The Portuguese story task can be described as follows...

goal: communicative with more than one possible outcome; no specific information needs to be conveyed to reach the goal
process: discussion of short story; genre is a mix of academic discussion and conversation
topic: content about a short story (which presumably mentions shoes), however not defined precisely so the topic can shift between personal and impersonal topics
location: all in the same computer lab
timing: some time for planning individual comments, but discussion limited by the class period
participants: the instructor and learners
roles: instructor controls aspects of task such as the goal and location, but not the topic which is only loosely controlled and partially negotiated by the learners and instructor (who assumes the status equal to the students when the discussion is underway); other facets of the roles are negotiated among the learners
relationships: learners know each other through the class and are probably members of the same cultural group; they are likely to have divergent task goals
knowledge: learners vary in their knowledge of the topic (depending on their reading and understanding of the story); learners are familiar with the task from this class; learners' language is good enough to sustain discussion of the story
interest: learners are interested in the topic and the task


Return to the language of the Portuguese story task