The Cognitive Process Dimension and the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy
Creativity and Higher Order Thinking
CT and Culture
Definition of Culture
Language and Culture
Language as a way to learn Culture
The Importance of Raising Learners’ Cultural Awareness in EFL Setting
The Roots of Intercultural Communication
Cases of Intercultural Communication
Different View Points on CT in EFL Setting
Not Teaching CT
CT and Nonnative Thinkers
CT as a Social Practice
Notions of the Individuals
The Importance of CT in Algeria
The application of critical thinking (CT) in the field of education, particularly in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), has been for long a time a topic for discussion. Seeing it from a theoretical side, much literature is devoted to the different aspects related to it. Many writers have urged that learners should be introduced to elements of critical thinking for better outcomes.,Yyet different opposing reasons were brought by other educational specialists against such a social practice. This chapter is, therefore, devoted to investigate further the interrelation between CT and other education practices, mainly in English as a foreign language setting.
1.1.The Roots of Critical Thinking
Many historians believe It is believed by many historiansthat critical thinking was first initiated by Greek philosophers, and is rooted in Socrates’ teaching practice and vision 2.500 years ago. For Socrates, one cannot have sound knowledge and insights by depending on those in authority because confusion and irrational thinking can also relate to those in a high position with great power. He added that it is significant to keep asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief. This method is known as “Socratic Questioning” and is the notably known “critical thinking teaching Strategy” (Paul, Elder & Bartell, 1997).
Paul et al. (DATE)also found that Socrates’ practice was followed by the critical thinking of Plato, Aristotle, and the Greek skeptics. They went on emphasizing the need to look deeply into the reality of things rather than getting deceived with their delusive appearances. It is,therefore, from this ancient Greek tradition that emerged the need to think systematically, and to trace implications broadly and deeply.
As we get back in history to the middle ages, many other thinkers left their fingerprints to foster the idea of critical thinking. An example of such thinkers is Thomas Aquinas (SumnaTheologica). He is known for being apt to systematically and thoroughly answer the criticism of his ideas. “Aquinas heightened our awareness not only of the potential power of reasoning but also of the needed reasoning to be systematically cultivated and cross examined” (Paul, et al,1997 as cited in the foundation for critical thinking).A website
1.2.Definition of CT
Acording to (Chatfield, 2018)As a starting point, it is generally perceived that being critical is not the friendliest of terms. People tend to associate the word ‘critical’ with a the lack of support because they do not like being criticized (Chatfield, 2018). HeChatfield, in return, defines critical thinking as “setting out actively to understand what is going on by using reasoning, evaluating evidence and thinking carefully about the process of thinking itself” (p.8). As opposed to critical thinking, uncritical thinking is about receiving, then believing what is read or told without pausing to reflect and check the reliability of it. Further explained, critical thinking is
the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/ or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. It is based on universal intellectual values that excel subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth breadth and fairness (Scriven & Richard, 1987).
1.3.Critical Thinking and Logic
Oxford dictionary defines logic as “A way of thinking or explaining something.”.The principle of logic has always been always a pillar in philosophy where it is embraced to distinguish better reasoning from worse. Thus “Philosophy has عbeen concerned with the improvement of reasoning, proficiencies, clarification of concepts, analysis of meaning, and fostering of attitudes that dispose us to wonder, inquire, and seek meaning and truth.” (Lipman, 1984, p.51).
1.4.Critical Thinking in Education Context
Tracing back the development of critical thinking decades ago, we shall see that it has been intensely deeply discussed first by the Western societies. In 1983, National Commission on Excellence in Education described the United States as a “nation at risk” for American experts in the education sector did not lay the ground for students to think (Halpern DATE, as cited in Debela & Fang, 2008). This was mainly observed at the university level. In fact, Institutions of higher education were typically regarded ‘’as factories of knowledge.’’ .
Eventually,Debela& Fang (2008) quoted Resnik who said that: “ Knowledge is no longer viewed as a reflection of what has been given from the outside; it is a personal construction in which the individual imposes meaning by relating bits of knowledge and experience to some organizing schemata”(p.72). In this case, it is a conscious process wherein human keeps reflecting and establishing new visions through previous experiences and pre-requisites.
