Critical thinking across the ELT curriculum: A mixed methods approach to analyzing L2 teachers’ attitudes towards critical thinking instruction

Author/s:

Ketabi, Saeed
University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran (ketabi@fgn.ui.ac.ir)

Zabihi, Reza*
University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran (zabihi@hotmail.com)

Ghadiri, Momene
University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran (momene.ghadiri@gmail.com)

Abstract:

The underlying assumption of recent ideas of applied ELT, life syllabus and educational language teaching is that ELT professionals should center their attention on the enhancement of learners’ life skills, say, critical thinking prior to language-related skills. Despite the high premium placed on enhancing the critical thinking abilities in educational policies, and granted that English language classes have unique potentials for promoting learners’ life skills such as critical thinking, it seems that ELT teachers are lacking in a true understanding of what critical thinking really means and whether or not it should be incorporated into the ELT curriculum. In the present study, EFL teachers in Iran were surveyed and interviewed regarding such a necessity. The first phase involved the collection of quantitative data via the administration of a short scale comprising Likert-style questions to Iranian EFL teachers (N = 106). Analysis of the questionnaire results revealed that EFL teachers tended to express strong support for the incorporation of critical thinking into the ELT curriculum. Follow-up face-to-face interviews were carried out with a subsample (N = 5) selected from Phase 1 participants. The interview results added more plausibility to the survey results. The theoretical and practical implications of this study are discussed.

Keywords: applied ELT; life syllabus; critical thinking; ELT curriculum; questionnaire; interview; EFL teachers

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrse.2012.189

*Corresponding Author