home (ru)
personal pages (ru)


(c) Alexander Sokol, Riga, 2000, contacts@thinking-approach.org

Preliminary Points
How to Choose a Text
Functions of Tasks
Types of Tasks

Texts Samples
Tasks to the Texts
Students’ Works

Students' Responses



Task 1 (The Problem Situation Model)

Daria Saharova (Form 11)


Model 1

Model 2

1.        He’s ‘one of these very yellow guys’;

2.        He’s afraid of pain;

3.        He’s not self-confident;

4.        He’s afraid not to be taken seriously;

a.        His parents were very tough, so he felt no possibility to express his feelings or to express himself;

b.       His father used to hit him, so he’s frightened of pain;

c.        Such a situation could have already existed. He had bad experience and doesn’t want to repeat it.

d.       He has no sexual experience, so he’s not self-confident in any other field;

e.        People always love at him, no matter what he’s doing;



1.        He wants to hit in case he wants to put off his tension;

2.        He wants t show his power to make everybody respect him;

3.        He thinks that hitting is the only way to solve problems;

4.        He is angry because of not being understood by people;

a.        Perhaps his father used to hit his mother;

b.       No satisfaction in life; doubts about the future;

c.        Poor and difficult childhood;

d.       He wants to revenge himself on anybody who didn’t know any troubles in their childhood.


Mary Dobrovolska (Form 10)


Model 1

Model 2

·         Holden doesn’t give much of a damn if he loses his gloves (‘One of my troubles is I never care too much when I lose something’);

·         Holden hates fist fights (‘I can’t stand looking at the other guy’s face, it is my trouble…!’)

·         Maybe he’s really  a bit yellow. Maybe. Maybe not. Here I disagree with Holden because I know his future – that isn’t fair of mine but I really know1.  Let’s take the situation in the hotel, for example. Holden doesn’t behave like a yellow guy! (I mean the situation when Sunny and this Maurice come to get their five bucks, do you remember?) But, as I said, this will happen and now Holden thinks that he’s yellow.)

·         He hates phony guys! So, he would like to sock the guy in the jaw sooner because of the phoniness than because of these goddam gloves!

·         Well, yellow people don’t usually want to be yellow – so Holden figures himself as a hotshot and brave guy because he doesn’t want to be yellow (as I said, in my opinion he isn’t…)

·         Maybe he’s already been in a situation like this – ‘one never knows’, as the Little Prince says… So, maybe Holden doesn’t want to repeat old mistakes, he isn’t satisfied with himself and he wants to become ‘better’.



Renata Kazak (Form 10)


Model 1

Model 2

·         The narrator wants to show how manly and courageous he is;

·         The narrator wants to overcome his fear. Maybe he wants to be like these supermen: Stallone, Van Damme and Chan;

·         The narrator wants to show the thief who is the master here;

·         The narrator wants his gloves back;

·         The narrator wants to scare the thief so that the thief would never try to steal anything again.

·         The narrator is afraid that he might be hit. He doesn’t want to have problems.

·         The narrator knows that the thief is very strong and has a gang;

·         The narrator can’t fight;

·         The narrator has already been in such a situation;

·         The narrator is not a ‘real man’, he’s a kind of mom’s son’. Perhaps he didn’t have a father who could teach him to be a real man and how to fight;

·         The narrator is a very quite man, he doesn’t want to hit anybody.  



Task 2 & 3 (The Contradiction Model)


Daria Saharova (Form 11)

Model 1


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         He wouldn’t be rude or cruel;

·         He wouldn’t hit the thief, so no fight would take place è He would feel no pain.


·         He would ruin his reputation and everybody will think he is a snivel è His self-confidence could be hit è He could lose belief in himself.

·         Someone may think that to steal from this person is so easy that it’s probably a good idea to make it happen;

·         He could make everybody laugh at him (boys at his age suffer from laughing very much)

·         The problem wouldn’t be solved;

·         This situation would be nerve-racking.


Model 2


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         The thief would return the gloves;

·         Guys would respect him because he could protect himself;

·         The problem wouldn’t exist any longer;

·         Nobody would try to steal things from his again;

·         Girls would like him more (than Stradlater for example2);

·         If he made it once, he would be more self-confident, more powerful to protect himself.

·         The thief could turn out stronger, so he would get beaten;

·         He could start thinking that hitting each other is the best way to solve problems;

·         Friends of the thief could start making a psychological pressure on him or even beat him up;

·         He may become very aggressive in his attitude to people;

·         He would probably feel the very pain he’s afraid of.


