The flawed logic of group work

Harry Reynolds, Contributing Reporter

 The idea of working together in groups in classes to solve problems was birthed by a committee composed of guys at an August University, south of sanity, conjuring another cunning plot to make education as boring as possible. Thank God, they were not around to help Einstein with his Theory of Relativity.

My cynicism comes from actual working experience, specifically, as a newspaperman. We would sit around a long table in the conference to come up with ideas for editorials. In some cases, readers succumbed to boredom.

We thought of dispersing with them but relented in the wake of angry phone calls from undertakers. Also included in the displeasure, was our ad department. Its revenue was rooted six feet under in paid obituaries.

By now the discerning reader will have noted that I committed a grave indiscretion; nay an unforgiven use of “guy.” Being of advanced age, it is fervently hoped I will not be waylaid by outraged feminists.

My argument is that either “guy” or “gal” should be used; equally, applying to “him” or “her.”

Playing tag with them constitutes an unforgivable crime against the English language. The penalty, in accordance with the crime, should be death. And a public one at that; with a sign being penned on the chest of the culprit reading: “Behold, the penalty for abuse of the English language.”

As for God’s gender, “She” makes the most sense to me, given my wife determines whether I live or die, depending on what transgression I have (innocently, of course) committed. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the old adage, “hell has no fury like a woman scorned.”

If you do not believe me, I will introduce you to my wife, a creature of grace, compassion and intelligence. I wisely flee when I make her mad (through no fault of mine, you understand). The only refuge is the local bar.

Yeah, I know, you think I intentionally create the need to frequent the tavern by pushing the right buttons. Husbands and wives are thoroughly versed when it comes to getting a rise out of each other.

This column will likely draw a reprimand from my former Lake Land College art teacher, for not having a proper beginning, middle, and end. Keeping that in mind, we will return to the intended subject – groupthink.

 Admittedly, I am biased, and, quite possibly wrong in denigrating the organizing of students into groups in order to advance the notion of teamwork. Admittedly, also, my criticism stems to some extent to my hatred of anything being organized.

When an instructor broaches such an assignment, I do my level best to keep his mind diverted until time runs out. Most of the teachers here are well-grounded in their subject, and easily hold my attention for the entire class.

Why an unnecessary distraction? The question plagues me. What possible motives people, otherwise sane to come up with such ideas? Might Puck be whispering in their ear? Perhaps, it is a cosmic joke.

 There are undoubtedly good reasons for the group thing, and I suppose in today’s world, being an ant is far more efficient than a moth. As for originality, well, that is a whole different beast.

Harry Reynolds can be reached at [email protected]

Facebook Comments Box