Reading and critical thinking in EFL Classroom

Prof. Zuzana Straková, University of Presov, Slovakia

Abstract: Reading in a foreign language not only enables students to acquire new vocabulary and to deepen their understanding of the language, but also offers the development of key competences for active citizens of the 21st century, such as the ability to think critically and to judge the facts they encounter. In this way, working with the text takes on a deeper meaning and offers students the space to analyse and critically evaluate the facts they are confronted with and through this experience. They also learn how to respond and produce texts in which they can present their own critical thinking. This presentation offers examples of practices that can be used to support the development of students' critical thinking together with the development of reading and writing in a foreign language. It also presents the results of the study of the space devoted to the development of critical thinking in language classrooms. The study involved a questionnaire survey among students of three secondary schools with the aim to identify how much attention the teachers pay to the development of critical thinking. The results suggest that the space devoted to the development of critical thinking is rather limited, since students do not carry out much reading besides textbook texts and the tasks which accompany the text do not often focus on the development of thinking skills.

Keywords: reading, thinking skills, critical thinking, intercultural competence, 21st-century skills in education

 

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