subject-matter: a) to develop the knowledge of  what makes a well-organised purposeful text and how to create it

b) to broaden the understanding of character drawing techniques

thinking - a) to make them aware of the use of reflection and its analysis for the development of their skills of creating a 'good' text

b) to generate the first draft of the ENV of a character

Materials: a) the students' collated comments on their peers' co-authoring tasks (see lesson reflection of 24.03.2011)

b) Task:  Write ten key words that would best characterise one of the characters (to your choice).



a) the students (one by one) noted the ideas they would take for themselves as tips for the future and I put the ideas into the following structure: Parameter /Feature/How to achieve it (the example of the draft grid we made will be posted in Materials). Time: it took us about 50 minutes (tuning-in, collecting ideas, summarising and reflection).


What did we create? – The system of parameters, features and advice how  to create a good text.
Why did we organise it into a grid? - More visible. What model did we use? _ ENV (only oe of the students mentioned it). What is the element that we desribed? -  text
Can it be applied to any text? – it should be made more general ...
Is it complete? – Of course not, it should be developed.
Why do we need it? – to use it as a tool in the future.

Then I said:
'Here are your co-authoring tasks. You may improve them if you wish and know how.
But you can also stop here and start the next task from this stage.'

b) They did the language task (see above) at home - so they had lists of words, mostly epithets. My purpose was to show them the contrast between the way we readers describe the personages and the way it is done in a fiction text. Time: 15 minutes.

I asked one of the students to name his list:   husband, man, relaxed, polite, caring etc.. about Martin). First, I got him to prove why he thought these words best describe Martin. He failed to explain. Then I asked them to look at their lists  and range the list according to which would be the best characteristics. And then we discussed how we obtain the information. As a result, we got such a structure: a list of features, how we got to know about them (indirectly: through description of routine activities, tastes, habits, dialogue (what one says, what about, who about, how), inner thoughts, direct evaluative characteristics, description of body language, instant behaviour, reaction to what is happening etc.) and then we put these features through the filter of WHO is the source of information (the narrator, a character him/herself, another character ...). This was the idea, of course, we have not finished it.

And I helped quite a lot, which is not good I realise. Then we reflected on whether this view will help them to better understand the characters and consider the believability factor. I got them to continue doing it at home. They found it useful - according to the feedback.

We are still on the way of putting it together: parameter (which we did not clearly mark yet), feature, how it is shown and from which source, there are other things I feel we need to fit (key: serious/ironical etc.), when mentioned/about which time (past/present/future).

Homework: explaining the reflection tasks on the whole work on the text 'Weekend' (I gave them two weeks for doing it). I will put the questions into the Materials section.

Overall reflection: partially we reached the aim a) some of them realised through reflection that the task she got was half done and said she has  got skills how to do it and know what to add. All of them noted what has to have been done and what they will do in a co-authoring task (e.g.). However, they do not realise the value of the ENV (and I am not skillful to show it to them). Another useful thing we realised about the preparation is that gridding the features and proofs from the text is NOT the task itself (if the task is to make a comment) but a useful HOW TO step to make this comment purposeful and informative.

Re: ThTF - I think in a) it was step 3 (reflect on how the reflection can help) and in b) step 1 (limitation - best characteristics), step 2 - trying to create a sort of algorithm to be able to highlight and describe these best characteristic features).


I realised I take too much time on such tasks. I need to learn to make the common discussion/reflection time shorter in time and more purposeful. I am learning to do it, and in my next group the focusing them on the character drawing took 5 minutes.

They do not see the ENV value. I'll go on trying without imposing it on them of course. Could you give me an example of how it could be done in my context?

I am still deeply rooted in the communicative ELT, and often find myself a) telling them more than I should have b) trying to make a task complete

Now I am learning to view a task as an opening for thinking and development - and try not to get them bored.

And what I have also started - explicitly and orally discussing the metacognitive value of the tasks with the students. It helps. Now they are writing - we started to understand why we are doing these tasks, all of them enjoy the tasks, some find the tasks difficult but not impossible. One wrote: the reflection was important - I realised I have to be more open and to pay more attention to how to do the task. Most of the students (according to their written feedback) have enjoyed the work on the tasks.









# Susan Granlund 2011-04-10 11:44
Larissa, I agree - it's very hard to get out of the 'habits' of communicative ELT and not to keep telling them too much!It's easy to feel that too much time is being spent on one thing,and at least the first time I do something I think I always take too long over it. I guess we're learning though! It helped me to read what you wrote at the end - I have to be more open and pay more attention to how to do the task.
# Larisa Sardiko 2011-04-12 11:12
Thanks for support, Susan!
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