Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

Promoting Critical Pedagogy in Language Education

Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

Promoting Critical Pedagogy in Language Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

The research assumes that critical thinking in Essay writing expands the learning experience and makes the language more meaningful for the learners - a vehicle through which they can gradually discover themselves in the process of language learning. Lipman (2003) says that it is responsibility of the teachers to develop critical thinking in the students other than pushing them from one educational level to the next. Brown (2004) proposes that the objectives of a curriculum in an ideal academic English program should go beyond linguistic factors, and to develop the art of critical thinking. Language teaching strategy requires pushing the learners further up through the progression represented by Bloom (1956). Critical thinking matters in language learning, and demonstrates that English is regarded as an international language; there is a great need for its users and learners to be critical in their learning and using of the language (Thadphoothon 2002)

Fairclough (2001) comments that no significant advances have been made in terms of critical awareness of language, which endorses to reform ELT pedagogy to brush up the learners' metalinguistic ability. The present research aims to promote critical thinking through English Essay Writing (EEW), and it also suggests how to develop critical thinking pedagogy. The research measures critical thinking in EEW over five areas as:

i) Clarity of writing

ii) Analysis of author's argument

iii) Use of supporting information

iv) Organization of ideas (Coherence and Cohesion)

v) Grammar and syntax accuracy

Critical thinking is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth and fairness.

Background

Today, the world needs people with qualities of critical thinking to meet up the growing challenges; whereas, the education system in most of the countries is mere examination driven (siddiqui 2007).The empirical findings reflect that the teachers subconsciously provide the pedagogy of answers to the learners (Kabilan 2000). Eventually, the teachers deny the learners the opportunities and the rights to question, and the learners are abandoned to reason and reflect higher order thoughts (Freiré 1973; Bruss et al 1985). Paul et al (1993) pointed out in a survey study on "Critical Thinking Pedagogy in Twelfth Grade Composition" held in California that only 9% of the teachers of K-12 bring critical thinking in their teaching and assessment. Patry (1996) concludes in a research that critical thinking is not supported and taught in the classroom instructions. The main reasons for this shortcoming are: (a) the teachers are not educated in critical thinking (b) there are less number of standard textbooks available on critical thinking, and (c) the teachers have no time and other instructional resources to integrate critical thinking into their daily instruction (Astleitner 2002 and Petri 2002). These shortcomings count a lot, because critical thinking is highly correlated with students' achievements. The learners may become proficient in English language if they are motivated and taught how to display critical thinking in English language usage, which signifies that the learners must be reflective in their production of ideas, and they may critically support them with logical details and examples. For this, the teachers need to revamp their pedagogical views, and to adapt a more flexible attitude in the existing system of language education in order to exploit the metalinguistic abilities of the learners. Mirman (1988) and Scanlan (2006) suggest that critical thinking skills should be embedded in the subject matter and woven into language education.

Although powerfully advocated by the scholars cited above, among many such voices, critical thinking yet does not seem to have an explicit role in language education. …

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