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On the one hand, weaker students benefit greatly from studying with good students, and it's helpful for the good student to be able to explain a concept to weaker students as well. On the other hand, good students benefit from studying with other good students (example), and it's why universities strive to assemble full classes of good students.

In a class with both good students and weaker ones, should the teacher encourage good students to help weaker ones (e.g. assign them to the same group for group work)?

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    The Google Scholar search "peer assisted learning" turns up 19900 hits. That may be a good place to look for answers to this question. Dec 9, 2022 at 16:07
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    "...weaker students benefit greatly from studying with good students, and it's helpful for the good student to be able to explain a concept to weaker students as well... " Why do you believe this is true? A good student might also be a charitable human that decides to teach the weaker student but if the good student wants to save their own time/effort. Then it might be MUCH easier for them to tell the weaker student "I'm just going to do all the work". Dec 9, 2022 at 18:59
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    "Should teachers encourage good students to help weaker ones?" Of course, they should. The real question is how classwork/assignments/projects can be organized in a manner that encourages this (instead of just kind words). Dec 9, 2022 at 22:48
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    To label a student as weak and others as good, is a dated, and frankly repugnant idea. Nobody denies the differences in ability, but to see how abhorrent it is, consider if professors were to be labeled 'weak' based on their (in)ability to attract funding. Dec 10, 2022 at 5:31
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    @AppliedAcademic if you dislike the word 'weak', suggest a better word to use instead.
    – Allure
    Dec 10, 2022 at 15:39

12 Answers 12

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As a student, I am against this. Everything should stop at "encouragement" only. Please do not intervene as there are unintended consequences (on students).

Other people's understanding of things is their responsibility, not mine. I occasionally help "weaker" students by providing tutorial sessions. However, I only do it if it is somewhat beneficial for me (e.g. helping me reinforce my knowledge), or somehow I find a moral obligation to help them. That is my voluntary decision.

There is a high chance that by purposedly assigning weak students into groups with good students, some "weak" students will not do anything, and eventually they get the same score (fair enough?) or they somehow affect the score of others by non-participation.

I also believe that we have to learn from our own mistakes to become a better person. To help some people, maybe it is best to let them fail a few times.

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    If the students have good relations with each other, they're probably already doing it without any encouragement.
    – Alvi15
    Dec 9, 2022 at 7:46
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    The old adage is that you don't really understand something until you teach it to someone else. Helping others understand something helps you as it increases your understanding. Note this is not the same as doing others work for them. In the world of work you will inevitably work in teams, and in those teams some will be stronger than others. Learning how to navigate this: how to make sure the team performs (as you will be judged on team performance), without doing everyone's job for them is an important skill to learn. Dec 9, 2022 at 9:02
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    What's missing here is that if you plan to work, you can't decide who you work with or what your asked to do. If you read enough about success you'll learn that unless you are totally exceptionally outstanding a very large portion of success comes from soft skills. You'd benefit from learning to work with people you deem "weak" and from learning almost everyone has something to offer. Scores aren't important. Why would you care if a student gets a good score? As long as you get the score you deserve the rest is at most tangential to you.
    – jonlink
    Dec 9, 2022 at 14:10
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    @FoundABetterName of course all these things are generalisations, ni advice on a site like this could be anything other than a generalisation. I'd still argue that you need to understand convolution better to teach them than you do to solve problems. For the second part, weak or lazy doesn't really matter, in the world of real work you will be forced to work with both. Dec 9, 2022 at 16:18
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    I largely disagree with the forced groupwork model because the real world doesn't work like this. A manager does the "group work delegation", and it isn't up to my peers to tell me what to do. Academic group work has very little semblance to how a real-world team function.
    – Nelson
    Dec 12, 2022 at 7:51
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I think it is important to make a distinction between "weak" students that are weak because they have a harder time understanding the subject (for what ever reasons, e.g. there are people with the intellectual capacity to understand things straight away and there are those who need to read through the material several times, get additional support material and talk it through before really understanding) but are hard working and willing to get better. On the other hand, there are "weak" students that are lazy and just try to get through with minimal effort, no matter the grade.

Just as edelweiss said, assigning lazy weak students to a group of "stronger" students will probably do not lead to any benefit for anyone. On the contrary, the lazy weak students might do even less than before, as they have the strong students pulling them along. The strong students will probably end up doing more work (that the lazy weak student isn't doing) as they want to get good grades.

