At the lesson of Russian for Lawyers my German students and I worked on the text "The Main Features of the State". One of the main features of the state, specifically the system of taxation and revenue, caused a "hot" discussion.

One of the students was eager to prove that the system of taxation and revenue is not essential for the existence of the state. We asked him to prove his point of view. As a result, I suggested him conducting a mini-research project and making a presentation to prove his idea effective. At the next lesson we enjoyed the results of the project, watching and listening to the presentation and commenting on it.


As we know, the main aim of the Research Technology is to provide learners with possibilities of transfer of knowledge and skills to new context.

A mini-research project the student conducted in the framework of the technology was partially connected with the theme of the Russian language. At the same time, when working on the project, the student continued dealing with language (source materials as well as presentation were in the target language - Russian) and problem-solving. Only this time he was testing his skills and knowledge in a new context, thus having a possibility to see where transfer actually occurs.

Apart from that, the student acquired skills of research work which is the second aim of the Research Technology.


# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-13 22:01
Elena, thanks for this and welcome to the site.
I'd like to ask if you asked the student to use any of the forms developed for the Research Technology of the Thinking Approach? ( These forms normally allow to focus on some of the key stages of the mini research and also compare if a students is making any progress from one project to the next.
Can you also say a few words how other students benefited from the time spent on the presentation of results (both in terms of language and problem solving)? Did they have any specific task? How was it organised?
# Elena Buterus 2011-03-14 07:42
Alexander, thank you for your comment.
As it was the first (trial) step in the acquirement of TA (RT specifically), I didn't ask my German student to fill in all the forms presented on the site you mentioned. He used the Source Analysis Form, the Presentation Preparation Forms - Content and Procedures, and the Project Self-Assessment Form.
When the students work on other mini-projects, I'll ask them to fill in those forms to see if they're really making any progress.
There are only 3 students in this group. As only one of them was against the idea that the systen of taxation and revenue was the main feature of the state, so I asked him to conduct this mini-research, which he did quite successfully. I must say, there were pretty many mistakes in the use of the Russian language in his presentation, but in my opinion, it's a positive sign, which shows the autonomy of his work.
The other 2 students had a chance to comment on what he was saying and disagree with him where they felt he was wrong. I must say, the discussion of the content of presentation was very lively, the students had to show the level of the functional language they possess (e.g. agreement/disagreement, showing interest, expressing their opinion, etc.).
# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-18 10:03
Elena, I am not saying that students should necessarily feel in the forms when working with the RT. However, in my experience, the forms helped me focus on the development of thinking skills as they created the challenge to students (Step 1 of the Thinking Task Framework). This allowed us to discuss the challenge and see how we could cope with it (Step 2). Here students were often asked to produce a second version of the form. Reflection (Step 3) can take place both when evaluating the form (the teacher's comments leading to reflection and the subsequent version of the form submitted by the student is a response to this)and after the project presentation when everybody can look back and see what could have been done better and how. Here, the algorithm / strategy for doing a project should be 'fixed' once again to be applied the next time the students works on a project.
I must also say that projects for me were always extended in time. On the average, each project took around a few months. Of course, it can be done faster but then it will also require more time from the student. For me, they were taking place simultaneously with other work in the subject.
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