These are my overall reflections on my second year of using TA.
I think I understand the following things a bit better now...

AIMS have to be very specific and well thought out for tasks to succeed. I have to know exactly what I want in order to make a good challenge.

CONTEXT: It has to be relevant and motivating.

THE FRAMEWORK : STEP 1, CHALLENGES: I have more idea now as to how I can make a traditional task challenging and this is a great help. I also find myself noticing challenges within tasks, without having to think about it for a long time, so that’s maybe progress.

STEP 2, TOOLS: I’ve used ENV a lot this year too, and I think I’m a little better at waiting till the pupils need it before I offer it. I think I also understand better myself how important it is to define the function, or the reason for building the ENV, and how that will affect the parameters and values chosen. It seems so obvious now, but it wasn’t obvious to me at all at first and this meant I used ENV in a very vague and not very useful way. I now begin to see how much it can help to systemise thinking in many different kinds of tasks.

STEP 3: I’ve not been so good at doing this. I definitely need to concentrate more on reflection on tasks and how we work.

PLANNING AND TIME: to do TA tasks I have to plan very carefully and give myself time limits as to just how many lessons some tasks will take. Otherwise it gets out of hand and we don’t cover all the work we should.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE: Next year I plan to teach Class 5 without a book and to use as much TA as possible. I know I'll need to do a lot of planning for this and that it will be very challenging, but I feel it's the next step I have to take if I really want to try to use more TA and to find tasks that both the pupils and I find relevant and useful.


# Alexander Sokol 2012-10-23 15:21
Susan, a very interesting point you are making re the use of the ENV in Step 2. Any suggestions on how we could speed up the process of realisation of the importance of the ENV?
Re reflection tasks. In fact, they very often go together with tasks in Step 2, i.e. every time you get your learners to build a model and put it into practice, there's room for reflection tasks.
# Renata Jonina 2012-10-23 19:10
Very interesting to read your reflections, Susan! In fact, I have just started working with the ENV and I realise that I use it in a not very useful way, offering it when it is not needed. I am thinking all the time how to make it more valuable and I am glad to read this awareness of how to do it came to you. I have the chance it will appear in my mind as well:)
# Susan Granlund 2012-10-23 22:45
Yes, I think I understand about Step 2 but I do sometimes still get confused, I must admit. Obviously our experiences with ENV are similar, Renata!

I'm thinking about how realisation of its importance could be speeded up. I found that it clicked for me when I started to become more aware of making challenges through changing a point of view or context. So, for practice really, I'd been building ENVs with pupils on eg Describing a dog, or a country, or a person, in general, and then we used these ENVs rather like passports to describe and /or compare different people / countries / people. BUT, when the task changed so that we were selling a dog, and not just describing any dog, the old ENV clearly didn't work and being aware of its function, what the element is, became very important.

I think that right at the beginning the Yes/ No game was a nice and useful context in which to demonstrate to us what ENV is, how it works and how it can be useful. After that it might be good to play with ENV right away, changing the element to selling a chair, then making a chair, then buying a chair for your granny, becoming more and more specific. I would probably have needed to practise it myself more and then to practise thinking up fun uses for it. I think that might have helped me to understand challenges and ENV better a bit more quickly.
Joomla SEF URLs by Artio