For the willing weak, a concept like you suggest might be beneficial, but it still will take a toll on the stronger students who now have to spend extra time explaining things they already know to others.

From my own experience, the best group work came out of groups that we were able to form ourselves with people that we knew had a similar work ethic. Forcing people to work together is almost never a good idea.

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    No matter where you go in life you are going to going to forced to work with someone you'd prefer not to. If you don't learn how to deal with that and be successful you're doomed to fail.
    – jonlink
    Dec 9, 2022 at 14:12
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    @jonlink Yes, I knew this kind of comment would come, but: The kind of work you have to do in school is very different than the kind of work you have to do in almost any job. And you get paid for it and don't have to find time for it between you uni courses and working on the side (which is what many people that study have to do). So group work in uni has a completely different framework and is not 1:1 transferable to "real life". When I was juggling uni, work and a kid I could not have graduated in the same amount of time if I had not had my group of people that I could work efficiently ...
    – Sursula
    Dec 9, 2022 at 14:58
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    @jonlink (part 2) ... and harmoniously with. Don't make uni life harder than it has to be. People will spend far more time working than studying and will have ample time to get along with all sorts of coworkers.
    – Sursula
    Dec 9, 2022 at 15:00
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    Depends on other circumstances I suppose, first two years in my uni were brutal and barely anyone was working on the side, and after that those who did commonly picked private tutor jobs, which is somewhat ironic given the question. I also have counterexamples of people having no work experience whatsoever before graduation and struggling mightily because of soft skills lagging behind a lot. Although I'd imagine under more common circumstances forcing team work on students would be uncalled for indeed.
    – Lodinn
    Dec 9, 2022 at 17:07
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    For a contrary perspective, There Is No Such Thing As Laziness: humanparts.medium.com/laziness-does-not-exist-3af27e312d01 (note, 'member-only' medium link)
    – Tiercelet
    Dec 9, 2022 at 18:20
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There are a few questions layered here:

  • can (some) weak students benefit from help from stronger students?
  • is this beneficial for the stronger students, and if not, is it justified for the benefit it offers to the weaker students?
  • should the teacher actively/explicitly encourage this, and if so, how?
  • should the teacher passively encourage this, for example by designing work groups with a specific aim to mix different levels of ability?

Sadly the answer to every one of this questions is "it depends". Some strong students are used to working on their own and will just barrel through group projects as if they were solo projects, perhaps increasing the group's grade but pretty much obliterating everyone else's learning experience. Others really thrive in explaining things to others and, as Ian Sudbery comments, really cement their own knowledge in the process. Some weak students are just struggling with the pace and/or style of explanation, and can get a lot out of going over the same concepts again with a peer. Others are just out of their depth, disengaged, or overwhelmed.

More than group projects, I personally found that self-organised study groups were a good way to bring together people who find this type of interaction beneficial (I was one of those students who learns by explaining to others, and I like to think I managed to help some of my fellow students this way), but they're not something you can have a great influence over as an instructor. They can also be hard to access for students who are shy or just less interested in socialising.

I'd be interested in hearing people's experiences of actively influencing group composition in group projects and whether that had and discernible effect.

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In higher education and in general circumstance, no. Naturally there may be exceptions, but my answer is a hard no.

Edit. You might create an environment where that is possible, but you cant actually direct that encouragingly.

All the students are of employment age. The stronger students are under no obligation to "pick up your slack" as a paid educator.

In addition, by pursuing this course of action, you explicitly set different expectations for different students.

Most people have strong opinions about group work. Those opinions tend to be less than positive.

Me personally, im in that class to learn. Not help some stranger. his problems are his problems. Not mine. I certainly didnt sign up for thermodynamics to help someone with english as a second language. Sorry. Ive got my own problems.

Smaller children or educational classes or humanities that answer might soften of course, but that would be outlined inbthe syllabus. Not a problem solving opportunity.

