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Designing Speaking and Writing Tasks Based on Texts Insights from the Four Resources Model


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Title: Designing Speaking and Writing Tasks Based on Texts Insights from the Four Resources Model

Designing Speaking and Writing Tasks Based on
Texts Insights from the Four Resources Model
  • Dr. Angel Lin, Associate Professor, Faculty of
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Email

  • The Four Resources Model has been developed in
    Critical Literacy research and reading
  • It helps reading educators to understand the
    different key processes involved when a reader
    approaches a text

  • Introducing the Four Resources model
  • In this workshop, examples of activities will be
    provided to help participants to apply the model
    in designing writing and speaking activities
    based on texts

The Four Resources Model
  • A very good framework for understanding the
    existing typologies of reading pedagogies is
    provided by Luke Freebody (1990, 1999)s Four
    Resources/Roles model

The Four Resources Model
The Four Resources Model
The Four Resources Model
  • It is a way of seeing all the different levels of
  • The model is a map of possible practices (Luke
    Freebody, 1999)
  • Therefore, it is not an instructional panacea and
    does not have all the answers
  • Basically the model can be used as a way to
    scaffold students towards becoming active users
    of texts rather than simply consumers

Levels of the Model
  • Leve1 Learning to be a code-breaker
  • At this level the basic skills of reading may be
  • Level 2 Learning to be a textparticipant
  • At this level students may develop genre
    knowledge, back-ground knowledge and
    comprehension knowledge

Uses of the Model
  • Level 3 Learning to be a textuser
  • Students use texts to participate in social and
    cultural activities or for further learning
  • Level 4 Learning to be a text analyst
  • At this level students critically analyse how the
    text positions (i.e., creates identities for)
    groups and people and has purposes and objectives

Uses of the Model
  • An important point is that literacy instruction
    can cover all four levels and one level is not
    pre-requisite for the next
  • The aim of a reading programme should be to move
    students gradually towards a "critical" dimension
    of literacy and to develop literacy skills in
    each of the four resource areas

Teaching Strategies
  • All four roles need to be taught systematically
    and explicitly, and crafted by the professionally
    well informed teacher
  • Teachers should explore how all strategies and
    materials available might be used to build
    literacy skills at each of the four resource

Example 1 Printed Fiction
  • Fairy Tale Snow White

Sample Tasks for Snow White
  • Level 1 Language decoding (of words, phrases,
    language features, stylistic features of the
  • Find ten adjectives that describe each of the
    main characters
  • Explain how these adjectives help you understand
    the characters personalities, special styles or

Snow White
  • Level 2 Comprehension of key content of the text
  • What are the main problems encountered by the
    main character in the text?
  • How does he/she overcome the problem?
  • What does this tell us about life or how we
    should face difficulties?

Snow White
  • Level 3 Tasks related to active use of texts in
    real-life situations
  • If you are to meet with the author (director) of
    this story (movie), what questions are you going
    to ask him/her?  Why?
  • If you are to turn this text into a radio drama,
    what changes will you make (e.g., to include
    which main problems and solutions to include
    which main characters only)? Why? Explain your
    selections and decisions.

Snow White
  • Level 4 Tasks related to critical understanding
    of the social and cultural messages (both spoken
    and unspoken) conveyed by the text
  • Why are the male and female characters described
    in such a way in the story/movie? 
  • What are the cultural and social assumptions
    about women (e.g., the main female character is
    to be rescued by a prince and cannot help

Snow White
  • If you can get into a time machine and meet with
    Snow White, what 3 objects  will you bring her
    and why?
  • e.g., anti-wrinkle/aging cream for she might lose
    the love of the prince when she grows old
    whitening skin care products for she has to keep
    her skin white to be beautiful… 

Snow White
  • If you are to write a sequel to the movie or
    story of Snow White, what would be the storyline?
    Why do you have such a story as a sequel?
  • e.g., the sequel might be about what happens to
    Snow White and her family after marriage, after
    getting children, and so on… 

Example 2 Movie
  • Synopsis
  • After her husband leaves her, Roberta Guaspari
    (Streep) struggles to find a job and take care of
    her two sons
  • When she bumps into an old friend (Quinn), he
    tells her of a high school that might need a
    music teacher
  • She meets with the school's principal (Bassett)
    and states her desire to teach the children the
  • Hollywood Movie
  • Music of the Heart (1999)
  • Actors Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn, Gloria Estefan

Music of the Heart
  • The principal rejects her, citing lack of funding
    as one of the many excuses why it could never
  • Persistently, she eventually breaks her down and
    fights to establish a solid, effective violin
  • Ten years later, the program has spread to other
    schools and is a smashing success
  • When funds are once again cut and the program is
    threatened for real, Roberta uses connections to
    get the injustice printed in the New York Times
  • A benefit concert ensues at Carnegie Hall,
    featuring appearances of such luminaries as
    Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, and Arnold Steinhardt

Music of the Heart
  • Tasks related to language decoding
  • Find ten expressions that Roberta used to praise
    her students and ten expressions that she used to
    admonish her students (level 1)
  • If you were her students, which expressions would
    you like and why? (levels 1,2,4)

Music of the Heart
  • Why did her students want her to switch back to
    her harsh speaking style? (level 1)
  • If you were her students, would you like her to
    use a harsh or an indirect speaking style when
    teaching you? Why? (levels 1/ 2/4) What do you
    think about the different cultural styles of
    teaching in other countries (e.g. Hong Kong)?
    (level 4)

Music of the Heart
  • Nick (Son) said to Roberta (Mum),
  • Whats up?
  • Roberta, Youre up.
  • Please discuss the meanings of the above dialogue
    (level 1/2)
  • Can you find other word puns / interesting
    dialogues in the movie? What are their
    implications? (level 1/2)
  • Can you make up several extra fun dialogues for
    the movie yourself? (level 3)

