In the current study differences between primary school teachers classified as high-performing in their implementation of cooperative learning (CL) in their classrooms and teachers who were less successful in implementing cooperative learning were investigated. The levels of implementation of cooperative learning differed significantly between teachers, especially in teaching students the needed cooperative behaviours. Based on semi-structured interviews, it was found that low-performing CL teachers struggle more with student behaviour during cooperative learning, while high-performing CL teachers feel more able to regulate student behaviour. We concluded that teachers who differed in their teacher performance of implementation of cooperative learning also differed in their attitudes and beliefs about this approach. An integrated model on professional development and teacher change is proposed to interpret the results of differences between teachers. This model shows that positive attitudes and beliefs before implementation, but also experiencing positive student outcomes (incl. positive student behaviour) during implementation are important factors in making cooperative learning successful in practice. We suggest that teachers should be prevented from entering a negative spiral in which they experience student behaviour during cooperative learning only as difficult and, therefore, do not succeed in improving students’ cognitive and behavioural outcomes.