Letter to the Editor, What’s On My Mind? Response

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Last Week's What's On My Mind? Poll Results, 09/24/09

EDITOR’S NOTE

The Prairie Staff is dedicated to hearing both sides of an opinion. We are not biased and welcome all views, which is why we are publishing a letter received a few days ago in retaliation to Sam Carter’s What’s On My Mind article about group work. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but we encourage opinions that are based off of some facts, not just anger.

Keep in mind, while we know some topics are heated, think of both sides before spewing in your comeback letter. While there are always at least two sides of any issue, we expect anyone to write in about an issue we have discussed or your own. This is what comes from the joys of free speech.

While the polls of last week’s opinion piece clearly showed students want group work to stop, not everyone, mind you, in the University texted in. However, you would think the majority who texted in wanted group work to stop, which represents the “leaders” in these groups who go above and beyond and take the extra time and effort to text in, not the “slackers” of the group.

Below is the letter from Mr. Ryan Hazelwood.

Kayla Goodman

Prairie Editor

Web Editor’s Note: Feel free to add your own comments at the end of this article!

LETTER TO THE EDTIOR

Dear Mr. Carter and Prairie Staff,

While reading the September 17, 2009 edition of the Prairie I came across the What’s On My Mind article speaking to group work. I must say that I found it a little off base.

First a little about me, I am a full time employee of WTAMU, graduate student, teach a SCOM 1315 class, assist with Maroon Productions, assist with Live Crew, am currently working on my thesis, a graduate student senator and full time single parent; this is just off of the top of my head. I know as much as anyone of the time demands students face on a day to day basis and because of the circumstances of my situation. I also understand group work and can look at it from both sides of the aisle.

First, instructors and professors are anything but lazy for assigning group work. The idea of group work is as real as the job that you will hope to land after you graduate. Aside from my current life course, I have also worked in “the real world” after graduating with my B.S. in 1999. If you think that it is harder to get a couple of fellow students together to work on a project than coworkers living in different cities, working in different time zones , working in different departments (production, marketing, sales, etc.), with family obligations as well as professional you are just plain fooling yourself. As someone who has been asked to do just this, the world of collegiate life that you live in is a dream.

As an instructor and staff member and someone that has worked in “the real world”, what I have seen as the problem with group work is the reluctance of the typical “complainers” of group work to do one of two things. First to step up and be a leader that holds others in the group accountable. Sure in both college and “the real world” there will be those in your group that you have to hold their hand and coddle through any process. Welcome to “the real world”. Second, most of the time someone in a group work situation complains it is because they are not easy to work with and that person tends to hinder the work that the rest of the group gets done and no one wants to work with them because of this. You see being a leader is something more than demanding something of your group, but being an example that the rest of the group is inclined to follow. These two problems that I have observed really work hand in hand.

I would challenge you that the next time you are in a group work situation:

1) Be that type of leader that you would follow and 2) Realize that however hard you think working in this fantasy world of an academic setting may be, you have not seen anything yet… depending on your level of achievement after graduation.

Sincerely,

Ryan Hazelwood
Department of Communication
WTAMU Box 60754
Canyon, TX 79016
806.651.3258

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About Kayla Goodman

Kayla Goodman is The Prairie Editor. Her job is to edit stories, manage the magazine's content, and make sure the reporters get stuff in (not always easy!). She is a Senior Ad/PR major. You can contact her by e-mail.

10 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor, What’s On My Mind? Response

  1. avatar Ryan Hazelwood

    Perhaps I missed the balance in your opinion piece, but isn’t that the point of an opinion piece? It’s been a while since I was an undergrad, and maybe things have changed but I remember Dave teaching me that an opinion piece was just that, an opinion. Thank you for printing mine.

    Sincerely,

    ryan

  2. avatar Ryan Hazelwood

    Perhaps I missed the balance in your opinion piece, but isn’t that the point of an opinion piece? It’s been a while since I was an undergrad, and maybe things have changed but I remember Dave teaching me that an opinion piece was just that, an opinion. Thank you for printing mine.

    Sincerely,

    ryan

  3. avatar Kirk Scarbrough

    Well said, Ryan. I would gladly team up with you on a project any day.

  4. avatar Kirk Scarbrough

    Well said, Ryan. I would gladly team up with you on a project any day.

  5. avatar Dr. Trudy Hanson

    I’ve enjoyed reading the differing opinions about students’ perception of group work. As a professor, I often talk with my students about the attitudes they have about group assignments. From the research that has been done about learning in group settings, there are some significant benefits, but as has been pointed out, there are also challenges. Group members usually fall into several different roles and quite often, the role some group members choose to take is not a task oriented role, but as one who withdraws or fails to contribute. One of the things that has been pointed out to faculty in our faculty development sessions is that our incoming students actually prefer group work and feel as if they learn better in group settings. In my classes, I try to strike a balance between individual assignments and group assignments. I also employ grading rubrics which do not “punish” those who have completed the work in a group assignment. It would be nice if there were no dysfunctional groups–but that would be a perfect world! So, it seems getting the practice of working in groups is good preparation for the team work which is expected of us in the “real world.”

  6. avatar Dr. Trudy Hanson

    I’ve enjoyed reading the differing opinions about students’ perception of group work. As a professor, I often talk with my students about the attitudes they have about group assignments. From the research that has been done about learning in group settings, there are some significant benefits, but as has been pointed out, there are also challenges. Group members usually fall into several different roles and quite often, the role some group members choose to take is not a task oriented role, but as one who withdraws or fails to contribute. One of the things that has been pointed out to faculty in our faculty development sessions is that our incoming students actually prefer group work and feel as if they learn better in group settings. In my classes, I try to strike a balance between individual assignments and group assignments. I also employ grading rubrics which do not “punish” those who have completed the work in a group assignment. It would be nice if there were no dysfunctional groups–but that would be a perfect world! So, it seems getting the practice of working in groups is good preparation for the team work which is expected of us in the “real world.”

  7. avatar Sean Strickland

    In my opinion i think both Mr. Carter and Mr. Hazelwood brought legitimate points to the table based off facts from “the real world” and a WT students life. i don’t think any of the opinions were “spewed” out in “anger.” Props to both gentlemen for putting their voices out there.

  8. avatar Sean Strickland

    In my opinion i think both Mr. Carter and Mr. Hazelwood brought legitimate points to the table based off facts from “the real world” and a WT students life. i don’t think any of the opinions were “spewed” out in “anger.” Props to both gentlemen for putting their voices out there.

  9. avatar Chirs Beamen

    This is the dumbest pie chart ever. How can you claim that this is the be all end all of statistics when you don’t even have the number of people who replied. You guys need to shape up this crappy paper. It was good last year now it’s just a gossip magazine that needs to be run through spell check.

  10. avatar Chirs Beamen

    This is the dumbest pie chart ever. How can you claim that this is the be all end all of statistics when you don’t even have the number of people who replied. You guys need to shape up this crappy paper. It was good last year now it’s just a gossip magazine that needs to be run through spell check.

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