DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN EFL CLASSROOM
The Need to Transform 21st Century Teaching via Critical Thinking
Challenges of Teaching Critical Thinking Skills
Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
METHODOLOGICAL SURVEY ON DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING IN THE CONTEXT OF ARMENIAN HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS
2.1 Practical Alternatives to Improve Language Learning
2.2 Methodological Survey on Critical Thinking and Strategies Enriching Critical Thinking Skills
2.3 The Results of the Survey and Strategies. Research Findings.
The Relevance of the Topic: Learning is the continuous process of obtaining knowledge and skills. Therefore, language is the tool for learning and thinking. So, it is worth mentioning the importance of critical thinking in language learning.
Critical thinking has become an essential topic of discussion in the field of education today. Critical thinking is the ability to apply reasoning and logic to unfamiliar ideas, opinions and situations. It helps to function effectively in the changing world of the 21st century. Critical thinking is the process of analyzing, strategic thinking, creative thinking, good judgment and decision-making. This cognitive skill obtains a significant position in foreign language classroom. Critical thinking allows students to think about their own thoughts and the reasons behind their standpoints. Language teaching must foster critical thinking within the learners. To realize the following goal, a great essence is given to the methodology of teaching critical thinking skills to the students in the field of language learning.
The choice of our research topic “Developing Critical Thinking in Foreign Language Bachelor Course” is conditioned with the relevance and significance of discussed issues.
The title of the following research paper is “Developing Critical Thinking in Foreign Language Bachelor Course”.
The aim of the research is
to explore the strategies of developing and enhancing critical thinking in higher educational institutions
to investigate the weak points and the strong points of teaching critical thinking in Armenian educational context
to overcome the barriers facing critical thinking skills in foreign language classrooms
to suggest effective strategies of teaching critical thinking skills and apply them into practice
The objectives of the research are:
Study and analyze theoretical bibliography connected to teaching critical thinking.
Investigate the possibilities of teaching critical thinking skills in bachelor course.
Work out appropriate strategies developing and enhancing critical thinking skills.
Realize many kinds of experimental lessons to confirm the appropriateness and correctness of our hypothesis.
Approve the essence of developing critical thinking skills in language learning
Have a diagnostic interview with teachers and students.
The hypothesis of the research is as follows: the set of strategies and methods chosen and worked out by us will provide effectiveness during teaching critical thinking skills in the foreign language bachelor course. Applying active and communicative ways of teaching critical thinking to the students of higher educational institutions will help them to be reflective and open-minded.
The novelties of this research paper are the elaborated strategies of developing critical thinking skills in Armenian higher educational institutions of foreign languages and encouragement for its development.
The theoretical value of the research is that it studies current theories and concepts of developing and enhancing critical thinking skills.
The applicability of the study is the fact that this work including the strategies and methods worked out by us can be a useful guidebook for those who are interested in critical thinking skills and can be used for further development.
There are used the following scientific research methods in the framework of our thesis:
Analysis and summary of vocational bibliography
Statistical analysis of interview data
Comparative and contrastive
The structure and the volume of the work: it consists of introduction, two chapters, conclusion and references.
The fisrt chapter ” Developing Critical Thinking in EFL Classroom” is related to the theoretical concepts that have guided a number of approaches for the development of critical thinking.
The second chapter is the experimental part of our research paper that has been conducted in Khachatur Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University.
The conclusion summerizes the research and introduces the basic results of the analysis.
The reference contains the list of the authors and books, journals and Internet sources applied during the research.
DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN EFL CLASSROOM
1.1 The Need to Transform 21st Century Teaching via Critical Thinking
This sub-chapter focuses on the importance and need in critical thinking in present days. It is vital to illustrate 21st century education based on critical thinking.
Naturally, we use basic thinking skills in everyday life, usually with little complexity. However, many people find it complicated to use these same skills mechanically to new circumstances, such as abstract problem-solving and academic study. In our day-to-day lives, we can slide thinking everything is right or wrong, black or white. One of the goals of higher-level objectives is to ask questions, which are more complicated and open-ended, and which do not suppose simple and banal responses. In order to better understanding, you may have noticed yourself that the more you know about a subject or topic, the more complex it becomes to give well-defined and understandable answers.
Particularly, the proficiencies and competences that are mainly considered “21st century skills” are differentiated but involve some common themes. They are based on the assumption that beneficial or reasonable learning is a set of learner educational result, which involves accomplishment of powerful basis in the sphere of academic content, higher-level thinking skills and learning tendency. This pedagogy includes originating and generating, collaboration, evaluating and analyzing, introducing and sharing both the knowledge experience and the wisdom acquired via learning. This contrast with more long-established and traditional learning methodology includes learning by rote and insufficient awareness and knowledge back to the teacher for a grade. As a rule, the skills are tools for learners to promote engagement for searching, stimulating and making easy and possible relation to knowledge, thoughts, peers, educators and comprehensive audiences, generating or originating, producing or presenting. The categorization has taken part in encouraging and promoting teachers to make comprehensive thinking through standard learning and through dynamic learning, task-based learning, problem-based learning and others.
