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Title: Developing English as a Foreign Language students’ critical thinking during the process of collaborative writing
Authors: Xiao, Yuqi
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Based on a premise that critical thinking (CT) can be taught and assessed (Mason, 2008; Mehta and Al-Mahrooqi, 2015), this study examined the Critical Thinking (CT) application of English as Foreign Language (EFL) students. It focused, in particular, on the impact of mutual interaction with CT instruction during Collaborative Writing (CW) activities. In order to promote EFL university students’ understanding and application of CT, a collaborative learning environment and explicit teaching of CT were encouraged in EFL classes (Todd and Hudson, 2007; Jones, 2008; Lin, 2014). Within the CT instruction environment, this study integrated CW practices with CT pedagogy to encourage negotiation and collaborative interaction and to stimulate EFL students’ CT (Lowry et al., 2004; Storch, 2013; Storch, 2016). An eight-week CW intervention integrated with CT instruction was conducted for 24 EFL students in a Chinese university. Here, a mixed methods approach was employed, including pre- and post- tests of student argumentative writing and CT, classroom observation of peer interaction and CT application, and semi-structured interviews to investigate participant attitudes to CW and CT. In addition to examining writing and CT test outcomes after the intervention, this study observed interactions to explore participants’ CT development during the CW process. In this regard, the dyadic interaction patterns proposed by Storch (2002; 2013) and the taxonomy of language functions adapted from Li and Kim (2016) were used to establish a comprehensive analytical framework. The findings demonstrated that participants gradually developed a collaborative interaction pattern with high levels of mutuality and equality in task contribution. Through this, they produced more CT-related language functions, such as arguing and justifying, at the end of the eight-week intervention. Results from pre- and post- tests and participant interview responses also suggested that embedding CT into the CW process could improve participants’ CT. As such, these findings contribute to an understanding of EFL student CT and learning processes within EFL teaching, and it can help to inform the design of EFL classes.
Description: Integrated PhD
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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