I had plans for the weekend. I was going to catch up on some chores, perhaps read a bit, and spend lots of time in my music room, laying down several tracks of a song I have been working on. For anyone interested in such things, I use n-track software on my PC to record and tweak my stuff. I like n-track, it's easy to use but powerful enough to do some interesting things and add some great effects when mixing the tracks.
Alas, I spent no time recording and mixing music. Why not? I was conscripted. I had to help my son complete a group assignment that was due today. Where were the other members of his group? Damned if I know.
Why do our educational establishments assign group projects? Any idiot knows that group dynamics don't work. Someone does all or most of the work, and everyone else goes along for the ride, mostly contributing inane and unworkable suggestions and generally wasting time. It has always been thus and always will be, forever and ever, amen. If there has ever been an exception to this rule, I am not aware of it.
My son had left his email address with the other four members of his group, but foolishly had no contact information at all for three of them, and only an email address for the fourth. He had not given his telephone number to anyone, nor had he taken the telephone numbers of any of his group members. Everyone left school on Friday with some vague promise to get together on the weekend. Naturally, that intent came to naught and the deadline for the assignment, which represents 10% of the final mark in my son's Geography class, would have been been missed.
What to do? I suggested to my son that he do the project all by himself, hand it in with only his name on it, and explain to the teacher that he did all the work himself because the group never agreed on what to do, when to do it and how, and obviously had no possible way of completing the assignment on time.
So, he did just that. He did a good job. I helped him format a bunch of stuff so that it could be printed on card stock, on a colour printer, something I knew more about than he (how weird is that -- a 61-year-old father knowing more about computers and software than his 14-year-old son?) and the project was completed about 9:30 Sunday night.
Now, I wonder what is going to happen. Will the assignment be accepted from an individual, especially since it was to be a group effort? Will my son be penalized because he did the work on his own? Or, will it be deemed to be the group's joint effort anyway, and everyone will share the marks? I have no idea, but I will be extremely pissed off if anyone else gets to share in the marks. In real life, if I foolishly assigned a project to a group and only one person did all the work, all of the slackards would be disciplined or fired.
I don't know why we have this fixation in our schools that kids should work together on group projects. Nor do I know why many of the projects are so complex that there is absolutely no way that the children could do them on their own. I finished my schooling in 1969. My days of doing homework and working on class projects should be over.
I am very curious to see what will happen when my son hands in his assignment today.
And, next weekend, come hell or high water, I want some time to myself.