In this context it is worth mentioning that nowadays’ students are prevented in their learning of communication, critical thinking and problem solving by such key factors as the structure of the contemporary education system, the difficulty of the skills themselves and the ability of the educators to teach these skills in accordance with their course material and information. Thus, it is increasingly important to promote analytical thinking learning to help students to develop strategies to use contemporary knowledge to the difficult situations in their day-to-day business and activities. Moreover, being open-minded and starting to think reasonable gives students such advantages as:
a) Applying new knowledge to prior conception and understanding.
b) Trying to think in abstract and conceptual terms.
c) Using specific methods and strategies while dealing with unknown tasks.
d) Realizing their own way of thinking and learning strategies.
The fact is, that to perform and establish changes in this present-day world, people need critical thinking skills, that is to say, the ability to think about concepts or conditions in order to realize their participations so as to be capable to make a correct judgment or decision. It must be identified that critical thinking involves such subskills as:
Accordingly, critical thinking involves an analytical process of researching problems that may not be clearly defined and for which there are no understandable answers. Reflective and reasonable thinking also involves met cognition, which means the process of thinking allowing us to reflect on our own study as we improve knowledge and skills.
Naturally, everyone’s presumptions about teaching and learning are based on the belief that learners should systematically acquire knowledge and improve themselves. As schools and institutions start to model the culture of collaborative continuous improvement they try to obtain progressing in their classrooms and of course, it becomes possible for them to restore their integral system to provide for the 21st century competencies they have identified. Forming and combining syllabuses or curriculums, trainings and assessments provide students developing those proficiencies of hard work that demand fundamental changes in every sphere of an education system. Crockett L. W., 2016, p. 74-79.
We should also take into consideration the role of state policy that has been a great barrier to these changes. The majority of nations still have an old evaluation and responsible policy that stress the consequence of rote memorization and fail to stimulate or motivate the meaningful and important 21st century change. That is why, we need new state policy that will inspire and encourage institutions to create competencies that really matter in the 21st century.
As it has been mentioned above, critical thinking has long been considered as a productive and effective skill in education, particularly in the field of English language teaching. In recent years, critical thinking has been considered as one of the 21st century important skills that students need to achieve to succeed in modern society. The notion of critical thinking is increasing significance in the world nowadays. It was also considered as the number one skill of increasing importance over the next years.
Identifying the value of critical thinking in our modern society, it must be noticed about the preparing a learner for the world, which is not an easy task for any teacher. No learner in the history of education is like today’s 21st century learner. They are active, complex and open-minded individuals. What is undeniable, they are masters of high technology.
They ought to be challenged and encouraged in their learning. They want to collaborate and work together with their peers. They want to assimilate the technology they like into their classroom skills and experiences as much as they can. Learners are engaged in what they are doing. In short, they have just as powerful suppositions of their teachers as their teachers have of them.
Today’s students need both basic knowledge and applied skills to get ready for the jobs of the future. Awareness of reading and learning foreign languages is necessary as a basic knowledge for them. Moreover, many learners follow diverse applied skills such as private or independent learning, including critical thinking and problem solving skills as very significant for job success. Without these arrangements and knowledge acquisitions, our high school, college, and post-college graduates will not be sufficiently prepared for future employment.
Actually, learners who are excellent at critical thinking have a tendency to be extremely self-aware. They review and consider every detail; they analyze their personal stimulations, interests, competences and contrasts in their knowledge. They question their own viewpoint and check the fact used to contribute it. Becoming more self-directed takes courage. It can be undetermined to discover things about themselves they did not know, as majority of them consider they know themselves very well. Therefore, the 21st century students might be encouraged and motivated by teachers to be reflective and open-minded. As a rule, teachers define critical thinking:
by establishing particularities of critical thinking
by discussing the thought processes and skills applied in the action of critical thinking
by characterizing the themes about which critical thinking takes place, either on the extremely low level, concerning language itself, or on the extremely high level, concerning real-world problems and subjects
Considering these three areas of definition as fundamental, particular pedagogical implications were identified. As critical thinking is integrated as a 21st century skill entered into the world language classroom, the standard and traditional roles of educators may be required to transform, the content applied in the classrooms and the activities in which learners are engaged need to be totally revised.
At this point, we shall take more detailed look at the changing learning situation, which influences the 21st century education. For this reason, let us remember the words written by Seymour Papert: “A teacher should facilitate learning by improving the connectivity in the learning environment, which means involving various real-life or more realistic situations in the teaching and learning materials”. Papert S.,1993, p.105.
