Lesson 6. Dealing with Problems

This is one part of the reflection on the lesson “Working with TA Text: Jonathan Seagull


Feb 05
Aim: identify and formulate problems faced by Jonathan Seagull


  1. Students were introduced to the next home assignment: In many years Jonathan becomes a mentor for creative people and wants to leave a message for further generations. He describes his story as a fight against external circumstances, i.e. whatever step he made, he faced a counter step from External Circumstances that were trying to prevent him from reaching his aims. Write the text. 
  2. To help students do the task, they had to identify the problems Jonathan faces and produce the result in a form of a table. This was the adapted version of the Task 6.3 from the system of tasks: Describe the story as Jonathan fights against External Circumstances. Whatever step Jonathan makes, he faces a counter step from External Circumstances that are trying to prevent him from reaching his aims. In your task, you should keep to the following structure: Step 1 of Jonathan <....> Reaction 1 of External Circumstances <...> Problem 1 Jonathan faces as a result <...> Step 2 of Jonathan <...> (solution to Problem 1) ...
  3. One example was done together.
Line in the text STEP Jonathan makes Line in the text

Counter STEP of External circumstances

Problem Jonathan faces



Jonathan was practicing flight 

„Seagulls never falter, never stall. But Jonathan was slowing and stalling”



Parents become dismayed

„This kind of thinking is not the way to make one’s self popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed.

Jonathan wants to be accepted by his family.



Drops his flight and starts behaving like others

„For the next few days he tried to behave like the other gulls”

   ...  ...
 ...  ...  ...  ...  ...


  1. I think the lesson was not successful. Students didn’t accept the challenge and didn’t understand why they need to do the task. 
  2. Anyway, their home assignment was to write the essay (text).


Go to "Lesson 7: Evaluating Essays"


# Irina Buchinska 2013-03-03 16:48
1.Renata, I think you introduce too much challenge.

2.Why do you think that this work will help them to write an essay?

3. Why should this be an essay?In the initial task it was a message or a story of his life? or an essay?

4. He wanted to be accepted by his family - is it a problem?
# Renata Jonina 2013-03-04 17:31
Initially, when I took Part 6.3 I didn't see how it can be made meaningful for students, that's why I created a context (essay/message/text). I did not specify what exactly it should be, the idea was that there is a certain aim for a person - pass the message - so they had to choose the means how to do it. The limitation was that they had to describe this message as a fight.

I understand that I introduce too much challenge and then cannot make students accept it.

2. I didn't think it will help them to write an essay but my thought was that it will help them see more episodes where Jonathan had a fight.

3. As I mentioned above, they were free to choose whichever type of a text they wish.

4. I meant that "He wanted to be accepted and he wanted to fly as he wished", he was not able to have both since the family would accept him only if he is ordinary.
# Alexander Sokol 2013-03-05 11:55
Renata, I think what Irina meant in her last comment is that the problem is not formulated well. Unless the obstacle is included in the formulation (and it is not in yours), one cannot call it a problem, at least in the TRIZ context.

I also think that this task (in fact, as well as many tasks in Part 6) require preparation (i.e. tasks from Parts 4 or 5). They can be approached without preparation when students are fairly experienced with TA systems (which is not your case). I think this may have been one of the reasons why the task didn't work they way you wanted it to.
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