Moving now towards integrating philosophy in education, Lipman (1984) explains that philosophy does not have to be taught the way it is presented at the college or the university. Philosophy will always remain philosophy with its history and system of thoughts as it retains the emphasis on the logical discussion of ideas. This shows that the education of the young can benefit from it when children are nurtured with self-correction mechanism, intellectual inquiry, and reflection on their learning in general.
As far as critical thinking in EFL Classroom is concerned, it is crucially important to stress the idea that language learning has been increasingly viewed as not effective when language is taught as a set of structures and words. Critical thinking is another significant internal significant factor thatwhich is believed to have a major influence on the process of learning and the way EFL learners deal with input and produce output. In other words, learners need not only a set of grammar rules alongside with a list of vocabularies, but they also need to be equipped with other paramount tools that make learning this foreign language purposeful. As indicated by Vacca, Vacca, and Gove (1995), research has shown that cognition and language development are closely related where language is a tool for children to discover the world (Liaw, 2007).
1.4.1 Metacognition and Ctitical Thinking
As we shall see, critical thinking and metacognition are closely related. Many researchers argue that they are synonymous. Scientifically speaking, theTo examine the term metacognitionin a scientific way, it isinitially known as thinking about thinking. Over time, learners use this skill to enhance their academic performance and also build their brainpower. Hence, several researchhas established that learning through thinking helps change the structure and the function of the brain.(SOURCE)
A process called synaptogenesis occurs as a result of neuronal connection forming it in response to the thoughts, actions, and sensory input that occur during learning. Psychology Dictionary defines synaptogenesis as “The formation of synapses between neurons as the axons and dendrites grow.”.It is, as a result, with more knowledge practice and repetition that this neuronal connection strengthens. Eventually, “becoming more metacognitive about one’s academic and personal pursuits can help make the most of neural plasticity- the brain’s capacity to change and grow to become functionally smarter’’(Wilson & Conyers 2016,p.24).
One form of neural plasticity is termed the process of experience-dependent synaptogenesis.The experiences and the interaction we have resulted in this process by which new synapses form. In addition, individual differences in the brain development depends on the idiosyncratic experiences that are encountered across the life span. Hence, “experience-dependent brain development is the reason for an enduring plasticity and adaptability to the demand of everyday life (shonkoff & Philip 2000, p.190 as cited in Wilson & Conyers, 2016). As such, the real experiences we go through in our lives play a 8significant role in our brain development.
1.4.2 Metacognitive Monitoring
The ability to cope effectively with what we go through during our learning journey has a strong link with our metacognitive ability. Similarly defined, metacogntion is “ the executive or boss function that guides how adult uses different learning strategies and make decisions about the allocation of limited cognitive resources” ( Halpen, 1998, p.454). It is also known as “ What we know about what we know.”. From these two definitions, we can understand that the learner’s ability to use knowledge and improve the thinking and learning process is of a great importance since s/he will acquire much of his self-awareness and learning autonomy.
Exploring the idea of metacognition, learners need to monitor their thinking process, and to check if they are moving forward to reach their objectives. In fact, Mmetacognitive monitoring skills should be demonstrated explicitly, so that the learner is aware of whatever happens during the learning process.
To help learners convert what is usually implicit process into an explicit process, Halpern (1988) suggests the following guiding questions for a given problem:
How much time and effort is this problem worth?
What do you already know about this problem or argument?
What is the goal or reason for engaging in extended and careful thought about this problem or argument?
How difficult do you think it will be to solve this problem or reach a conclusion?
What critical thinking skills are likely to be useful in solving this problem or analyzing this argument?
As students work on the problem or argument, they should be asked to assess their progress toward the goal. An appropriate question, in this case, would be:
Are you moving towards a solution?
As such, students are equipped with different strategies to take charge of their own learning of the foreign language, and can are able to see the result of their own achievements.
