Thinking: to get the students realize the importance of algorithm through giving feedback and reflecting on co-authoring tasks.

Subject matter: giving feedback to each other on how they managed to integrate the material about the author and the evidence from the original text into the new text of a specific genre

Materials: the text 'Weekend' by Fay Weldon + the system of tasks - part 3 (see below)


The students had to read two papers of their peers and to write feedback on what they liked about the work and why and to ask questions on unclear issues.

One of them asked if they had to give feedback on the HOW TO part, too - I confirmed it.

Task 3.1.

You are told in one of the interviews that your sympathies in this story are definitely with Martha.

Make a comment showing that it’s not so and you show different sides of your characters.
Task 3.2.

In a talk show, one of the participants tells you that you are “a typical feminist writer with all male characters being negative”.
What would you reply?


What they liked
I. About the How To part (how to do the task)

• Well  stated specific sub-tasks are put down to understand the task better
• References for the sources used are provided
• You did the task systematically -  focusing on specific information needed for the task
• You showed how and what for you are doing this exercise – it is very good (say why you liked it)
• You first detemined what you had to do  (why you liked it)

II. About the content of the task
• Convincing because it is supported by the arguments from the biography of the author (between the lines – the way she would answer) and the statements (evidence) from the text which confirm that the literary work ‘Weekend’ contains ambiguous (? did you mean – unclear or diverse?) characters. They are realistic people who have positive and negative sides
• The organisation – a table presenting the characters separately
• You not only gave lists of positive or  negative features but also tried to group them according to the same parameter by making both conclusions (+/-) from the same abstract in the text
• The goal of the task was achieved
• A concrete list of Martha’s positive and negative sides – the contrast helps to understand her character better
• Well-made evaluation features of Martha (why you liked it)
• A complete (detailed, positive and negative sides) analysis of the main character given (why you liked it)
• How you explained the other side of Martha’s character (why you like it)
• You draw connections with feminism (between the lines) (why you like it
• There are the examples – explain the POV
• The task is based on the text and own opinion, experience or knowledge (whose: yours or the author’s (F.W.)?) – why you like it
• You analysed the characters according to a set of certain parameters
• You analysed each character in order (you mean separately, systematically?, according to a certain structure?)) and describe their features in contrast

Questions/Unclear issues
1. Is this from the author’s POV (point of view)? (‘Katie seems to be’, ‘From the first sight I can see’)
2. Is it a comment in an interview?

• Give the table some introduction because the task says it’s an interview but it is not seen from the table
• No evidence there is an author’s point of view – provide some info about the author
• I would like to see you personal attitude??? (how about the task?)
• Avoid general information that does not relate to the task
• I would like to see the different (+/-) sides of more than one character. I think it would be more convincing.
• You might consider the author and how to present the reply from her point of view

 I did not ask to write advice, some of them had it on their initiative.

I collated the feedback and sent to them asking to revise and single out what they could use to improve their algorithm and then improve their task. I think this will be Step 3 of the Thinking Task Framework.

I wanted to make a change from discussing the procedures within one lesson, so we did the Speaking task during the rest of the time. The speaking task revealed the problem: the answers given by the students represent what is obvious to us, readers, but not obvious to the main characters as they are shown in the text.

We wondered why so. We came to the conclusion that the author never says anything directly, s/he gives implications.

We discussed what parameters make up the description of a character and what devices the author uses to draw the characters. At home I asked them either to choose one character, select the salient parameters for his/her characteristic and show how the author does it (by means of which linguistic means - give evidence from the text). Or they could choose one of the Language tasks from Part 8.







# Alexander Sokol 2011-04-04 16:37
Larisa, I miss your evaluation here - what did you feel at the of the class? Did you manage to reach what you wanted to?

I also wanted to ask why students had to write what they 'liked' in the works of others? Is it about liking or more about task achievement? I believe these are different things, especially in the context of literature, so perhaps the students' attention should be drawn to it.

Did I get you right that the things written by students you are referring to above come from different works? If so, how did you select them? I am just trying to imagine where they are now and how they treat things. For example, do they see the ENV as a tool or is it still more about something you want them to use?
# Larisa Sardiko 2011-04-09 08:46
I did not have an access to the website due to technical problems. Now my reply.
Re: my evaluation: I think the peer review made some of them start realising how a task could be done more effectively. One feedback was: I know that my homework is half-done but I feel I have gained skills to outline my thoughts more clearly.

Re: 'liked'. Thank you for your comment - I agree.
I put it as that to see how they will perceive the instruction. I actually wanted them to notice the strong points in the task achievement. I think it is a good sign that they did not 'swallow' the instruction as such but asked several clarification questions (like should the comments refer to the content of the task or to the preparation part or both, etc.)

Re: the students' comments. I put all of them together and sent to the students. The purpose was to let them take some tips/comments for themselves for the future. The next lesson we used this info for describing 'what makes a good task' : parameters, features and how to achieve it.

Re: ENV. They do not see it as a tool. It's because I do not know how to show to them it is. I also posted a question concerning it as a comment to your comment on Susan's lesson (about family).
# Alexander Sokol 2011-04-09 09:08
Re showing ENV as a tool. I think the best strategy is for you to use it as a tool when doing something together. For me, the key thing was to show the students that it's not the word ENV I want them to use but the ENV based thinking.
# Susan Granlund 2011-04-10 11:38
This is a very interesting read, Larissa -it sounds like a very effective way of getting the students to understand their tasks, how to improve them and how to understand the texts better. I can see how useful ENV is here, but like you, I still don't find it easy to 'introduce' or 'teach'it - how to get the learners to actually 'think' that way?
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