Mary Dobrovolska (Form 10)

Model 1


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         Holden gets his gloves back without fighting;

·         Nobody’s injured or something. This is a very ‘healthy’ way of behaviour – without fighting.

·         Holden isn’t satisfied with himself: that’s not the way he would like to behave;

·         The crook’s unpunished;

·         The crook keeps no respect to Holden, he surely thinks of him as a yellow guy;

·         Holden solves the problem just partly – he isn’t fighting his own yellowness.


Model 2


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         Holden’s satisfied with himself. He fought his own yellowness and he won;

·         The crook sees that Holden’s able to show who is the boss of the situation. The crook respects Holden – even if he doesn’t show it. ‘We are the champions’, as Mr. Mercury said…J

·         Holden gets his gloves back. Hopefully.

·         A couple of new bruises and scratches on both sides;

·         For Holden – problems with other guys. Perhaps there’s a gang behind the crook. Holden is more such an outsider at Pency, so he will get big problems if the thief has ‘friends’. So, new enemies for Holden.

·         Problems with the headmaster of Pency, for the crook will tell them a story about this stupid Holden who started beating him. The poor guy;

·         Perhaps Holden may face problems with the parents of the guy.


Renata Kazak (Form 10)

Model 1


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         The narrator won’t be hurt;

·         Maybe the thief will understand how kind and nice the narrator is. He will be ashamed and give the stolen gloves back.


·         The narrator will show how cowardly he is; The thief will think that the narrator can’t do anything to him. So, the thief may steal anything he wants and the narrator won’t hurt him;

·         The narrator won’t have a girlfriend, because women like strong men who will protect them. Women don’t need a man who can’t even tell someone he is a bastard;

·         Everyone will call the narrator a coward. People will mock him.


Model 2


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         The narrator will be proud of himself;

·         If he hits the thief so hard that the thief will have to spend 3 months in  hospital, then everybody will be afraid of the strong narrator, people will respect him, make friends with him;

·         He will have a girlfriend. His girlfriend will know that her boyfriend is very strong and will protect her.

·         If the thief has a band, the narrator may be beaten very hard;

·         People will think that the narrator is very greedy. Maybe it's not necessary to fight just because of some gloves.



Task 4 (The Ideality Model)

Daria Saharova (Form 11)


Holden returns his gloves, hits the thief and feels no pain after doing it.



Task 5 (Complex application of skills)

– all those practiced in previous tasks to this text; literature as ‘pickled experience’; ZSTL

Daria Saharova (Form 11)

Maybe this situation would not sound very serious to you, however it was a real problem for me and my dance team.

We took a new person to dance with and it was very important to make her stay with us as long as possible. W had a lot of plans to come true, still some of them appeared before she joined us. So, neither she nor anybody else knew about them as they would be a lot of problems if they learn about it at the wrong time. Some day she came and said, ‘Let’s do the stuff’. She didn’t say that she already knew we had done it without her. The thing was that she had such a terrible character she if she found out we had really done it without her, she would have left us 100%. The best thing was to tell her the truth (Model 2), however we (me) didn’t have the guts to do it. (Model 1)


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         No further explanations why we didn’t tell her earlier;

·         We didn’t make her feel hurt, so she didn’t leave us what was the most important.

·         Lies led to lies, led to lies, etc.

·         If she already knew the truth when she was asking (just wanted a confirmation), it would make ever a more negative impact on the relationships;

·         The moment when it was possible to explain the situation had passed;

·         The project has almost been completed up to that moment, so she would see it anyway è she may ask why we used her idea without her ;


Ideal Final Result: we tell her the truth, she accepts our explanations, doesn’t want to join the project, doesn’t feel offended and stays with us. (Model 3)



1.        We should tell her the truth because it would be honest, and we shouldn’t because it would break our relationship and she would leave the team.

2.        We should tell her a lot of things because she’s a member of out group, but we shouldn’t tell her as she couldn’t join a lot of out projects.


Mary Dobrovolska (Form 10)

A situation in a tram. There are just a few people there, it’s late. I’m alone. I’m reading. A group of teenagers get on. They’re too loud. Especially for a tram. They are too jolly somehow. .. ecstasy? Alcohol? Possible. At least they behave like that. Their language… I could include some phrases into my project as a chapter – slang of teenagers in Riga. Rare taboo words.

‘Hey, folks! Am I allowed to read?? Couldja4 shut up now?!!’  These just thoughts, though… I would like to tell them to shut up but I don’t have the guts to do it. They’re 7 or 8 people – a bit too much for a girl who isn’t a pro in taekwondo or sth…

People in the tram behave as if they neither hear  nor see anything. Of course, that’s safe, “I don’t see anything! I don’t hear anything! They irritate me a bit but I don’t show them that, I don’t want trouble…” etc.