1.5 Bloom’s Taxonomy
Developing students’ ability for complex levels of thinking requires well sequenced and guided questions that foster their involvement in a given learning situation. Hamblen (1984) indicates that most of the questions posed in classrooms elicit memory-recall responses. Several studies research, then, emphasizedput the emphasis on the formulation of questions within the hierarchical categories of the taxonomy of Benjamin Samuel Bloom, an American educational psychologist. In this sense, “this moves away from a passive view of learning toward more cognitive and constructive vist perspectives emphasizing what learners know( knowledge) and how they think (cognitive processes) about what they know as they actively engage in meaningful learning.
Hamblen also explains that Bloom’s name has been inextricably attached to the taxonomy, yet its division was a group effort initiated at the 1984 American Psychological Association convention held in Boston. The aim was for educators and psychologists to provide inputs in formulating educational objectives. The latter isare designed to systematize instructional goals, to build consistent and comprehensive curricula and to provide specific categories that could be tested.
One trend of the Bloom’s taxonomy gives much focus on scaffolding the learning process. According to Bloom’s taxonomy, learning occurs in a hierarchal fashion, starting with the most uncomplicatedsimplest thinking process to the complex one. In other words, learning proceeds from a concrete and dependent aspect to more abstract and independent thinking.
Starting from 1949, a group of measurement specialists from across the United States met twice a year to consider the progress and set the original taxonomy. Following their meetings, their final draft was published in 1956 under the title, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain (Bloom et al., Engelhart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956 as cited in Krathwohl, 2000). Krahwohl (2000, p. 212) states that Bloom saw the original taxonomy more than a measurement tool. He believed it could serve as a:
common language about learning goals to facilitate communication across persons, subject matter, and grade levels;
the basis for determining for a particular course or a curriculum the specific meaning of broad educational goals such as those found in the currently prevalent national, state, and local standards;
means for determining the congruence of educational objectives, activities, and assessment in a unit, a course, or curriculum; and
panorama of the range of educational possibilities against which the limited breadth and depth of any particular educational course or curriculum could be contrasted (p. 212)
1.5.1. The Original Taxonomy
The original taxonomy displays well defined six major categories in the cognitive domain. They are known as Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. One noticeable aspect ofin this taxonomy is the cumulative hierarchy. In other words, the mastery of each simpler category is a prerequisite to the mastery of the next more lcomplex one. (Krathwohl, 2000).
It is, then, highly important to clarify the cognitive levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. McDaniel gives a brief description of the six major learning behaviors that constitute the taxonomy.
Knowledge: According to the Bloom’s taxonomy, it is the lowest level of learning and relies primarily on the intellectual process of recall and memory. In the EFL context, learners would, at this stage, depend on their prerequisite regarding vocabularies, grammar, and content.
Comprehension: Moving within lower order thinking, the student canis able to paraphrase or explain what he has encountered. At this level, a student might be asked to demonstrate an understanding of a grammatical structure or explain a given phenomenon.
Application: As the name suggests, the student is required to use the knowledge that they have encountered in a specific situation.
Analysis: “ At this level, the student demonstrates an ability to take apart information to discover the underlying structure and sometimes hidden meaning and assumptions. Such skills as classifying and comparing are required”. In anthe EFL context, the teacher might, for example, ask his learners to compare the use of two model verbs.
Synthesis: Unlike Analysis, Synthesis, as a high level of cognition, “requires an ability to reassemble component parts into a new structure not previously apparent. Here the student is creating new patterns and differentunique inferences, such as deriving a hypothesis from a set of data.”
Evaluation: This is the highest level of the taxonomy. It required “ students to make critical judgments and, in fact, to develop criteria by which such judgments are made.”
Figure1 : Cognitive domain of learning (Original Taxonomy)
1.5.2.Categories of Knowledge Dimension
After the developments that have taken place in the field of cognitive psychology since the original framework’s creation, Anderson et al. (2001, p27) name four types of knowledge category that have been settled since then: Factual, Conceptual, Procedural, and Metacognitive.
