Oxford Smart Thinking - Skills For Critical Understanding And Writing

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Plenty of ELT materials now include prompts and activities designed to foster students’ critical-thinking (CT) skills.

I work with teenage students, and two questions that tend to crop up when the heading ‘critical thinking’ appears on the page are 1) By the end of the class I sometimes find that I am asking myself the same questions, too.

These blind spots occur most frequently when we conflate language comprehension with full understanding, and are satisfied with mere surface comprehension.

Knowing the meaning of the vocabulary and the sense of every sentence is sometimes not enough.

Your knowledge of the work of others should help you to develop your thinking, and this influence should be apparent in your own work.' The ability to think critically is an important skill when approaching the question of research and particularly the use of the Internet as a research tool in schools.

Learning to use the Internet safely and successfully is considered by some to be a vital element of education in contemporary society.Laurillard (1993), for example, contends: “student learning is not just about acquiring high level knowledge.The way students handle that knowledge is what really concerns academics.” That is, students need to become effective critical thinkers and successful problem-solvers able to display flexibility and adaptability in their management of workplace and social change (e.g. Critical understanding develops through analytical and independent thought and is considered an increasingly important element of the education process as students progress to higher and further education.Critical understanding is a cerebral mode of comprehension, it is a way of thinking, and thus is not dependent upon external expression.For further thoughts and practical ideas, you can watch my free webinar! Edmund Dudley is a teacher trainer, materials writer and teacher of English with more than 25 years of classroom experience.Based in Budapest, he has extensive experience of teaching EFL at both primary and secondary levels.He works with teachers from around the world as a freelance teacher trainer and as a tutor at the University of Oxford’s ELT Summer Seminar.He is the author of ETpedia Teenagers (2018, Pavilion Publishing) and co-author of Mixed-Ability Teaching (2015, Oxford University Press).This is particularly pertinent to outside-the-classroom situations, especially when dealing with social media posts and unverifiable sources. There is something to be said for being critical of critical-thinking itself, especially in ELT contexts.Being aware of the ambiguity is the first step; having strategies with which to resolve it is the second step. Nevertheless, here are some of the real-life benefits that I feel can be had from a smart and sensitive use of CT in the language classroom For example: Find and share instances of texts designed to influence and manipulate – it might be from a news source, advertising, or social media; ask students to find, analyse and share further examples that they have found themselves.


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