Music of the Heart
  • Tasks related to social conditions/problems
  • Tell ten problems that Roberta has come across
    when teaching her students in a poor inner city
    school in East Harlem, New York (levels 1/2)
  • What do these problems tell us about the family
    and social conditions of poor minority children
    in inner city schools in the United States?
    (level 4)

Music of the Heart
  • Why did Nain (the Black schoolboy)s mum refuse
    to let her son learn violin? (levels 1/2)
  • Why did she think Roberta is a pompous white
    woman who thought who had come to rescue her son?
    (level 1/2)
  • Do you think certain music genres or music
    instruments belong to one ethnic group and not
    others, and certain music styles and instruments
    are seen as higher than others? Why?
  • (level 4)

Music of the Heart
  • Why do some Blacks in the United States hold
    negative attitudes towards White people and their
  • Does something similar happen in Hong Kong (e.g.,
    among ethnic minorities in HK)?
  • Can music cut across race lines and social
    classes and touch the hearts of different
  • How can we help make this happen?
  • (all at level 4)

Music of the Heart
  • Tasks related to gender images/ relations
  • Mum, Thank Charles for this.
  • Roberta, Why, why thank him for this?
  • Mum, If he had not left you, nothing of this
    would have happened.
  • Discuss this dialogue between Roberta and her
    mum. What is the message of this dialogue?
    (levels 1/2/4)
  • In your views, what counts as a happy/fulfilling
    life for a woman in modern society? Why? (level 4)

Music of the Heart
  • Whats the difference between Brian and Roberta
    in their views about love relations?
  • Why did Roberta ask Brian to leave her and her
  • If you were Roberta, would you do that?
  • Try to write up a story for Brian and Roberta
  • What do you think an ideal relationship between a
    man and a woman should be like? Why?
  • (Levels 1 to 4)

Music of the Heart
  • Why did Robertas sons place a dating ad for
    their mum?
  • What kind of social expectations do they seem to
    hold of a single mum?
  • Do you agree with their social norms and
    expectations about a single mum?
  • (levels 1/2/4)

Music of the Heart
  • Is Roberta a stronger woman at the end of the
    movie than at the beginning?
  • If yes, in what ways is she stronger?
  • What has made her strong?
  • What decisions did she make that made her strong?
  • (levels 1/2/4)

Music of the Heart
  • Tasks related to active use and critical analysis
    of texts
  • What do you think of the ending? Do you think
    Roberta should be dating the university
    professor? Why and why not?
  • What do you want the ending to be? How will you
    re-write it and why?
  • If you are to choose a song for Roberta, which
    song would you choose and why?
    (levels 3/4)

Your Task 1 Movie
  • I Not Stupid (1999)
  • Actors
  • Jack Neo
  • Xiang Yun
  • Huang Po Ju
  • Shawn Lee
  • Theme song 1
  • Theme song 2

I Not Stupid
  • Synopsis
  • Kok Pin, Boon Hock and Terry are classmates in
  • In Singapore, that means that at the age of 12,
    the government has decided that they are not as
    academically inclined as their peers who have
    been placed in an express or normal stream

I Not Stupid
  • Kok Pin is creative and a born artist but his
    parents would like him to focus on his Math and
  • Boon Hock comes from a poor family and needs to
    balance school and help out at the hawker stall
  • Terry, a spoilt brat is just too lazy a student

I Not Stupid
  • While the three children suffer from the pressure
    of school, their parents have another set of
  • Kok Pin's mother is passed over for a promotion
    because she does not have a university degree
  • His father, a Chinese advertising copywriter is
    struggling to move ahead at work where Caucasians
    and the English language mean authority at most
    advertising agencies

I Not Stupid
  • When Terry's father goes to an agency to seek
    advertising help for his ailing business due to a
    newly opened "Ba Gua" (Pork Jerky) store from
    Taiwan, he opts for a creative plan from the
    Creative Director rather than a better campaign
    by Kok Pin's father because of an unpleasant
    encounter with Kok Pin's father earlier
  • Terry's father family business runs into a crisis
    when a competitive "Ba Gua" company from Taiwan
    sets up a chain of shops in Singapore

I Not Stupid
  • The Chinese New Year "Ba Gua" campaign ends up in
    a mess
  • Kok Pin's father decides to help Terry's father
    and convinces him to try his campaign. It was a
    big success

Designing Activities
  • Please design some tasks/activities for the
    movie, applying the same model
  • Discuss the objectives of each task you designed
    for the student
  • Did you encounter any difficulties in planning
    the tasks/activities? How did you tackle them?

Useful Materials
  • Online resources for I Not Stupid
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//

Useful Materials
  • Online resources for Shrek (2001)

Your Task 2
  • Please choose one printed text (e.g. stories,
    fairy tales, fables or other genres) and design 4
    related tasks/activities, again using the
    Four-Resources Model
  • Share your experiences with other participants
    (e.g. where can you find the resources/materials,
    what are the limitations..)
  • How can you teach the 4-resources model to your
    students and encourage them to develop tasks
    based on texts? (e.g., one group designing tasks
    for another group to do, or as a competition…)

References Websites
  • http// (The language of film)
  • http//
    ndex.htm (School wide literacy programme at
  • Freebody, P., Luke, A. (1990). Literacy
    programs Debates and demands in cultural
    context. Prospect Australian Journal of TESOL,
    5(7), 7-16.
  • Luke, A., Freebody, P. (1999). Further notes on
    the Four Resources Model. http//www.readingonline

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