Factual knowledge is “knowledge of discrete, isolated content- bits of information.”.(p.27).
In the EFL Setting of literature on Macbeth, the teacher believes that his students should know the names of the characters and the relationships between them. They should also know the details of the plot and what was being said in the story.
Conceptual knowledge is “knowledge of more complex, organized knowledge forms.”(p.27).
In the same sStory, a teacher with this perspective enables students to learn about significant concepts such as ambition, tragic hero, irony, and how these ideas are related to each other. This teacher believes in the importance of this relationship and how this makes the play alive to the students to apply these concepts to the understanding of the human condition.
Procedural knowledge“ is knowledge of how to do something.”(p.27).
The goal of the teacher, in this case, is using Macbeth as a vehicle to teach students how to think about plays in general. There is a general approach being used to have learners discuss the plot, examine the relationships between characters, and highlight the message conveyed by the playwright. Eventually, students are getting to thea next level using this procedure with any other play.
Metacognitive knowledge is “knowledge about cognition in general as well as awareness of and knowledge about cognitive tasks, including contextual and conditional knowledge; and self-knowledge.” (p 27).
As in procedural knowledge, learners are to use a set of general procedures to understand other plays. Additionally, the teacher is concerned with having his students think about what they are doing as they do it. Eventually, they are being self-reflective and metacognitive.
1.5.3. The Cognitive Process Dimension and the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy
In 2001, the revised taxonomy was initiated. As previously seen, anewMetacognitive Knowledge category was considered in this newly introduced taxonomy. The original number of the categories, six, was retained, but it underwent important changes.
One noticeable aspect ofin the revised taxonomy is the renaming of categories from nouns to verbs. The category, knowledge, was kept as the first step and renamed Remember. A second change is seen in switchingComprehension to Remember. This new labeling was the result of using it when teachers talk about their objectives. Application, aAnalysis,and eEvaluationwere retained, but with verb forms as aApply, aAnalyze, andeEvaluate. Synthesis changed place with eEvaluate and was renamed cCreate. As in the original taxonomy, the revised one kept the notion of scaffolding in the six major categories of the cognitive process dimension.
Figure 2: The Revised Taxonomy
1.5.4.Creativity and Higher Order Thinking
As it is clearly seen, creativity is the highest level of thinking in the cognitive domain of the revised taxonomy. It is, in this concern, found in visual arts, inventions, and innovation and profound thinking. Krathwohl (2002) defines creativity as “ putting elements together to form a novel, coherent whole or make an original product” (p.215). Hence, there is a shift from a process of tasks toward the creation of the resulting product.
For creativity to be achieved, Howard Gardner (1997) says that four dimensions are involved in the learning process: intellectual power, personality structure, specific domains or disciplines, and field. The figure below demonstrates how each dimension is related to creativity.
Figure3 Dimensions of the phenomenon of creativity (based on the work of Howard Gardner)
1.5.5. Facilitating Creativity
Educators have long considered the notion of creativity The notion of creativity has been long considered by educators. Looking at it from a scientific perspective, leaders in the field of brain research have dedicated their time to investigate necessary factors in the development of creativity.
As a starting point, the following question is crucially important: Can creativity in individuals be encouraged regardless of the makeup of the brain, or are we limited by such factors as the number of glial cells and the amount of white matter? Dr. Heilman believed that creativity could can be nurtured. He added that when kids “are put in a stimulating environment, they have a much richer neural network than their sibs who were not raised in this environment. Thus, making sure children receive a good education is critical for their brain development (Morphew, 2012).
As far as the form of the brain is concerned, the frontal lobes appear to be the part of the cortex, which is important for the brain development. As such, “they are critical for divergent thinking and might modulate the coactivation of diverse cognitive network” In this sense, family and friends play a vital role in the development of the frontal lobes and eventually the development of independent and divergent thinking (Balzac, as cited in Morphew, 2012, p. 17).
