Support material for Step 1 Tutorial 


• You always have to keep your final aim in mind. What is the function of the task? What change in our learners should this task bring about?
• Typical answers are not acceptable; the solution to the task should not be obvious or easily available.
• The task should be set in a context to which the learners can relate.

Here are some of the ways in which tasks can be made challenging, with links to examples.

1. Making a typical task non-typical  by 

a) changing the point of view (telling a well-known story from someone else’s view…close, more distant, different, eg Finland through African eyes, Red Riding Hood through the wolf’s eyes, describing your family from the point of view of your pet.)

b) making the setting or environment non-typical (set a dialogue taking place in an ordinary classroom or home on the moon, in another country, in a hospital; make a shop a flea market.)

c) changing the intended audience (telling a story as if to very young children, to people who don’t know about the subject, to people who don’t want to buy the product.)

d) adding an extra purpose  (resolve the task in such a way that you would be able to teach it to other people (young people, old people), use the content to create a game)


2Introducing limitations

a) Limitations which decrease eg time, parameters allowed, resources, exclude reptitions, the obvious answers. (Possible competitions, not allowed to use certain resources, sort into only two groups, don’t use particular words or facts or numbers; in a Yes/No game limit the number of questions allowed)

b) Limitations which increase eg number of divisions (when sorting into groups), number of answers (how many ways can you use a toothbrush?), expected result (find 5 solutions, maybe the obvious, and then find five more; Find the odd-man-out – give reasons for each item in turn being the odd one.)


3. Juxtapositioning the seemingly unconnected

a) Putting together the seemingly unrelated to force learners to make new connections (2 random adjectives – what animal could they describe(language, biology.)? Two random places – how might they be connected(geography, language.)? See games..

b) Using the above to make riddles, quizzes, games for others.


4. Introducing a new challenging task
A type of task which has never been done before will be new and therefore probably more difficult, but it must still be checked to see if it leaves room for thinking. Does it need to be changed to make it more challenging, so that it meets the criteria of a thinking task?


5. Challenging the results of a task

a) Challenge the results of a previous task by doing some of the above – give the same task in a new setting, do it from a different point of view, ask learners to generalise how to do the task so that it would work for any such task and test it (ie use their algorithm in a new situation).

b) In particular, challenge a task which wasn’t well done or didn’t bring about the required learning or change  – how can it be improved or done differently, can you use your algorithm to evaluate the task?

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