Thinking: raising awareness of the use of ENV model to the description of the main characters and the strategies of doing the task through reflection and evaluation

Subject matter: developing the main characters' description

Materials; text 'Weekend' by Fay Weldon

Tasks I am going to use: Part 4. tasks selected by the students (done at home)



Procedures (planned)

25 minutes

1) Identifying the tasks selected and clarifying the reasons for the choice

2) Discussing the criteria for the evaluating of the tasks

45 minutes

3) Presenting and evaluating the tasks

What actually happened:

1) Nobody selected to complete the task we did in class. Four new tasks from Part 4 were selected: 4.3 (Life would be ideal for Martha etc.) if...) (3 st.), 4.4. (Describe an ideal man for Martha) (1 st.) , 4.8. (Colin and Katie discussing Martha and Martin) (2 st.) and 4.7. (Prove that Martha and Katie are similar - the most challenging task was chosen by one student (Sandra) who has had the TA course at school with Irina. The reasons for the choices were: 'interesting, obvious, there is a lot of information in the text, 'without any reason'. Sandra has selected the task by excluding each task in turn.

2) I did not mention the necessity of criteria for evaluating the tasks. We started listening to the first task and I asked the students to respond (agree/disagree, ask questions) to what they hear. 'Are we evaluating or what?' 'Actually, yes' This is how we brought about the criteria issue. Discussing the criteria has taken twice as much time as I have planned. While discussing the criteria, we actually discussed the characters and the facts from the text to prove the items suggested. Again there were students who preferred to keep silent when not asked (4) and those who spoke most (3). I will involve them, too, but later. I think at this point it is OK: there must be safe environment for learning. And after all everyone will turn in written tasks - part 6.

My role here was supporting their discussion rather than guiding them: I wanted them to find the value of the task for themselves. I need to develop the skill of monitoring the discussion.

3) We had time for listening and evaluating only one task - Sandra's. It had the preparation part and the content part. And after listening to her preparation part, the other students realised that it is very useful as it makes the doing of the task much easier. I think this is an important turn. They responded to the lesson as useful and interesting for them  as through our discussion we have clarified the text and how to do the task.

Now they have an opportunity to elaborate on their tasks at home. They will also do a language task at home (to practice the ENV to distinguish between the synonyms).

Re: the thinking task framework - step 3 (with Sandra's work); the other work we heard did not even have 'the how to' part, so Step 2 was needed.

The students in this group are starting to realise the necessity  of the work we are doing. At the end of the class one remarked 'Sometimes when i need to do the task, there are no ideas at all', the other said, 'We'll discuss what to do in this case'. I think this is a good sign - they are leaving the class thinking about the future lesson. And they remarked the lesson passed fast.

My major difficulty - to make them see the necessity of the strategies and the ENV model and  guide them to the 'how to' elaboration - remains, but I keep trying.

My problem: I see they are 'stuck' but I can not always make them realise and admit it.







# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-13 21:56
Larisa, I think it's only natural that people don't want to accept that they are stuck. At the same time, you're saying that some of them felt it was useful to do preparation - isn't it an indicator of feeling that they might be stuck without it?
One more idea. If the students are ready to put down evaluation criteria, this is also a very good context for the ENV model: parameters are what we evaluate and values indicate what we're looking for under each parameter (values must be specific to be able to distinguish between a brilliant and a mediocre work).
# Larisa Sardiko 2011-03-15 12:46
Thank you for this support, Alexander. I will keep on.
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