Critical Thinking vs. Languages (part II)

This is the extension of the discussion on “Critical Thinking vs. Languages” (part I). The follow up comments to the previous post raised the question on how students’ CT can be fostered in school settings. To answer it we will look at how different scholars have reported on building students’ thinking skill in schools. By now, the promotion of CT in education has been asserted to be a convoluted process of rigor attention, demanding a lot of resources and energies, rather than the issue constrained by a single subject.

Last decade studies on facilitating critical thinking in teaching have broadened the scope, requiring the alliance of school administration, teacher performance, and education curriculum in promoting CT. Tomilison (as cited in McCollister & Sayler, 2010) points that “whether enrolled in preschool, elementary, middle, or high school, the integration of critical thinking skills into the daily content and lessons is essential” for education system (p. 41). Tsai, Chen, Chan, & Chang (2013) found that enhancing student’ critical thinking in science classes not only helped students understand the scientific process, but also increased students’ resourceful and inquiry skills. Waraporn, Kowat & Anan (2016) proposed the two stages development program for primary school teachers. The primary school teachers who volunteered to this longitudinal development program, reached “the highest” level critical thinking ability and demonstrated the readiness to adjust it to their teaching. Paul & Elder (2008) stress that “there is no perfect technique for fostering critical thinking, no ideal method for engaging the intellects of students” and propose that “discipline thinkers need a good deal of active thinking” (p. 34). The authors see classroom thinking experience in CT as “spoon feeding passive activity”, keeping in mind that it goes beyond even regular thinking practice inside school (p. 35).

Additionally, the number of recent works have shown how critical thinking can be facilitated in EFL (English as a foreign language) classroom (Ordem, 2017; Zhao, Pandian,  Singh, 2016; Yimwilai, 2015; Zhou, Jiang & Yao, 2015;). None of them claims that it is the only subject where the CT should be the focus. Moreover, in congruent with Paul & Elder (2008) it is even less than “spoon feed” to fill the need for students’ CT. It must be realized that critical thinking does not only entail an individual teacher or a subject, it is a scrutinized cooperative work of all school units towards one bigger goal.

Kazakhstan is now depositing much on the implementation of trilingual policy. Apparently, human and material resources are not fathomless. Reasonable and expedient spending on what is really important will not only save our energy, it will ensure better life for citizens, because how we live our lives hinges upon how we think more than how many languages we speak.

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