Developing critical thinking skills of ESP/EAP students
Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
The presentation focuses on critical thinking as a skill vital in our engagement with the academic world. It explains the nature of ‘critical thinking’, examines its component skills, and tries to account for barriers that are responsible for hindering its development. It is argued that academic teachers (both content/subject teachers and foreign language teachers) need to understand the role of critical thinking in academic contexts and should accept responsibility for fostering critical thinking abilities of their students.
Hence, the challenge that academic teachers face is incorporating into their teaching materials and procedures which engage students in critical thinking. It is especially important when students, for instance, read in a foreign language (e.g. English), as they need to understand what it is that they are reading about and how it relates to what they already know. Thus, yet another challenge is related to the fact that they need to be equipped with adequate tools – i.e. academic language – whose function is to aid students in the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
The purpose of the presentation and of the workshop that follows is to demonstrate the importance of reading in the process of developing critical thinking skills of our students. Working with a text, either in a foreign language classroom or in a regular tutorial, when carefully prepared and implemented, can significantly improve our students’ academic achievement and their overall functioning.
Krystyna Droździał-Szelest is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. She teaches MA and PhD courses in broadly conceived ELT methodology, applied linguistics and educational psychology. For many years has been involved in teacher training and teacher development. Her PhD and Post-PhD degrees, obtained from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, are both in applied linguistics. Her present research interests cover ELT methodology, teacher training and teacher development, foreign language education (including learning strategies and strategic training), language teaching materials and educational/developmental psychology for teachers. She has published one book and a number of research papers, and (co) edited publications on applied linguistics and EFL methodology. She has supervised 20 PhD theses. She is also vice-president of Modern Languages Association of Poland (PTN).