My aims
- Thinking: to challenge the students’ idea of doing the task (by getting them to reflect on the outcome and the process of the task done and eliciting the ‘how to’) and to create the context for the introducing of the ENV model

- Subject-specific: getting them to select the character specific information from the text as required by the task

Materials: the text „Weekend” and task N 4.1


Tasks: Content Generation Task 4.1. + alternatives in case sb did not read the text


Step 1. Asking them if they read the text (all did) and their general impression of the text - to de-freeze and see their perception of/attitude to the text.

Step 2. Task setting: explaining the task, mode of work: individually, output: a list of notes; timing: 10 minutes

4. Content Generation Tasks
Task 4.1.
In one of the articles about the text, the author proposes the view that in fact Martin and Martha are similar, they only seem different. You disagree with the proposed point of view. Prepare the notes for your reply by summarising the differences between Martin and Martha.

Step 3. Posting the lists on the wall and reading each other's aloud - aim: sharing the outputs (also for me and other guests to hear and note down the salient ones as I could not concentrate on reading them)

Step 4. Getting the learners to evaluate the outputs. Here came the major difficulty for me - we have decided on the criterion: notes specific to the purpose (to disagree with the author). Most of them did not find any faults with the outputs.

I think I should have got them to apply another criterion: whether the information they got can be trusted and to what extent (it would enable them to discuss how the information in the text is given) and then got them to pass their lists through this filter. Possibly I could have introduced the ENV here.

Or: I also could have focused them on the correspondence of different values to same parameters: e.g. preferences, mood (one of them actually started this talk). Then they could probably have noticed that their list of parameters is rather limited: mainly preferences and activities.

Instead of this I was desperately trying to create the challenge for them. I introduced the ENV forcefully (without any context) assuming that it would help them to produce more effective results. They did not seem to see much point. I noticed that.

20 min left before the end of the lesson

Step 5. Working in groups: I gave them a choice: either to review their descriptions and summarise the parameters relevant for describing a character (the character ENV) or to reflect on the procedure of doing the tasks and describe the steps. They chose the steps. In discussing their steps I made a mistake again: I stuck on discussing Step 1. There were different opinions and we did not come to the common conclusion. I should have put down the full lists of the groups and then got them to suggest the criteria for evaluating the lists and then they would probably have decided on the most effective strategy.

Step 6. Giving homework:

a) option 1: complete the task we did in class; do it in two parts: description of the strategy of doing this task (part 1), the content of the task proper

b) option 2: choose one of the tasks of Part 4. Substantiate your choice. Do the task in writing. Describe the procedure of doing the task (same parts as for option 1)

Be ready to discuss it next class.

Step 6. Giving feedback to me: this is what they wrote: they mostly liked the task and the work;but: ' there was misunderstandings in analysing the text'; 'I it difficult to describe the strategy'; 'it wasn't quite understandable what for it was but at the end of the lecture I started to understand', some were confused by the instructions and the questions; the major issue for me to deal with is 'I still don't understand why we pay so much attention to it - there are more important things we need to do'.

Re: thinking task framework: we did step 1 and I forced them to pass through step 2 (this was my aim) but I should have considered the actual state of understanding and got them to step 1 again.

My aim was not achieved - mainly because I have not figured out for myself the exact procedure of doing Step 4 of my lesson and did not prepare alternative for the situation if they do not feel they are stuck

My questions are:

how to ask 'right' questions and give 'right' reactions and how to use their responses for achieving the aim of the lesson

how to make them believe the work on strategies is relevant and how to make it more attractive/sensible to them and more effective,

how to come to uniform procedures of doing similar tasks through discussion,

how to create the challenge and find the right moment for the motivated support with tools



# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-06 15:50
Larisa, thanks a lot for a detailed and open reflection. I will try to answer some of the questions you pose.

'Right' questions and reactions are a difficult thing. The main problem is that we don't know if something turns out to be right before we've tried it. The approach that works for me can be described as follows: getting whatever they say into a challenge. In other words, I am trying to demonstrate that whatever they tell me doesn't work. We should find a reason for not accepting their idea - if we do, there's no challenge. A simple example would be to take one of the suggestions for differences and 'bring it to pieces' from the point of view of the author referred to in the task. If you do it convincingly (really bring to pieces), they will be challenged. Challenge must be experienced, they must feel that they don't know / stuck. So, whatever we do should aim at bringing them to this feeling.

If we succeed with the above, we create the context for working on strategies, i.e. we need strategies because we can't do without them. We are stuck, so we need a tool / strategy (nobody needs a strategy unless they are stuck).

I am afraid I've been pretty general in my answers.Please feel free to comment and I will be happy to continue the discussion. Perhaps more of the colleagues will express their views as well.
# Larisa Sardiko 2011-03-08 21:34
Thank you for your response, Alexander. You have made it clear for me in theory, and I will be trying to do it in practice.
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