A Rationale for the Integration of Critical Thinking Skills in EFL/ESL Instruction

Mohamed Elfatihi


Critical thinking has become a high priority in almost every institution and educational system around the world, particularly since the second half of the 20th century. Developing the learners’ critical thinking skills has become an educational ideal that schools strive to achieve. There is a tacit consensus about the importance of incorporating critical thinking in education and ample literature has been written about it although there are different approaches to how this should be done. Integrating critical thinking skills in language instruction, however is a less explored area, especially when it comes to justifying this process. The main purpose of this paper is to present a rational for the inclusion of critical thinking skills in language teaching with reference to EFL and ESL. Five categories of reasons are suggested to support the implementation of critical thinking skills in the language classroom. The first is philosophical reasons related to the connection between language and thought. The second is cognitive and metacognitive reasons dealing with how critical thinking skills influence and are influenced by processes such as memory, comprehension and metacognition. The third is pedagogical reasons related the fact that many modern language teaching methods and techniques today require the learner to engage in problem solving, evaluation and decision making. The last are socio-economic reasons linked to the requirements of the job market.


Critical thinking; Language instruction; ESL; EFL

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/9702


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