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    hmmm. Why do you think those opinions about group work are valid or helpful to their own education? Later employment in most fields will require effective group work. People aren't silos, nor should we encourage it. Does the skill needed to work together come by magic at some point?
    – Buffy
    Dec 9, 2022 at 15:05
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    @buffy if your described goals are the goal of the class, then thats the goal of the class and should be explicit in course material. I didn't sign up for advanced algorithms development to become a better person. I signed up to learn advanced algorithms. The situation you describe is just a targeted approach. "Welcome to advanced algorithms. For groups!"
    – user156207
    Dec 9, 2022 at 15:11
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    @Buffy the way your comment reads, all courses and all activities should have a group component. Theres absolutely nothing wrong with committing and focusing on a task that puts the entirety of the human experience on hold for 90 minutes while we learn about a university level topic. If this was a 2nd grade class, then sure. Maybe. But these students are 20 years old.
    – user156207
    Dec 9, 2022 at 15:27
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    And the question isnt even about groups. Its about hierarchies. Is this TA qualified to manage group hierarchies of high school graduates off the cuff?? Unlikely.
    – user156207
    Dec 9, 2022 at 17:21
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    @IanSudbery wow. If that doesnt make me want to make me puke in my own shoes i dont know what does. My most recent university was a cesspool.
    – user156207
    Dec 12, 2022 at 13:52
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You have a responsibility as a teacher to make sure everything you do for a student is for their benefit; so if you do this, you need to do it for a pedagogical reason for that student, not just for the weaker students' benefit. I'd argue that the test is: would you have every student take on the role of teacher/mentor? If not, then it's not being done for that reason.

At younger levels (say, elementary school), there is often quite a strong pedagogical reason for having students teach other students: teaching them how to teach, or more generally how to communicate with others. It also reinforces the material, and makes sure they know all of the material and aren't just able to shortcut to the answer.

However, the key that's present there is that you don't only have the stronger students teach, but you have all students teach each other. Look at a Montessori classroom for example - every student teaches another as part of what they do. There's always younger students for older students to help teach, no matter their individual ability.

At the university level, classes are specialized and expected to focus on one specific thing. You don't go to Calculus 101 and expect to learn how to teach! As such, it's much harder to have a legitimate pedagogical reason for involving other students. Yes, if it is something that helps reinforce the material, then it's worth doing perhaps; but again, if you're doing it only for the stronger students, it's probably not for that reason - the weaker students need that reinforcement more.

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This answer might not apply to some fields, but it does in something like CS where group work is valued and needed in both academia and the workplace. Your field seems to be physics, with which I have no experience, though I think that lab work is often (typically?) done in groups, not by individuals. I'm not so convinced it would apply in math, however. I think it would in true math research, though, and mathematicians are collaborating more widely in recent years than in the long-ago past.

I would, when still teaching, make group work a fundamental part of the course and of the grading. Projects were typically about 70% of the grade with most of that group projects. The courses were pretty technical, say database theory or compiler construction.

I used two strategies for forming groups; self selected and random. But, I also learned that I had to teach students proper behavior in group work. It wasn't appropriate for the "top" student to just do all the work and carry the others. It wasn't appropriate for anyone to slack. But this doesn't come naturally to them. They need instruction about group meetings, consensus, working together rather than just trying to divide the work and then, in an extra, difficult, task, integrate the parts into a whole. Pairing on all tasks was encouraged and even demonstrated in classroom situations. I'd even do this with some grad students. I also used peer evaluation (not peer grading) so that students could give me information about who participated and contributed and what those contributions were.

The effect of self selected groups was, I think, less beneficial to them. The "hot shots" could get together and mostly coast to a decent grade, learning less than they might have done. The "weak kittens" might be lost without external direction, though I had one massively successful experience with two "weak" students working together and outperforming the hot-shots, though they basically lived in my office for the semester asking and reasking the same questions. Finally, they got it and did well, explaining complex things to me by the end of the term. Not a common experience, but it can happen.

My experience with random selection was generally better, though instruction in group behavior was needed. It isn't part of the gene pool. A random group has, usually, some stronger and some weaker students, but if they work together all can benefit. One key, however, is that not everyone has the same skills and not everyone needs to contribute to the group in the same way. Suppose a ten person group has to write a ten page report. Lets divide the work so that everyone writes one page? How about everyone write every tenth line? Ain't gonna work so gud.

But some students can focus on the library searching, some on the coding, some on the writeup, one or two on the actual management of the group and making sure that the parts will fit together. Everyone contributes something valuable; equal if not the same.