Hence, for learners, in order to apply their thoughts partly that deals with complicated thinking skills, must be provided an environment that promotes them to involve their powerful method of learning to process new information. Surely, learning and self-control cannot take place without an environment directed to a student’s preference. Students’ ideas, thoughts and attention are focused on assembling personal requirements and needs rather than learning in the environment that is unaccepted for them. In brief, the appropriately created environment influences students’ critical thinking, highlighting their strong and weak points of intellect. Unfortunately, one of the problems faced by today’s school is to provide an educational environment that will contribute these different learning preferences and allow students learn via methods best suited to their personal styles. This does not mean we ignore the traditions and standards that are part of our schools, but instead we require those standards as means and tools to develop the process. Taking into consideration this fact, we realize that school facilities have an important role in student achievement.
As far as it is concerns teachers, they must contribute a collaborative process to establish areas that enable instructors to individualize the teaching of basic knowledge and make this basis to help students use new knowledge to resolve problems conveying key skills for future jobs. To supply various learning styles and priorities, teachers must stimulate flexibility in the kinds of areas that include classroom environments. Classrooms should make easy group debate, teamwork, peer-to-peer learning and make available individual learning establishments to contribute computer-driven instruction. The area of flexibility and the area for learner tendency have become much more critical components in contributing learner achievement as we develop a generation that learns variously and one day or another will keep on solving unexpected challenges.
Summing up, we want to mention the four fundamental skills a 21st century learner should obtain:
As a rule, due to these skills our students will be successful in the 21st century. It should be stated that the 21st century skills are being developed and taught in educational settings of various countries. Numerous schools are engaged in teaching these skills and it cannot be argued that English language classroom is really the exact place to create these 21st century skills. In essence, English language classroom exists to prepare learners to communicate via cultures, via boundaries, via perspectives. Factually, basic language skills are important. Nevertheless, in the same manner learners’ ability to think independently, discover resolutions to future difficulties, cooperate and achieve an agreement via cultural and national boundaries are very important.
With this in mind, let us get to some significant strategies to encourage the development of 21st century thinking and learning in our Armenian classrooms. They may include a modification in perspective about how our learners study best, to apply different methods for achieving these goals.
Strategies to promote critical learning
1. Permitting our learners manage the study
The best learning environments are those, where students feel encouraged to learn. Successful educators are more like moderators, providing motivation and leading students to find out for themselves. As teachers, we must give students the chance to be self-learners, which guarantees lifelong learning. Surely, this brings us exactly to the second point.
2. Staying tuned in
The fact is that one of the important benefits to combining educational technology in the classroom is the capability to keep learners engaged in the material. Teachers frequently do their best to keep learners with individual learning styles all tuned in. Educational technology enables to evoke the same lesson in every learner in various ways for example, making graphics for visual learners or considerable puzzles who need to think by doing. An effective lesson plan making the educational technology better might involve a video lecture, a debate on a substantial framework and even an educational computer game.
3. Establish a research-based classroom environment
In this kind of learning, students need to be capable to question or challenge and then find the versions to answer them. Asking different kinds of questions educators also can help learners develop their critical thinking skills by making them justify their answers. For instance, teachers can poll the class on the answer to a given problem. Then they can single out a correct answer from a particular learner and ask that learner to describe the answer. This kind of strategy gives other pupils the opportunity to learn from their peers and stimulates learners to formulate their cognitive process. The identified process could be accomplished, applying a discussion forum on a learning management platform like blackboard. Learners and educators need to be reflected on how they accept new information, which can lead them via real self-motivated learning.
4. Stimulating teamwork
It is important to focus on making teamwork tasks, which helps students, learn how to communicate with others successfully, work in a collaborative way, carry out self- discipline, and develop social and interpersonal skill. Indeed, applying collaboration, learners are capable to have a better conception of what they are learning and progress critical thinking skills. An active and intelligent classroom is a contributing classroom. As teachers, we must find every opportunity to allow students set up pairs and team groups. This stimulates the development of speaking and listening skills and teaches students how to achieve purposes together successfully.
5. Enhancing critical thinking skills
In general, learning is more than memorizing and learning by heart. It is formulating own viewpoints and demonstrating them critically. The key to being open-minded and starting to think critically is to develop an impersonal approach, which takes a look at evidences and facts and which protect own standpoints and feelings. Learners apply these skills to resolve problems in different situations, make inferences and abstractions, get together information in different patterns, and make judgments based on details and facts. Educators may represent activities in their lessons that generate critical thinking skills along with language skills.