Figure 4: The Frontal Lobes
1.6. Critical Thinking and Culture
In teaching English as a foreign language, it is, nowadays, a must to introduce students to the target culture and others. Much literature has been consulted in this respect. Equipping learners with linguistic aspects of language with no account to culture will not give learners insights into the nuance of the daily lives of the people of the target language. It is, in this concern, significant to shed light on the place of culture in EFL Classrooms.
1.6.10. Definition of Culture
Assumptions regarding culture have been considered. As far as its definition is concerned, there is a big C culture and little c culture. For Knop (1976), “Culture may be defined as the aesthetic achievements (Culture) of a country (its works of art, music, and literature as well as patterns of belief of a nation (culture).”(p.54).
1.6.2 Language and Culture
First, language and culture are said to be interrelated. Anyone dealing with culture sees and hears the language. The fusion between the two concepts is highly manifested in educators coining new words: linguaculture (Kramsch, 1989; Fantini, 1995), languaculture (Agar, 1994), or language and culture (Byram and Morgan, 1993). Consequently, trying to examine this strong relationship is significant (Moran, 2001).
For Moran (2001), language understands the products, practices, perspectives, communities, and the person of a certain culture. Language is, therefore, the product of the culture in which individuals of a community create the language to organize their pattern of life with its different aspects. An example of such cultural practice is the different use of tu and vous in the French language, which indicates that the French maintain distinctions when it comes to establishing roles and relationships.
The Nature of the Language and Culture
The language used to describe and manipulate cultural products
The language used to participate in cultural practices
The language used to identify, explain, and justify cultural perspectives
The language used to participate appropriately in specific cultural communities
The language individuals use to express their unique identity within the culture
Table1: Language and Culture
1.6.3 Language as a Way to Learn Culture
It is generally perceived that learners need to master the language to be able to understand the target culture. In fact, Hhere lies the struggle of most EFL teachers in Algeria, probably for many reasons which will be later discussed in the practical part. In the classroom context, language and culture tend to be distinct and considered separately.
For Moran (2001), “language and culture can be separated for pedagogical reasons.”. He added that learners do benefit from the mastery of linguistic elements. In this respect, integrating culture could add unnecessary complexity. “Hence, the language we use to learn culture is specialized”; a specific language is used where culture is explored, and the language is the vehicle to comprehend, analyze and react to it (p.39).
To get this Ffurthermore, four language functions are needed in a classroom cultural experience. Language to participate in the culture, language to describe the culture, language to interpret the culture, and language to respond to the culture. It is viewed in the cultural experience cycle as follows: participation, description, interpretation and response. Eventually, it goes as: knowing how, knowing about, knowing why, and knowing oneself.
The Nature of Language
The language used to participate in the cultural experience
The language used to describe the cultural experience
The language used to identify, explain, and justify cultural perspectives and to compare and contrast these with perspectives from the individual’s own culture, and other culture
The language individuals use to express their thought, feeling, questions, decisions, strategies, and plans regarding the cultural experience
Table 2: Language to Learn Culture
1.6.4 Intercultural Encounter
Having generally discussed culture and its place in EFL learning, it is now worth addressing the idea of intercultural encounter. As the name suggests, the word encounter, according to the Cambridge dictionary, means “a meeting, especially one that happens by chance.”. In the general sense, intercultural encounter means the experience where two people from different countries or different cultures meet. Here, people are in a situation to go through different stages: cultural shock, cultural adaptation, andcultural adjustment.
The process of adapting to in a new culture is known as “acculturation”. The desire to enjoy a stay in a given country, for instance, will be reached through time. According to Brown (1994), acculturation has four stages.
Excitement: It is about being passionate about to being in a new country. At this stage, one would overlook all the negative views of the country’s culture, and focus on the fresh and exciting side.
Cultural shock: It is the experience of cultural discontinuity and frustration while in a new country. This stage is probably the most difficult part of the acculturation process, for people may make anunfair comparison between their host culture and the mother culture. As a result, a tension is raised on the side of the person experiencing this shock.
Rrecovery: It is the situation of adjustment and comfort in the new culture. It is a need and motivation to make the best of visiting a new place. Gradually, the traveler makes friends and appreciates the differences in cultural perspectives.
