I’ve been thinking about meta-task recently. That is, the point of doing something. I recently created the task below for my year 10 class.

On the surface this seems OK to me. It isn’t just lots of the same thing, questions increase in difficulty and type by row (whilst still allowing a little bit of practice in each set) however it definitely lacks DRIVE and motivation to complete it.

I usually have a few tricks to work around this. One of these is using a code breaker. I have adapted these tasks from ‘Collect A Joke’ type activities. I like a collect a joke, but often the task is ruined by students just guessing the words. I’ve tried to mitigate against this by having the code be an assortment of letters and numbers. It still has the problem of one person getting the answer and sharing it, though, thus making everyone immediately stop trying to work out the answer.

Another thing I use a lot is ‘find the odd one out’. I think this works really well, however I can’t do this for every single task.

Maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe well designed questions that draw out learning are engaging in their own right, and by adding in ‘meta-tasks’ I’m making my lessons less about the objective I’m trying to teach that lesson.

I’d appreciate any thoughts that people have. Do you have any meta-tasks you like, or do you think meta-tasks are wrong?

If you click the menu at the top, or do a search, you can find all the lesson slides I’ve been talking about.

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