Integrating Critical Thinking into Integrated Skills Learning

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas kristen Indonesia

The importance of critical thinking for today’s students to strive in their future makes an English integrated skills classroom should not only facilitate students to communicate in English but also to think critically, and the best way to achieve the aim is by incorporating critical thinking into language skills learning

William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’. This quote aptly describes the true purpose of education, i.e. to cultivate and develop students’ critical thinking disposition, not merely to instruct them to accumulate a large number of facts (knowledge). Critical thinking, in addition to knowledge and basic skills, is crucially necessary to thrive in the 21st century. Therefore, today’s students should be equipped with critical thinking skills through the learning process. To achieve it, rather than merely to let the students obtain and memorize, facts, information, concepts, and skills, learning activities should also be used as the contexts, materials, and opportunities for thinking skills cultivation. The importance of critical thinking makes an English integrated skills classroom should not only enable students to communicate in English but also to think critically, and it could be done best by incorporating critical thinking skills into the learning process. This essay describes how to integrate critical thinking, as represented by Bloom’s taxonomy, into EFL integrated skills learning. It begins with a brief introduction to Bloom’s taxonomy. After that, the integration of each Bloom’s six classes of thinking into the learning process is depicted. 

Bloom’s taxonomy is a framework for developing six levels of cognitive skills representing the main elements of critical thinking through proper questioning and activities. The six levels of thinking—remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create—are presented in a hierarchical order that designates degrees of difficulties. Thus, the most basic level, i.e. remembering is the easiest (it requires the least amount of cognitive rigor) and should normally be mastered before the next one can take place. It concerns with students recalling key information. Understanding is about students demonstrating an understanding of the information remembered by explaining, identifying, summarizing, or discussing the lesson’s contents. Applying concerns with how students can take the knowledge they had understood and apply it to different or new situations. Evaluating concern with making an accurate assessment or judging the value of ideas or materials. This thinking is shown by students’ ability to critique, justify, or conclude phenomena related to the lesson. Creating is the final goal of the students’ learning journey.  At this level, students show what they have learned by creating something new, either tangible or conceptual. 

Remembering is incorporated best into EFL integrated skills by assigning students to undergo new experiences by actively studying the material of a new lesson (a book chapter or module, and figures, images, or posters, or videos related to the lesson. During this activity, they make notes of the main ideas or points difficult to understand and ask themselves relevant questions whose answers should be found by themselves. If, for instance, the topic of the new lesson is the Simple Past Tense, each student asks him/herself thought-provoking questions like, “Why are the verb in negative and interrogative sentences return to the infinitive form?” or “Why are some V2 ended with ‘-ed’ and some others with ‘-ied’?”. Finishing studying the materials, the students summarize the lesson. Through these activities and self-questioning, students …

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