I had another success in such a random group. There was one student who seemed to be a bit dull in class and I worried about him. He was put into a group of mostly "stronger" (my guess) students. When I asked them for for peer evaluations at the end of the course, this "dull" student was the one they all described as the main contributor to the project since he was able to keep everyone else "doing the right thing". Everyone in that group was happy with the result as was I.

I've also had the situation where students who were in a long lasting program and knew they were going to be part of several projects with the same team, would use a "pay it forward" technique in which some of the students would do the bulk of the work (together) on the current project and let one of their peer "off the hook" to deal with other things, even family emergencies. That student would then have extra responsibility to contribute to the next round or project. In effect, they built a collaborative community in which they helped other in the group learn the important lessons. They were mutually supportive but it wasn't that the hot-shots took over and left others out.


Detail on "peer evaluation". In a group of five ask two questions of each student, answers submitted privately but not anonymously.

  1. Who were the three top contributors to the group and describe why you have listed them?

  2. What was your own main contribution to the group?

These were seldom used to affect the grades, though they might. In the case above, the student mentioned got a boost. But a person not mentioned at all by anyone as a "main contributor" won't share in any bonuses and might be singled out for some intervention. But students didn't actually "grade" one another, just give positive comments when needed. A person refusing to answer the first question is just as much a problem as a student never mentioned as a contributor.

In a group of two, the first question would need to be something like "What was your partner's main contribution?"

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    To follow the point about these being workplace skills, perhaps what this answer is demonstrating is that if you are going to do this, every group needs a team leader/manager who is experienced in helping teams organize like this? Not just a student picked arbitrarily but someone with additional experience? Dec 11, 2022 at 22:42
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As a student my simple answer is No. Nothing should be forced; you might make it, say, a voluntary activity, but then don't give out credits for it or seem to favour students who participate in the activity. I help out my peers and they help me, plain and simple—but I do that at my discretion and with my friends. We're all adults who have other responsibilities beyond our courses, and if your assignment takes up my time beyond the course-assigned time commitment then it is unfair for me.

Secondly I strongly resonate with some of the other answers, especially the examples where students who are not actually "weak" but just lazy get carried by the other team mates. In my first semester of college, since most people were not acquainted with others one of the courses allocated groups randomly. I vividly remember in our group of five one member rarely showed up to meetings. But really no one wants to go complain to the instructor and waste their time; instead they just pass along the other person's name as well.

Finally I see the same kind of comment on every post and was planning to respond but Sursula -they- does a great job responding to one of those and I would recommend anyone planning to comment please read that before making the same point.

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    The OP doesn't seem to be suggesting "forcing" anything. The word was "encourage".
    – Buffy
    Dec 9, 2022 at 15:32
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    @Buffy I don't know if this is a culture thing but suggestions such as these and then explicitly assigning groups would seem almost forcing to me as now the students who are academically well performing will usually think of it as a task and not a mere suggestion. Ofcourse opinions vary but as a student right now and knowing many of my peers who perform well academically I think this is true. Even the simple act of assigning groups directly brings in an authority figure into the picture and people don't really want to standup against those or are able to speak freely either Dec 9, 2022 at 15:55
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    @Buffy an authority figure "forcing" and "encouraging" is exactly the same thing. Its just passive aggressive BS making the problem WORSE.
    – user156207
    Dec 9, 2022 at 16:30
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    @Buffy Assigning them to the same group for group work is not "encouragement" it is fiat.
    – Anonymous
    Dec 9, 2022 at 22:25
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This answer is independent of my other one here and may be more general, perhaps applying where group work isn't the norm.

Yes, I believe that students should help one another within bounds. Like the other answer, I think that they also need to be taught how to do this effectively so that both can benefit. This one is more applicable to learning things like math and other fields. Note that I didn't cast it as the "strong" helping the "weak" but as students helping one another.

First, this requires the permission of the instructor and some guidance. In fields like math, insight is hard won. Reading an answer to an exercise isn't the same and hasn't the same educational effect as doing the exercise yourself.

When a student asks the professor a question, the wise instructor will try to give the minimal guidance needed to get the student moving again, rather than providing a full answer. Asking questions when questions are asked can be effective. "Have you looked at ...?" as a response to "How do I ...?" for example. But, students don't naturally know how to do this. They need some instruction in it.

But any student will benefit from having to explain a difficult concept to others. "Teach it to the rubber ducky" is a common pattern, actually. As an undergrad we were sometimes assigned to give a lecture to the class on a small math concept. We then fielded questions. The instructor would later give feedback. Anyone who wants a career in academia will benefit from occasionally working with others on difficult concepts.

