For those who have lived to tell the tale, I'm quite sure you'll agree unanimously that Project Work (PW) has been the harbinger of widespread distress and angst and increased inclination towards profanities since it's deplorable implementation. It's not uncommon for the exasperated and frustrated to inveigh against PW, and I doubt very much this year will any exception, so to the JC1s, I wish you the very best of luck and patience.
I've gathered some of my personal responses and more from the annus horribilis that was 2010. Most were drafts and remained as drafts due to sheer lackadaisicalness.
PROJECT WORK'S PI* IS FREAKING ME OUT.*PI stands for Preliminary Idea, which is a component of PW.April 2010:
PW should just crash and burn.July 2010:
To be fair, perhaps I may not have scorned it ever so much if my group was not assigned a teacher who so adamantly refuses to be of any viable usefulness or assistance.
Excerpts from an MSN conversation:
- "Ok firstly why I disagree greatly with the concept of PW is because some unlucky people (like us) have to pay for the shortcomings of other members."September 2010:
- "People contribute varying levels of effort for group work but still get the same grade - IT IS WHOLLY UNFAIR."
- "National Exams, no matter what, should STRIVE to keep it's criteria as IMPARTIAL and as FAIR and JUST to everyone as possible. That means that we account for our own efforts and shortcomings and skills ALONE and in no way should we be held responsible for another's complacency or inefficiency - IT IS NOT OUR DAMN FAULT SOMEONE ELSE DOESN'T WANT TO DO HIS/HER WORK."
- "Even they want to test us on how well we can work with others, IT SHOULD NOT BE SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH TO HEAVILY AFFECT OUR UNIVERSITY ADMISSION PROSPECTS, AS DOES PW, WHICH IS SAID TO BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR H1 CONTENT SUBJECT!!!!!!!!!!"
- "Oh plus PW can be quite pointless because we don't actually carry out the project."
The very mention of the two words could make my blood boil.September 2010:
An article Jingjing found which makes quite a bit of sense. Bravo logic.
The new policy of group project work
The mindset sounds good: Force the students to learn teamwork so that they can develop in a well-rounded manner and cope with corporate hell when they enter the workplace.
In many cases, the teacher would just throw the students in and see if they can swim. He or she could just ignore if two people have very incompatible characters or personal histories and force them to work together.
Even when the students can choose, there always exists the possibility that one will fail to locate compatible partners in class and would find it much easier to do the work individually. That has occurred to me with most of my project work.
Group project work tends to equalize the effort put forth and dilutes the effects of the abilities of the individual team member. Once, one could show that he or she had learnt the subject well by preparing an awesome project, but now one would have a few freeloaders sharing the credit. It seems highly unfair for such behaviour to occur. Forcing a group project when an individual project could suffice turns the assignment into a situation where one has to handle the burden of socializing on top of project work.
Certain project members have to compromise a lot, including having to do the project at an inconvenient time or location, and having to do a lower quality project (such as when the group decides to slack off to complete a project with inferior quality). They could have avoided this, if not for the requirement that they have to do the project in a group.
This occurs despite a different policy in the workplace. At work, individual performance can hold one accountable in projects. The company can fire team members who do not take their projects seriously. While company policy varies greatly, more enlightened companies will generally allow some freedom to choose competent team members whose skills and character complements each other, than to force a group of incompatible people to work together.
After all, a team with poorly chosen members will have lower productivity. How can a company with sensible HR policies and desiring to reduce costs afford to lose productivity just because it just would not care about the feelings of the employees? When a company spends millions of dollars in consultant fees to graphologists, feng shui masters and motivational trainers, one can hardly consider spending some time to assemble teams that work well together too extravagant a consideration.
After all the torture and toil, it consoles me to know that at the very least, the grade I was awarded with was sufficiently befitting. Heh.