Saturday, April 2, 2011

FLG's Least Favorite Three Words To Hear In A Classroom

"Break into groups."

FLG always thinks, "Great, here goes 20-30 minutes of my life that I'll never get back."

Look, FLG is aware of all the pedagogical nonsense that says people learn better in groups and whathaveyou AND FLG is a self-proclaimed anti-social jerk. So maybe he's wrong.

But the fact remains that the professor is supposedly the expert on the topic. Given that there is an expert in the room, WHY THE FUCK DOES FLG WANT TO HEAR WHAT THE FUCKING JACKASS SITTING NEXT TO HIM THINKS ABOUT THE TOPIC? Might as well just walk out to the street, pull some fucker into the class, and tell them to teach the class for 20-30 minutes.


arethusa said...

Not such a big secret of the trade: When group work is done not for a class project (i.e., practical purposes), but to discuss the reading, it usually means the professor is ill-prepared and needs to kill 20-30 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't the smart kids learn early on that they're destined to be hewers and haulers for the dim, the lazy, and the slothful?

You think academia should lie to you?

Dan Nexon said...

Yes, sometimes "break into groups" is really code for "I need a ^#&*^@ break." One can usually tell based on how well the exercise done in the small group setting coheres into some larger plan of the class.


1) the jackass sitting next to you may actually have better insights than the professor;
2) the process of compiling what you and the other jackasses have to say often helps you better understand the material; and
3) sometimes one just needs to change the tempo of the class.

From our perspective, the problem is that we've got 15-20 students who have different ways of processing information. We can't just abandon the ones who need to pass around ideas in small groups because some of you absorb ideas just fine by listening to us talk about them.

Galatea said...

Groupwork in theory forces the students to produce some thought of their own, on the spot, instead of sitting there and (pretending to) passively absorb the lecture. The prof could go student-by-student, but that's a more effective way to waste the other students' time than groupwork, isn't it?

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