Wednesday, July 20, 2011

PROMOTING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

This is how I contributed to another interesting conversation with the EFT authors in the iTDi discussion group. Whoever has more ideas to offer or a comment to make is welcome to do so under this post.

Promoting critical thinking skills may be simpler than most teachers imagine, at least as I see it. What I usually do is choose extra material that I am sure will interest the learners (it often is about their interests or worries/ thoughts expressed in class) and then somehow  connect it with the course book so as to end the lesson in a different and more pleasant way. This material could consist of a simple song, an online article, a video or a combination of those. Then, we discuss about the new material expressing a variety of thoughts, employing new vocabulary and answering an array of questions that arise through this practice.


For example, this is what I have quite recently done with Alice, an adult learner who is always willing to demystify life, bit by bit!

http://markaki-students.blogspot.com/2011/05/road-to-be-taken.html

In this particular lesson, not only did we manage to successfully combine Nickelback's unconventional rock music with a spine- chilling TED talk, but also to produce a written text based on Robert Frost's poetry. The connective link among all the aforementioned activities was life and the various ways of dealing with it or making the most of it, which is a very intriguing discussion subject with all adult learners.

So this is one of the ways I have used music to urge the students to think. You will find more posts about music under this label on my blog:

http://markaki-students.blogspot.com/search/label/Music

I have also categorized all thought provoking blog posts with which I try to test the acuteness of the learners' critical thinking as 'food for thought' :

http://markaki-students.blogspot.com/search/label/Food%20for%20thought

Finally, I have occasionally incorporated poetry and book reading in class, as it is customary for every teacher who wants to make the students' voices heard:

http://markaki-students.blogspot.com/search/label/Poetry

(The poetry posts also include the exceptional poem by Robert Frost 'The Road Not Taken' with some written comments underneath stemming from students' own life experiences.)

http://markaki-students.blogspot.com/search/label/Books

The brief exploration of the linked pages above will easily prove that technology can and must be taken advantage of in order to enhance classroom discussions and procedures. The potential online material offers is vast and the adept utilization of it will certainly spark a light even in the most indifferent students, allowing them to step forward and speak their mind, thus practicing the language in the most efficient and pleasant ways possible!
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WIKI WITH READING TEXTS AND ACTIVITIES

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