Critical Thinking in a University EFL Classroom: An Intercultural Syllabus

| October 1, 2013
Title
Critical Thinking in a University EFL Classroom: An Intercultural Syllabus

Keywords: Critical Thinking, General English education, intercultural syllabus, general education

Authors
Pei -ying Lu

No BIo

Abstract
Critical Thinking is generally considered a core competence for university students, of whatever discipline, and so it is often included in General Education courses, including classes in English, normally required in the first two years of undergraduate studies to develop students’ personalities. Literature relating Critical Thinking to linguistic and cultural competences is expanding, but a pedagogy of how to develop students’ Critical Thinking exists mostly in a Western context. This article investigates how, in a Taiwanese medical university, a General English (English as Foreign Language) integrated with an intercultural syllabus, with socio-cultural topics, was designed to help Freshman medical students to develop their Critical Thinking skills and help prepare them for a diverse society. The article is based on findings, both quantitative and qualitative, from a study of 50 freshman students during 2009 and 2010. The results demonstrate and discuss the students’ development of linguistic skills, particularly reading and writing, and their Critical Thinking when encouraged to engage with intercultural issues.

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Category: Teaching Articles, Volume 71