1.6.5. The Importance of Raising Learners’ Cultural Awareness in EFL Classrooms
One may wonder what all the previously discussed stages have to do will teaching and learning English. Indeed, one point an EFL teacher needs to accentuate is preparing learners for future experiences abroad. An example of this would be participating in at an exchange program, attending a conference, or any other event in the learners’ own country or abroad. Learners should be, correspondingly, prepared for challenges they will possibly encounter in the host country. The teacher can achievethis by explaining to his learner how it is quite normal to experience a cultural anxiety when travelling and how the process of acculturation works.
Including cultural elements in the learning of English as a foreign language will help students raise a spirit of, openness to the world and tolerance. As such, learners need opportunities to explore and recognize the world diversity. In this regard, people who are competent in this concern are aware of the role of their culture in shaping their thoughts and make connections between how cultural elements manifest in behaviors across cultures.
For Byram (0000)(as cited in Frank, 2013), intercultural competence includes the following features:
a curiosity and openness to other cultures
an understanding of social practices and products in both one’s own culture and the target culture
the ability to relate something from another culture and make it comprehensible to members of one’s own background
the ability to use new knowledge of a culture in an authentic situation
the ability to critically evaluate the cultural practices and products of one’s own culture and that of other countries
Teachers who succeed in having learners develop in this regard are in a model of thinking critically and respond to their surrounding appropriately (as cited in Frank, 2013).
It is common knowledge that Wwe need language to communicate. People use it for different purposes. Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics defines communication as “ the exchange of ideas, information, etc. between two or more persons. In the an act of communication, there is usually at least one speaker or sender, a message which is transmitted, and a person (s) or persons for whom the is message is intended (the receiver). The study of communication is central to sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and information theory”.
To internalise within the concept of intercultural communication, there is high possibility for people from different cultural and linguistic background to experience misunderstanding and cultural discontinuity. In this respect, several researchers have devoted their works to examine the effect of different cultures in the flaw of communication.
1.7.1 The Roots of Intercultural Communication as a Field
In, fact, t The field of intercultural communication started to take place as the US government integrated trainings for its diplomats to perform at an international level. At the inability of US ambassadors to maintain successful cross-cultural communication in the host country, the US Congress passed the Foreign Service Act in 1946. This act established the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in the US Department of State to equip foreign service officers with pre-service and in-service trainings regarding language and culture. An outstanding figure in the Foreign Service Institute was the anthropologist Edward T. Hall whose coursesstressed:on “how to exchange information across cultures.”. In this respect, Edward Hall is considered the founder who coined the expression “intercultural communication,” and his book The Silent Language (1959) is a contribution to the field (Rogers & Steinfatt, 1999).
1.7.2. Cases in Intercultural Communication
Byram (1997) gives three main cases of intercultural communications:
between people of different languages and countries where one is a native speaker of the language used;
between people of different languages and countries where the language used is a lingua franca;
between people of the same country but different languages, one of whom is a native speaker of the language being used.
In examining further the relationship between language and culture, two outstanding figures Sapir and Whorf,support the idea that language structure had an influence on determining speakers’ thought and perception. In fact,Mmany other thinkers have urged that all languages embody different worldviews; as a result, people think of the world differently from one language to another. In this regard, too much debates aroused around the impact of culture on language and the way of thinking and perceiving the world. This idea became known as the principle of Linguistic Relativity.
Tracing back the starting point of linguistic relativity, the hypothesis happened to be a topic of discussion in the late 18th and 19th centuries y, in Germany, notably in the work of Johann Georg Hamann (1730-88), Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), and Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1803). Ernst Cassirer and Peter Winch were other thinkers who went on defending the hypothesis (Swoyer, 2003). Later, the theory of linguistic relativity appeared in the work of Edward Sapir (1884-1939) and Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897-1941) (Swoyer, 2003).
