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Roles and Gambits
Kagan, S. & Kagan, M. Kagan Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing, 2009

Some social skills are acquired through group activities, but there is no guarantee that the interactions will be positive and foster participation of all students. Social skills are learned and should be taught as part of the ongoing classroom learning. One aspect of working in groups is learning how to take responsibility in the group and how to deal positively with one's classmates as part of the group process. Assigning roles to each member of the group with suggested phrases (gambits) for that role helps the socializing process.

Roles and Functions

The Task Master/Timekeeper:
Keeps the group on task, keeps the group aware of progress related to time, attempts to make sure that each individual contributes.
"Have we finished problem 2"?
"We've finished most of the problems and we have 5 more minutes."

"I think the climate in Brazil ...."

(talking about the task to try to bring the
group back)
The Checker:
Checks that everyone agrees before a group decision is made; checks that everyone understands when the goal is mastery of a concept or fact.
"Do we all agree on that?"
"What do we need to do to make sure
everyone understands how to..."
The Encourager/ Praiser:
(Sometimes called cheerleader)
Makes sure that the contributions of each member and the team as a whole are appreciated. Encourages others to share ideas.

"Let's all give Pete a pat on the back."
"We're really moving along."
"Working in this group is great."

The Secretary/ Recorder:
Records team answers once they all agree; may be the team spokesperson in reporting to the class.
"Let's make sure I record that right."
"Would it be OK if I shared..."
The Gatekeeper:
Makes sure each person participates and that no one individual dominates.
"What do you think, John?"
"Susan, do you agree?"

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