Integrating thinking skills in foreign language learning: Whatcan we learn from teachers’ perspectives?
Thinking Skills and Creativity
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reason for embargo
Teaching thinking is important for learning and social practice and teachers around the world are encouraged to integrate thinking skills in teaching. However, little is known about teachers’ conceptions, beliefs and practice about integrating thinking skills in foreign language instruction. This paper addresses this issue by examining teachers’ cognition about thinking skills in EFL classrooms in China through the analysis of 473 self-completed questionnaires, four focus group interviews with 18 teachers and a further follow-up classroom observation and video-based reflection of three teachers. Data analysis focuses on bringing all the data together to generate an in-depth understanding about how teachers conceptualise thinking skills and how these skills are perceived to be promoted in subject learning. This study suggests that EFL teachers in China find it difficult to define thinking skills and hold fragmented and insufficient understanding about the concept. The teachers also demonstrated overall positive attitudes towards integrating thinking skills in language classrooms, although they do not believe thinking skills should be promoted specifically in language classrooms. The study also revealed that teachers believe that thinking skills can be taught, and especially through reading, science and maths. Moreover, integrating thinking skills in teaching is closely related to the focus of the English subject, curriculum, class time and textbooks. There is a strong case for arguing for immediate teacher training to develop both content and pedagogical knowledge of teaching thinking skills.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.