According to Talbi (2011) cited Sapir (1921), as cited in Talbi (2011),that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis emerged as a reply against the nominalist view of language supported by Plato and Aristotle. For Aristotle, approaching the reality is not influenced by language, and thought is the same in any language; therefore, translatability between languages is not an impossible task. Contrarily, Whorf and Sapir (0000) allege that a system of culture is traced in the language of a given speech community, wherein language is a medium for creating speech events and constructing thoughts. In a paper published in 1929, Sapir (1921) explains:
Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality, essentially without the use of language. and t That language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection (p.209).
Sapir (1921) also asserts that our language affects how we perceive things:
Even comparatively simple acts of perception are very much more at the mercy of the social patterns called words than we might suppose…. We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habit of our community predisposes certain choices of interpretation (p.210).
For linguistic relativity, two different views on language and thought are held by different scholars. These are known as the hard/ Strong version, and the soft/ weak version. One trend says that language totally determines thoughts; that is, how we speak forms a hard boundary on how and what to think. This view is referred to as linguistic determinism. This version was later refuted by the greater majority of linguists and anthropologists who disagree with the principle of being prisoners of their language. With the rise of the social sciences, interest in the linguistic relativity revived. Social scientists went on stressing the point that language does influence to some extent the way we think and view the world; however, it does not fully constraint it. As such, misunderstanding between people of different languages does not indicate that mutual translatability between these languages is impossible. It is, therefore, only a matter of viewing and interpreting different events. This version is mostly adopted and is known as the weak Whorfian Hypothesis (Kramsch, 1998).
In this respect, linguistic relativity is a significant topic and has been a major contribution to the domain of intercultural communication.
1.9.Different View Points on Critical Thinking in EFL Setting
For decades, there has been a step back on the side of some researchers regarding integrating critical thinking in the curriculum of teaching English as a foreign language. In fact, t They claim that critical thinking cannot be taught. Respectively, different stances and political implications in the literature about CT are discussed below.
1.9.1. Not Teaching Critical Thinking
126.96.36.199Critical Thinking and Nonnative Thinkers
Atkinson (1997), Atkinson and Ramanathan (1995), and Ramanathan and Kaplan (1996a, 1996b) believe that socialisation plays a central role in acquiring critical thinking skills through an unconscious processat a young age; as a result, school is not the place providing this social competence. A distinction, in this respect, is made between native English students in the US and their nonnative speaking counterparts enrolled in US colleges.The previously mentioned authors allege It is alleged by the previously mentioned authors that L1 students perform better in thinking critically, for they have been socialised in doing so than L2 students who CT is a hard task for them. Such a claim appears in many of these authors’ compositions (cited in Benesch,1999).
Teaching strategies adopted in the first-year L1 composition program tend to show a set of cultural norms that many NNS (non-natives) do not necessarily process. This partially explains the difficulty that many ESL students encounter in their transition from L2 to L1 program. (Ramanathan & Kaplan, 1996a as cited in Benesch, 1999). In fact, t This is the result when two different cultures manifestly differ in terms of social practice.
188.8.131.52. Critical Thinking as a Social Practice
Expanding on what is discussed in the previous paragraphs in relation to the ongoing of society, social practice is meant to be the kind of behaviour an individual acquires while raised in a particular cultural milieu. In a technical word, it is “ tacit.”. It This refers to the unconscious and unreflective learning of behaviours by humans, which eventually maintains a smooth practice of everyday life. This can be traced, as an example, in how parents tend to talk to and dress their children differently as a matter of gender socialization (Atkinson, 1997)
As we keep examining the refusal of CT, we can clearly notice that most of the opponents do not present their opinions from an ideological perspective. Atkinson (1998), as one exception, had a clear political stance. Hence, he agrees that the awareness of humans in thinking critically paves the way to undesirable consequences. Expressly, day to day life proceeds when “its vast tacit machinery remains under wraps” (p.133). Following this claim, Atkinson discourages any sort of self-expression that might lead to political disruption by learners in the future.
