than one role to
individual students.

The allocation of roles may be decided by the teacher or left to the group
members (if the teacher is confident that this will lead to appropriate outcomes).
In the first instance the teacher can write the names on the form in advance of
the lesson.

© Connect Publications 2007

50 templates for improving teaching and learning Section 4: Effective group work

Allocation of group roles

Role Explanation Name

Task leader Responsible for planning the task and

allocating responsibilities.

Timekeeper Makes sure the group are always aware of

meeting deadlines and spend a sensible
amount of time on each task.
Secretary Notes key points of discussions and any
decisions reached.

Summariser Identifies key points and summarises


Includer Makes sure everyone in the group has


Chairperson Leads discussions and debates, makes sure

everyone has the chance to put their views
Promoter Puts forward one view. Does not have to
agree with the view personally.

Opponent Argues against a view. Does not have to

disagree with it personally.

Devil’s advocate Questions the views that other group

members take for granted. Deliberately
Questioner Takes the lead in asking questions to group
members or to other groups.

Presenter Takes the lead in presenting the group’s work

to others.

Researcher Finds, collects and reports back information.

Statistician Responsible for numerical and statistical


IT technician Takes the lead in using IT applications such

as Powerpoint.

Technician Responsible for collecting and managing IT

equipment such as computers and data

© Connect Publications 2007