2023-09-13, 10:30– (Asia/Tokyo), Training Room 1
Data collected between 2021 and 2022 revealed that significant percentages of students perceived higher authenticity and increased involvement in the learning process when involved in an English course titled “Critical Thinking in English” than those student who participated a more standard “English Conversation” course. In fact, the former outperformed the later in nearly all surveyed categories, with the largest differences between the two courses were in Perceived Critical Thinking Awareness (21% in favor of CTE) and Perceived Educational Effectiveness (around 15% in favor of CTE). Furthermore, students rated CTE as more effective at increasing their interest in and confidence using English as a foreign language despite EC’s learning goal being to improve the students’ English conversation skills. This may have been because the students felt they were doing something with the English they were learning, and because they could see a use for the subject content beyond the classroom, which is something they may not have perceived in the English Conversation course. This paper is concerned primarily with detailing the methods used to obtain these results. “Critical Thinking in English,” taught in 2021, employed Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodologies to enable students to perceive that using the foreign language (English in this case) had a direct and authentic application both inside and outside the classroom. In addition, the goal of using English as a tool for both examining and revising their own thinking processes and as a method of communication in the classroom was made an explicit goal of the course, and various activities enabled students to utilize a foreign language as a means of explicitly analyzing and communicating their thought processes to themselves and to others. Because “Critical Thinking in English” is an ongoing course in development, recent revisions to these activities and methods, and the students’ reactions to them, will also be detailed.
Utilizing Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodologies, a 2021 course titled “Critical Thinking in English” significantly increased student interest in the learning process and in using a foreign language. Students perceived that using the foreign language had a direct and authentic application both inside and outside the classroom. An explicit goal of the course was to use English as a tool for both examining and revising their own thinking processes and as a method of communication in the classroom. Scaffolded activities gave students practice they needed to analyze and communicate thought processes, producing observable learning outcomes.
English, foreign language, CLIL, critical thinking, survey
English language arts educator based in Shunan, Japan, Mr. Revis teaches at The National Institute of Technology, Tokuyama College, and at the University of Yamaguchi. With over 25 years of teaching experience in the U.S. and Japan, he specializes in innovative teaching methods such as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), and seeks methods that join the U.S. academic systems emphasis on independent research and critical thinking with the Japanese education system's focus on academic rigor.