About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3748-3755
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

INVESTIGATING THE NEW TREND IN RESEARCHING THE EFFECTS OF CRITICAL THINKING INTERVENTIONS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM

H. Alnofaie

Newcastle University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Considerable interest has recently emerged in applying the Critical Thinking Approach in foreign language classrooms. This approach is believed to be the key to effective learning. It promotes learners’ abilities to verbalise their critical thinking skills in another language and increases their awareness of their own learning (Lin and Mackay, 2004). In the field of teaching and learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL), studies have examined infusing critical thinking into different language skills from a positivist standpoint, through employing pre- and post- measures (e.g. Erkaya, 2005; Correia, 2006; Yang, 2009). Existing studies have narrowed down their focus to developing learners’ achievement levels and overlooked learners’ engagement at the affective and metacognitive levels. Recent trends in educational research encourage investigating classroom interventions from a qualitative standpoint (Burden and Nichols, 2000). Qualitative methodology would lead to deeper understanding of learning and its associated phenomena than the statistical representations would do (ibid). This paper presents results obtained from a naturalistic inquiry study conducted by the author to understand individuals’ experiences with learning EFL while participating in critical thinking lessons. The study was carried out in one semester (Feb- May 2011). Learners’ perceptions of learning are the main focus of this study.

To gain more insights about how individuals perceive learning, this case study focused on five female college students who have enrolled the compulsory English language programme in a Saudi university, before starting their undergraduate degrees. The 12 lessons have been introduced as complementary lessons in the listening and speaking course. The primary research method was interviews which have been conducted at three different phases. The researcher interviewed the participants before, while and after the critical thinking lessons. To empower learners and help them to voice their views, interviews followed the form of task-based interviews. Such interviews allowed students to reflect on moments of their engagement with learning. The study has reached interesting findings about what might engage or obstruct learners while learning in the classroom. In general, the participants hold positive attitudes towards learning English through critical thinking discussions. The critical thinking lessons provided them with opportunities to generate arguments. Speaking of individual differences, the interviews revealed that learners had different task preferences and changes in participants’ perceptions about learning were identified. Interestingly, all the participants agreed that their participation in the debriefing phase at the end of every lesson was not satisfactory. They were hesitant to openly reflect on the lessons in front of the teacher as this might negatively affect her attitude about the students.

The present study goes hand in hand with the recent calls for having more focus on the qualitative exploration of classroom interventions. Although learners value learning through the critical thinking approach, taking part in the debriefing session was a threat to them. Hopefully, the findings in the present study would benefit curriculum designers and language teachers in Saudi Arabia who are interested in implementing the critical thinking approach with EFL learners.
@InProceedings{ALNOFAIE2011INV,
author = {Alnofaie, H.},
title = {INVESTIGATING THE NEW TREND IN RESEARCHING THE EFFECTS OF CRITICAL THINKING INTERVENTIONS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {3748-3755}}
TY - CONF
AU - H. Alnofaie
TI - INVESTIGATING THE NEW TREND IN RESEARCHING THE EFFECTS OF CRITICAL THINKING INTERVENTIONS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 3748
EP - 3755
ER -
H. Alnofaie (2011) INVESTIGATING THE NEW TREND IN RESEARCHING THE EFFECTS OF CRITICAL THINKING INTERVENTIONS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 3748-3755.
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