Mathematicians in large departments often have seminars that meet weekly with a few professors and a few grad students. Everyone can mention what they are working on and any blocks they currently have. Anyone can make suggestions. They do the same at conferences in a larger realm.

Students in law schools often do the same thing. The movie The Paper Chase describes this, sometimes painful, process.

But, the good students can't just do the work of the not as good ones, or no one benefits. Learning needs to take place, but it should be learning on both sides.

So, I'd suggest encouraging students to ask one another questions about the current material, but discourage them from revealing exercise hints (discourage = forbid). If your scale is small enough and you recognize those students with the most potential, you can, perhaps guide them in the art of guidance. Mass education in huge groups makes this difficult/impossible, I'd guess.

Students, strong and weak, need a place to get appropriate assistance. Other students can be part of that. But not without some sensible bounds.

As Ian Sudbery says in a comment, one can learn a lot by teaching.

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    Upvoted, for being the only answer that is mindful of not casting students into silos based on their present ability. Education is a transformative process and fixing a label defeats that purpose. Dec 10, 2022 at 5:41
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I wasn't going to post this as an answer, rather leaving it as an underdeveloped comment. But I was persuaded that perhaps it should be an answer.

Ultimately this question is actually three questions:

  1. Do students struggling with a specific concept benefit from help from students who do understand.?
  2. What is the cost or benefit to the student doing the helping?
  3. Under what circumstances should we, as educators encourage or mandate this?

Lots of the answers focus on two, and that is what my original comment focused on:

The old adage is that you don't really understand something until you teach it to someone else. Helping others understand something helps you as it increases your understanding. Note this is not the same as doing others' work for them. In the world of work you will inevitably work in teams, and in those teams some will be stronger than others. Learning how to navigate this: how to make sure the team performs (as you will be judged on team performance), without doing everyone's job for them is an important skill to learn.

It was been commented that it isn't always the case that helping others understand increases your own understanding. I have to say, I'm skeptical (whether its the only/most efficient is a different matter). Someone commented that its better just to work through problems, but I think you can often use a concept to solve a problem with only a surface understanding, but to teach someone else who is struggling, you need to genuinely grok the idea in its fullest.

Take standard error of the mean as an example. One can easily calculate SEM by following a simple formula. One can use SEM to make judgements easily without really understanding what it is by following a set of rules. But to really understand SEM, and the difference between SEM and SD, one needs to understand all sorts of things about the central limit theorem, the connection between distributions of random variables and the distributions of the statistics of samples of those distributions etc. And not just parrot definitions, but be able to come up with the definitions (and novel wordings of the definitions, novel metaphors for them etc) yourself, ab initio.

Now, given how well you have to understand something to teach it effectively to someone else, we have to ask if it is likely a "weaker" student will benefit from the teaching attempts of the "stronger" student (we might ask the same of the average professor as well).

The same goes for group work. As I pointed out, all of us need to work in groups from time to time. Even if you are to be an academic mathematician, you will need to work with others on administrative committees etc. Being able to work with others who may be "weaker" or "lazier" this way without just doing the work for them is a tricky skill, but important skills. But just putting people in groups and telling them to do group work is not teaching the skill. It should be an express learning outcome, recorded in the syllabus/curriculum (it is a stated learning outcome of all our degree programs, but not all our modules - students most have demonstrated it one way or another by the end of their degree, but not in every course). Just shoving people into groups may lead to the stronger student just doing all the work, because that is often the lowest effort way to get a good grade: leading and encouraging and mentoring the others is more work.

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A lot hinges on how you're defining "good" and "weak" students. Is this based solely on their performance in your course(s)? What constitutes "performance"— course grade, level of class participation, an general assessment of some other set of skills, etc.? Is their categorization as good/weak based on their GPA or some other metric beyond your course alone?

An equally important consideration is what sort of group work you're thinking of creating these groups for. Is this a long-term group assignment, or just quick breakout groups during a short in-class exercise?

Finally, what form would your "encouragement" take? Would it be assigning groups with mixes of "good" and "weak" students? Or would you be somehow identifying the "good" students and the "weak" students and encouraging them in some way to pair up and work together on some assigned task?


