Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lsquared, Deirdre Mundy, and Chemprof on More fallacies in the media about cooperative groups

(http://oilf.blogspot.com/2011/02/more-fallacies-in-media-about.html)

Lsquared said...


I agree. My reference points are mostly math. Andrew Wiles proved Fermat's Last Theorem. He couldn't have done it if Ken Ribet hadn't proved that if the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture was proved, then it would also prove Fermat's last theorem, so it wasn't a result that was done without knowing other people's work, but when he was working on it, he worked completely alone, and didn't talk to anyone about what he was doing until he believed he had the solution. Science needs both the sharing of knowledge, and the persistence of the individual working alone. Collaborators aren't rare, but they aren't the only way to go, either.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Also, it seems to me that the most productive TRULY cooperative efforts in science have come from a partnership, or perhaps a trio. And these fruitful collaborations usually grow organically, out of a mutual interest, rather tahn being imposed from above.
So we get the Curies, and Watson,Crick and Franklin (and notice Franklin always gets left out.) and Miller-Urey, etc. etc....
So partnerships, not groups. And freely chosen ones. Totally UNLIKE what happens in a classroom environt when a teacher decides that "Groupwork is necessary for learning!!!"
Also, as an aside, in an elementary classroom, brainstorming is usually an exercise in stupid. Coming up with 20 lame ideas is NOT a good substitute for one or two GOOD ones.....
ChemProf said...

Since grad school, I've published many collaborative papers. Never did we sit and brainstorm. Sometimes we'd talk and argue a point, but often it was more iterative -- one person would write a draft, and the other person would read and comment on it, pointing out questions or problems with interpretation. It never resembled elementary-school "group work." In fact, I've found in general that the least productive meetings are the ones without some kind of first pass on paper or an agenda. Without that focus, even educated adults tend to just talk around the issue and waste time. Anyone who has ever sat through a faculty meeting without an agenda should be familiar with this phenomena.

No comments: