A growing craze with college professors is the idea of groups; I like to call them “aggregation of silent gawkers.” These cabals usually consist of 1-2 mute brains and 1-infinity equally mute onlookers; forced together by location or alphabetical commonality, and united under one cause – appease the ringmaster.
Well, the system doesn’t work. And here is why (did you doubt I’d have a long winded and generalized explanation?):
– Groups often join together a bunch of friends who all took the course together because they needed 4 more credits. These groups then use the time to gab amongst themselves; usually in a loud and obnoxious manner that would cause widespread disruption to any groups that may be “working.” When it comes time to reveal their “findings,” the “leader” of the pack comes up with an answer comparable to: “Yeah, what they said.’ The “they” in this case being the group before buddies in answering, or an adjacent group who didn’t whisper soft enough to protect their work from academic espionage.
– Groups often join together a mismatch of students; who, outside of class, would probably be warring each other in the name of the campus caste system. I realize that one of the reasons for groups is to bring classmates together, but all this does is cause awkward silence and unproductivity.
When it comes time for this groups to release their study, it is up to the 1 or 2 brains to take the reigns and answer with the work they went ahead and did; thus bailing out the onlookers, who consist of mainly vegetables who needed this bunk as a prerequisite to some other bunk.
Many students prefer to go it solo; even said vegetables, who really don’t need all these people hanging around them. If a body wishes to join up in an academic think tank, let them do it in their own time. Do not force the lone wolves into a pack, for they’re bound freak out and rant about the whole damn dilemma.
The Ring of Knowledge:
One of the worst phrases in the English language has got to be “Ok people, let’s form a circle…” I and about 98% of all students (college and under) cringe it’s sound. That other 2% are the obligatory kids who ask for more homework, then suddenly loose their writing implements in one quick shove. Note: I was never one of these geeks, but I never supported the pogrom against them either. But I digress (as usual).
The Great Academic Circle of Students, a.k.a. The Stationary Wheel of Fate, in a word – stinks. The theory is simple: make one large aggregation of silent gawkers in order to promote class discussion. This is obviously going on the antithesis of the “if I can’t see it, it ain’t there” theory.
Ok, I can see where class discussion is good. It gets ideas flowing; it allows you to get a feel for the crowd, and pick out potential study pairings (if you’re not a maverick academic); and it also give the teacher a break from a 7 hr lecture on the importance of the letter Q.
However, we all don’t need to be facing each other. Platoons of 18th century musketeers faced each other, and look where it got them.
Sigh… Ok see armies fought by lining troops up abreast against the enemy who was parallel and also lined up. They shot, the first lines died and the second phalanx moved up (instant promotion). Lather, reload, repeat.
Seeing who had more troops was easier than calling the role every morning. Anyway, anyway…
In other words, rounding the wagons in a circle worked for the pioneers who had shotguns and who were being attacked from the outside. Here the slings and arrows are coming from within, and it’s easier to take aim.
All I’m saying is disband the groups and cut out the duck-duck-goose formation. They ain’t worth the time it takes to move the chairs! (Well, why didn’t you just say that to being with?)
Around the Otter
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