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Personal Letter of Reference
Character Reference Letter Template 2
IHWO Writing Portfolio - Level 6 Upper Intermediate
© International House World Organisation Writing Portfolio - Level 6 Upper Intermediate
Character Reference
Aim: Learners write a positive description of a friend to a potential employer.
Topic: Applying for a new job
Writing Sub-skill: Phrasing things positively
Language Focus: Describing character
Materials: Sample character reference letter
Character profiles
Pre-Task Time: 25 mins
Post-Task Time: 15 mins
Concept: Being tactful is a useful skill (as, it could be argued, is bare-faced lying) and this task
aims to develop learners’ abilities to phrase negative things in a positive way.
Before writing their own reference, learners look at an example and discuss how it
manages to recommend a fairly unlikeable character convincingly.
Pre-Task Procedure:
1 Ask learners if they have ever had to write/request a character reference about/from a friend. Was it
easy to write If not, elicit when a character reference might be requested and whether learners would ask
for character references for new staff if they were an employer.
2 Give out the example character reference letter. Learners should read it and think about what question
each paragraph answers. In feedback, tell learners to write the following questions next to the appropriate
paragraph: How do you know the person What do you know about them personally Why do you
recommend this person
3 Hand out the mini character profiles and ask pairs to decide for which character the reference has been
written (Audrey Edwards). Learners will probably notice the discrepancy between the glowing reference and
the more negative language of the profile. If not, elicit this and ask learners to underline the phrases in the
letter which have couched Audrey’s negative qualities in a positive light.
4 Pairs look at the other characters and think of how they could phrase their negative traits more positively.
Feedback and help learners develop their ideas. Encourage learners to make notes at this stage.
Task Procedure:
1 Learners write a character reference letter for one of the characters. They should follow the structure
from the example letter. Remind learners to make the reference wholly positive.
Post-Task Procedure:
1 Learners read each other’s references and match them to the character profiles.
2 Collect in the character references and mark them according to the Task Specific Mark Scheme. Write
in - where you think learners have been too negative. Tick every good character adjective or description
where learners have managed to make a negative into a positive.
3 Encourage learners to rewrite their character references to learn from their mistakes and remind them to
be as positive as possible.
4 Re-mark second drafts quickly, praising improvements wherever possible.
5 Record final marks for the task in the learners’ Writing Portfolios.
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