Is Critical Reading Indispensible to College English for General Purpose in China?

Hong MA, Zhiyuan PAN


This paper aims to depict the current situation of application of critical reading skills and strategies among the undergraduates in reading books in English in a local university in the coastal city in China. The findings turn out that critical thinking strategies are used neither automatically nor frequently among the undergraduates. The findings are complemented by data collections from classroom observations, interviews, questionnaire, reading comprehension tests and notes taken in class. In order to have a better understanding of the reasons underlying the infrequent use of critical reading skills and strategies, a qualitative study was conducted in 12 volunteers. This study also reveals that college English for general purpose has, to some extent, contributed to improvement of students’ use of critical thinking skills in reading. It is worth pointing out that the role of College English for General Purpose is not merely for imparting use of English to students but also taking on a vital role of cultivating students’ critical thinking and enhancing the application of critical thinking skills and strategies in reading. This paper has implications for college English teachers in their teaching practice for desirability of enhancing critical thinking in college students. Explicit and systematic teaching of critical thinking strategies is surely encouraged, complete with critical writing in the process of teaching College English for the General Purpose. 


Critical thinking; Critical reading skills and strategies; College English for general purpose

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