The crucial thing to my mind is that, if you decide to proceed with the good/weak pairings, you refrain from identifying to your students which group they fall into. This would be, at best, potentially embarrassing to students (of either group).

That being said, if the pairing of "good" and "weak" students is for something like short-term, in-class exercises, then the stakes are low enough that any potential benefit would come with little risk (e.g. freeloading, stigmatization, inaccurate assessment as to who's "good" vs. "weak").

If your pairing is for longer-term assignments, there is the risk, as others have noted, that the students perceived as "weak" are simply not interested in doing more than the bare minimum, which would put more work on the shoulders of the "good" students, in effect punishing them for their better-than-average performance. Then again, no matter how groups are formed for long-term group assignments, there are almost always students who don't pull their weight, so this isn't really a downside of your proposed method of grouping students.

Most important to your proposal, though, is the criteria. If these are students you've worked with mainly or exclusively for one particular course, it seems very difficult to be certain of the accuracy of your assessment as to whom is "good" and whom is "weak". Could it be that the "weak" students just aren't engaged in the material for whatever reason? Or that undergrads these days are encouraged to take staggering course loads and your course falls at a time in their schedule that leaves them the least amount of time for the assignments? Or they're taking care of a sick parent/grandparent/sibling/child/partner? It's commendable to want to enact a strategy that will help the most students possible be successful in your course and elsewhere, but at the same time cases like this present so many unknown unknowns that erring on the side of restraint may be the best strategy.

To that end, a brief anecdote: a senior faculty member once reminded me that, as people who have chosen to progress through the highest levels of the educational system, we professors are likely to have been students who, at all levels, strove to excel (some might even say overachieve) in our coursework, for whatever reasons—but at the very least because we placed high valued on academic achievement in its own right (in particular achievements assessed through letter grades or otherwise highly prized in the very environments in which we now work). But not all our students have the same experience. Some may be interested in doing the bare minimum to pass their classes and get their undergraduate degrees as a means to increasing their earning power in the workforce. In this case, a student's particular performance in any given course might be of little consequence to them—but this doesn't make them "weak" students, it just means their priorities lie elsewhere. I teach at a school where many students are first-generation immigrants and the first in their families to attend college. It took me some time to get used to the fact that some of them aren't remotely interested in the nuances of the subject matter, they're trying to pass their classes because a degree means they can be a manager rather than an entry-level employee at, say, Target.* For some students, education is means to a material end, not necessarily something valuable in and of itself. And this is a perfectly valid reason to be a student. I relate this because I've found it useful to keep in mind as I continually attempt to contextualize what my potential role is, and how my courses and teaching methods fit, within the broader context of my students as individual, competent adult people navigating invariably complex lives in which, for the vast majority of students, my courses and I inevitably play only a tiny part.

*A specific example conveyed to me by a student.

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I have taken many Mathematics and Physics classes. Sometimes there were things I struggled to understand or had a mental block on and other students helped me, probably benefitting in the process. Sometimes other people struggled with things and I helped them. Explaining concepts helped me to understand them as well.

In an English language class, would it be wrong for the students who speak better English to help the students who speak worse English?

Would you regard it as somewhat repugnant and elitist to call the ones with better English ''strong'' and the ones with worse English ''weak'' when everyone is there to improve and try to get better?

0

It depends - both on the level and on the context.
Naturally, it has to be done in a way where "everyone wins".

I don't think it is ever a good idea to teach fast and slow students together if the content of one lesson depends on that of the previous. The faster students get bored and/or the slow ones fall y the wayside. However, it can be OK where you can usefully pick up part of the lesson).

What can be useful is for the fastest students to duck out of a proportion of their group's repetition and to coach slower - and/or younger - students from other groups. The fastest students have to learn to think in different ways, and (done right) the slow/young ones benefit from the guidance towards approaches that work.
Of course in a high-school context this requires significant teacher suppoert, so doesn't save much (if any) teacher time. However, it improves cohesion between the student groups, and it produces better-rounded students. I feel that it also helps apparently less able students to achieve more of their potential, but I have not seen evidence for this.

At a higher level, many of the great universities use PhD students to give tutorials to small groups of undergraduates. The PhDs maintain their breadth and (sometimes) challenges*, the undergrads at minimum get a different perspective. The proof of this pudding is (as they say) in the eating.

*To say nothing of a useful income supplement

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