184.108.40.206 Notions of the Individual
The notion of individuality differs from one culture to another and from one society to another. In this respect, cultures that regard individuals as primary tend to open doors to unconstrained individual activity and expression. For instance, competitions and dissensusin the Western context are inevitable and a way to desirable outcomes. Differently, research on early socialisation of Japanese and American infants has shown that Japanese mothers appeal to social norms when addressing their children’s misbehaviours. American mothers, on the other hand, choose to express themselves personally. As a result, the image of conformity is clearly portrayed in the Japanese society. As such, primary socialisation, as coined by anthropologists, plays a major role in shaping up the behaviour and the thinking of children. Eventually, this pattern of practice continues to take place at school. For example, Carson (1992, p.39) “identifies the teaching of Japanese learners at school to value group goals over individual interests.” (p.39).
220.127.116.11 Self Expression
Self-expression, as in the notion of an individual, is viewed differently across cultures. Examining the case of North America, the perception of self expression is, according to Scollon (1991), advantageous as it is based on Western individualist sense of self. The expression of ego via language in the Chinese and Japanese educational system seems unwelcome as Carson (1992) again cites the conclusion of Tobin, Wu, and Davidson that language “is viewed less as a tool for self expression than as a medium for expressing group solidarity and shared social purpose”(pp.41-42). In fact, in both Japanese and Chinese schools, memorization and choral recitation are said to be major learning strategies in classrooms, and individual creativity is strongly discouraged. Eventually, a number of researchers characterise Asian learners as lacking an individual voice and critical thinking (Stapleton, 2002).
1.10.The Importance of Critical Thinking in the EFL Context in Algeria
After examining much literature on critical thinking, including those opposing it, it is noticeable that it is getting its place in the field of teaching worldwide. As many countries around the world have opted for the competency-based approach, much focus is centered on increasing learners’ motivation to think critically while engaged in a problem-solving situation.
Research has shown that cognition and language development are closely related. This tied relationship has long been the focus of many educators, such as Piaget and Vygotsky. Children get to know the world around them through language. Moreover, getting used to reflect on the learning process, learners will reach the level to enhance their language proficiency as a result. In turn, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2001-2002), a non departmental organization sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills outlines activities to increase reflection mechanism including: “
(1) identifying and understanding the links between the target language and the native language in lexis, syntax, and grammar;
(2) drawing inferences from unfamiliar language and expected responses;
(3) using their knowledge of grammar to deduce the meaning of new words and structures;
(4) using language creatively to express their ideas, attitudes and opinions;
(5) adapting and revising language for their own purposes;
(6) identifying and using language patterns; and
(7) devising their own language strategies (Liaw, 2007).
At this point, we come to term that CT is an ongoing process that L2 learners have developed while acquiring the mother tongue, and it can still be transferred to learning foreign languages regardless of their foreign language proficiency level. “Since higher-order thinking skills are increasingly required for success in a knowledge based society, it is the responsibility of EFL teachers to assist their students in to acquiringe critical thinking skills while learning English (Liaw 2007, p.51).
Algeria is one country concerned with these changes in the field of education, particularly in TEFL. These changes were necessary because in our challenging and ever-changing world, developing special abilities such as decision making and problem-solving are essential for the learners’ success in their academic and social life. In 2003, the ministry of education opted for the competency based approach (CBA) as a way to make learning meaningful and productive. In this respect, new seminars and workshops were held to target this notion. In fact,Aapplying CBA in FL learning helps learners develop their problem solving skills, especially that didactic units in the textbooks are themes based.
The centre of learning becomes the learner, and the teacher is no longer the almighty bearer of knowledge in which the learner is an empty and passive recipient. As a result, the conventional image of the classroom where the teacher is standing at the front of the class speaking and student sitting listening is no longer a sign of learning. As such, much research, in this concern, is turning around investigating issues related to the application of CBA in Algerian classes.
Having tackled the notion of critical thinking from different angles, we can now acknowledge the crucial role it plays in developing learners’ higher order thinking principally in an EFL setting. As a matter of fact, c Culture is, therefore, regarded as part and parcel of enhancing critical thinking skills. DespiteIn spite of the strong rejection on the side of many authors, CT continues to be one of the reasons for educating future generations.