Surely they would like to see somebody stop them, but they will never do the damn thing themselves. Bastards!

‘Hey! Wake up! They’re cool until somebody stops them! Some people! Not somebody like me! I know, you’ll turn  away if I talk to them now, you’ll probably pretend to be blind and deaf!’ – just thoughts again…

Well, what I would like to do, I would like to come up and to ask them to shut up… (Model 2)

But I would probably just keep sitting there and reading my book. And thinking gloomily what I would like to do… to say… I would probably pretend to be ‘not myself’ – like the others… (Model 1)   


Model 1


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         I don’t have any trouble;

·         I get off  the next station and go home. That isn’t my problem…

·         I feel lousy. I feel that I had to do something., but I didn’t…

·         The gang in the tram haven’t found out that they behaved somehow… well, badly…


Model 2


Desirable positive consequences

Undesirable negative consequences

·         I proved myself that I can. If I want. Of course, sometimes it’s difficult to prove one’s case but if it’s really necessary…

·         Well, it’s possible that I would have succeeded to calm the ‘nice gang’ down. Some people might have supported me. That would have been swell, really.

·         Well, this isn’t the most ‘healthy’ way to solve a problem like this… I mean, people tend to become dangerous if they’re affected by drugs or alcohol. Then there’s this ‘gregarious instinct’ too…

·         Well, all that could also mean that I got into a trouble… You know, it’s quite a dangerous thing – to stay in one’s path if this ‘one’ is gang of ‘high’ teenagers…


Model 3

The gang must shut up themselves – without anybody forcing them to do it.


But here I got stuck somehow because there appeared such a question: when is it of any use to have the guts to do something and when is it better to have no guts to do something?..

I came to the conclusion that I almost always have the guts to do things. In case I’m sure that I’m right, of course. Surely there exist a lot of things/situations when I really wouldn’t have the guts, but they are in most cases useless or something. I mean, for instance, I wouldn’t have the guts to commit suicide or to kill somebody etc. So, but is it necessary for me to do it???

So, it’s the same here: I would like to tell them to shut up but here it’s really better to have no guts to do it – in my opinion. Is it of any use to talk to people who are drunk or ‘high’?

Of course, I could think of an ideal solution like ‘they leave by themselves’ or something, but this is the case where I’m quite unable to change something much. Well, I must come to this conclusion if I use my brain a bit. For a change.

So, you know, I like challenges, of course, but if somebody tells me I wouldn’t have the guts to jump from the rood of hotel ‘Latvia’, I’ll admit I wouldn’t. Isn’t it natural to have no guts to do something?5


Renata Kazak (Form 10)

There was one boy in our class. Gush! I hated him. Once he told me something very unpleasant. I felt very insulted. I wanted to ask him why he had done it and hit him as hard as possible. But I didn’t. He was such an idiot, he could hit me back

What was good about my decision not to hit the guy?

·         He didn’t hit me back;

·         Everybody supported me (even boys, his friends)


What was bad?

·         He wasn’t in a bad mood;

·         He thought he could always do such things to me;

·         I felt bad, because I didn’t do anything to make him feel sorry.


What could have been god if I had hit that guy?

·         He would have got everything he deserved;

·         He wouldn’t have done that again;

·         He would have known who I was;


What could have been negative?

·         He might have hit me back;

·         He would have tried to do everything to irritate me;

·         We would have become worst enemies.

1 – Here’s an example of one of the advantages of the approach. Some students take an interest in the book after reading the excerpts and decide to read the whole of the book. They do it themselves and they usually like the book. The latter is very important as school memories of literature are usually highly negative among most students. 

2 – Stradlater who is another character in Salinger’s book is not mentioned in the given text. However, the student was able to draw parallels with the text she had read and worked upon earlier. Ability to understand intertextual relationships is an important skill to master if one wants to deal with modern literature and art in general.

3 – a wish to formulate a contradiction is one of the key features which distinguishes strong thinking.

4  – here and in some other parts of Mary’s writing it’s easy to see the influence of Salinger’s language. Incorporation of a writer’s language into one own’s writing, especially if this particular language is relevant here – and this is the situation with Mary’s phrase, is one of important functions of reading for language learning.

5  – it’s very important when students can develop tasks and express some additional ideas, share some new conclusions they have come to.




(ñ) 1997-2000 OTSM-TRIZ Technologies Center


21 Nov 2000