Lesson 1: Before Reading
What Makes a Hero?

This is one part of the reflection on the lesson “Working with TA Text: Jonathan Seagull

Jan 15
Aim: to introduce the topic of creative personality, life of a hero
Materials: video from TedEd “What makes a hero” (by Matthew Winkler) 


Before making students read the text I had an introductory lesson that lead us to the topic of ‘heroes’, ‘what makes a hero’ and ‘our connection to heroes’. I wanted to use pre-reading tasks offered in Part 1 of the text technology but I had a lesson with 2 groups of form 11, thus found it impossible to use the tasks from the system. As a result, I had to find an alternative and prepared the following introduction.

  1. A quotation was given to students who were asked to comment on it: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek” (Joseph Campbell).
  2. After a brief discussion on the quotation, we came to an idea of ‘heroes’ - people who are not afraid of ‘entering caves’. 
  3. Students were asked to describe a typical hero. Their suggestions were put on the board. This was the point where many stereotypical views popped up, since students mentioned only obvious features (e.g. physically strong man, super power, etc.). This was the point where I tried to make them think beyond their stereotypes (e.g. can we say that Harry Potter is a hero? Is he physically strong? Is a hero always a man?, etc.)
  4. Students were asked to think what they have in common with heroes? What can we learn from heroes? Where can we learn it? 
  5. The video from TedEd “What makes a hero” (by Matthew Winkler) was shown to students. They had to watch it and find the answers to the questions: What can we learn from heroes? What is the typical life of a hero?
  6. A typical hero’s journey shown in the video was discussed. 
  7. Students were given the text “Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ as an example of the text where we can read about a “hero’s life”. Their home assignment was to read the text for the next lesson and translate the unknown words.


go to "Lesson 2: Dealing with Content"


# Alexander Sokol 2013-03-05 11:32
I've got a few questions / comments here.

1. Life of a hero vs. Creative Personality as understood in GSTL (Life Strategy of Creative Personality, Altshulluer & Vertkin)

Although 'life of a hero' might be an interesting and useful model for some purposes, I believe it's rather different from the GSTL model. This may not necessarily be a problem if you didn't plan to deal with aspects of GSTL as part of you thinking content (eg Jonathan as a text gives quite a few possibilities for both consideration of qualities of creative personality and some aspects of the life strategy). If you did plan it though, I am not sure the choice of the video was a good one as it probably led you away from the GSTL rather than helped you come closer to it.

2. Given the above, the question I'd like to ask is about the purpose of this particular TED video and the model of a hero it presents? Was it a conscious choice?

3. I am not sure that the way you defined the aim is really helpful. You see, whatever happened in your lesson, you probably reached the aim, didn't you? This kind of general formulation is not helpful for measuring the efficacy of what you did.

And one offtopic comment. I am not sure I understood why it was impossible to take a pre-reading task from the system when you had two groups together. Pre-reading tasks don't require reading the text, so why couldn't you do them?
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