“The Catcher in the Mind”: Stimulating Students’ Critical Thinking in an American Literature Class

Slovakia, ID LLCE2015-140

“The Catcher in the Mind”:  Stimulating Students’ Critical Thinking in an American Literature Class

 

In McLuhan’s global “webllage” built on the foundations of information bytes accessible to everyone at anytime, critical thinking is a must. Despite the fact that in university education, literature is often trivialized for having no practical significance, the present paper argues that using literary texts in teaching future TEFL graduates can stimulate their critical thinking skills, which are highly necessary in their on-coming career. Drawing on an in-class experience, the paper discusses problem-solving, logical reasoning, metacognition and other critical thinking skills which, once applied in a literature-related course, have the capacity of enhancing students’ language skills, increase their motivation to learn (and to teach) a foreign language, and guide them on how to think critically. In Holden Caulfield’s rhetoric, literature might prove to be an effective “catcher in the student’s mind”.

Key words: American literature, critical thinking, EFL teachers, problem solving, motivation