Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Horrors of Groupwork

One of the worst things to hear in a classroom is "I'm going to put you into groups," or the even worse one "Get yourselves into groups." From the exact second this is uttered, you know you are doomed, and nothing will save you now!

The first nightmare is the one of knowing who your teammates will be. If it's a "get yourselves into groups" situation, this becomes the most embarrassing and awkward situation ever. You had to drum up the courage to actually ask somebody, and if they rejected you for having the amount of people needed already, it would be even harder to approach the next person - you would go by familiarity with the person, with the most familiar person first.

What's worse: The teacher calling the class out on it, citing it as bullying that you're left out, while all the time you just want to hide in the corner, and you're wondering how it is bullying exactly because you're sure that you've had plenty of worse problems with people and most of the time you're happy to work by yourself anyway.

And working by yourself is what happens when you end up in a group who just want to chat about films all of the time and not do any work. In these cases, where the work can be done by one person, it invariably will be. Where you need the group to work (like if you're mostly observing them so that you can light them up appropriately later), but you're the kind of girl who has a problem just asking someone a simple question (see above), this is definitely not going to work for you. Ever.

And what is also not going to work for you is where the group is actually a decent one, but the person taking leadership is pressing everyone else for ideas and saying that they're doing all of the hard work. Instant guilt trip for the person whose social inadeptness (is that a word? Well, all words are made up, and so are the rules surrounding them, so why do I need to care?) obscures their path into suggesting an idea they are unsure of anyway, and actually makes them less likely to say anything.

In summary: Groupwork doesn't teach you anything that teachers want you to learn. Also, you don't want to work with the person who is always distracted by people in other groups talking to her, and invariably ends up in arguments because her interpretations of social interactions is on the plane r.(3i+2j+k)=13 whereas most people's social plane is r.(2i-j+4k)=-6.

So, kids, be glad you're not working with me.

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