Fostering Students’ Critical Thinking Skills in EFL Advanced Classroom

HINDEME Ulrich Orlando Sèna, IWIKOTAN Katchédé Etienne


Today, language educators advocate the teaching of critical thinking skills in colleges and higher institutions because it is said to be one of the fundamental skills that can prepare a potential candidate for the job market in the 21st century. Unfortunately, the development of critical thinking has received little emphasis in Benin educational system. Therefore, this paper presents a study on fostering EFL students’ critical thinking skills in the advanced classroom. Based on a qualitative method, this study aims at exploring EFL teachers’ knowledge of critical thinking and teachers’ view on the importance of developing higher cognitive skills with their advanced learners and to find out how to foster critical thinking in the advanced classroom. To reach this goal, interviews with seven (7) senior lecturers and a focus group of twelve (12) advanced students were used to collect data. The findings reveal that teachers are aware of the concept of critical thinking but in practice, many of them do not teach their students these cognitive skills because to them they are discouraged with the educational system which has regressed in terms of quality teaching. Students are no longer assigned challenging tasks that will enable them to develop their cognitive skills. Besides, many teachers seem to ignore the importance of critical thinking skills for their learners’ career opportunities. However, teachers mentioned group discussion as a strategy for fostering critical thinking in the EFL classroom. Both teachers and students reported that the challenges to meet in order to achieve critical thinking includes students’ poor reading and listening skills, negative attitudes towards learning, class size, content coverage and teachers’ training. Teachers are of the opinion that critical skills should be developed with learner’s right from secondary schools. This will help them to excel in their academic courses.

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