6. Stimulating creativity
The role of teacher will be important by motivating learners to be creative during the lesson. Creativity is only essential if it outcomes in action. Creative activities permit learners to describe what they have learned in a different way. This is synthesizing and individualizing of knowledge, which combines learning, and makes an experience that remains with students long after the class is over. Creative thinking gives students a chance to become a better problem solver.
7. Immediate Feedback
As a rule, every learner knows the phenomenon of reviewing material for the exam and then immediately forgetting all the content the next day. Educational technology can improve memory by providing students immediate feedback. The best way for this strategy is online learning platforms like Blackboard and Module , because they provide immediate classifying and grading of tests and checkups.
8. Class Discussions
Research indicates that critical thinking exercises are useful in class debates, but in traditional classrooms, they can assimilate a large part of class time while involving only a few learners. With educational technology, teachers can make every student included in the debates by demanding to post on messages or record short video or audio clips. The process is more skillful and effective; students can give answers to one another’s arguments while justifying their own standpoints.
9. Seeing other’s work
Working with small groups and collaborative problem solving are also simply facilitated with educational technology. Learners may look over their classmate’s write-up. This strategy makes available to work harder and helps students develop a larger problem-solving means with different methods to every challenge.
Role-playing has always been an effective method for enhancing critical thinking. It involves inhabiting another person and its characteristics. It is the major reason why actors do tireless research for their roles. Becoming someone else calls upon stretching both your analytical and creative mind.
Integrating all these strategies into an effective approach, as teachers, we should plan every lesson stimulating the development of 21st century skills. Of course, our learners may also need time assimilate this way of learning. Nevertheless, they will be able to think more critically, to formulate questions and try to find answer or to express themselves creatively. Most essentially, as a result their communication skills will become much stronger, which always remains teacher’s main objective.
1.2 Challenges of Teaching Critical Thinking skills
Having mentioned the position of critical thinking in education, is vital to review problems dealing with the teaching of this important skill with recommendations of scholars and experts in critical thinking skill learning and teaching. These problems involve methods of teaching critical thinking skills, combination of critical thinking with other cognitive thinking skills, discouraging learners’ critical abilities, as well as the evaluation of this important skill.
The aim of this subchapter is to clarify what is involved in the concept of teaching for critical thinking and identify some of the challenges facing this concept. It is inevitable that beginners are uncertain about ways of developing critical thinking skills. The majority of our everyday activities require getting benefits from some of the fundamental skills engaged in critical thinking, such as:
be precise if we imagine what we see or hear;
try to discover whether something is probably true ;
debating our own point of view if someone does not believe us
As a matter of fact, critical thinking is the competence to think distinctly and rationally, realizing the reasonable connection between the notions and beliefs. It indicates the manner of thinking about special things at a special time, it is not the selection of evidences and knowledge you will be capable to inquire once and apply these forms in every situation. It is something you generate and carefully enhance over years of education. Getting to be a critical thinker it demands constantly questioning your reasoning and ideas as well as the reasoning and ideas of others. Generally, many learners can consider it hard to command their thoughts in an argumentative and calculated way. In fact, critical thinking is a cognitive action, connected to using the thoughts. Acquiring to think in critically systematic and valued ways intends applying intellectual processes such as consideration, classification, assortment and judgment. Some learners develop them faster and some slower. Critical thinking does not come easily to everyone. Fostering critical thinking among the students, some challenges can be figured, which need to be fixed by the teachers.
Unfortunately, educators and students meet difficulties when they make efforts at trying to build critical thinking classrooms. When a teacher makes a commitment to allowing students employ in learning that is both meaningful and enthusiastic, he is contributing to efforts of critical thinking. The manner of particular thinking must be resolved using alternative teaching methods for enhancing critical thinking. To put it another way, the teacher must improve his thinking skills by attending conferences and team meetings, and of course, reading pedagogical books and journals dealing with the ways to teach thinking. It is perhaps worth mentioning, that comparing the situation concerning critical thinking in Armenian education, there is a lack of knowledge and methods of developing critical thinking, and the problem concerns both teachers and students.
Generally, the barriers of teaching critical thinking are not new. In the middle of 1950s, education has faced the problem of teaching critical thinking to learners. This fact is an attempt to address the three key issues emphasizing that critical thinking has been illustrated for educators tasked with provoking learners towards analytical thinking. Firstly, critical thinking is not absolutely a skill that can be studied and understood. Secondly, critical thinking is more probably in those learners, who have particular cognitive strategies in reasoning and thinking. Finally, the capability to think critically depends on knowledge and practice. In other words, one must not only realize the deep structure of a question, but also be able to apply it and connect new knowledge to the previous proficiencies.
Particularly, challenges differ from student to student, but can usually be overcome. Nevertheless, the matter is that, many learners who have the possibility to create and develop more powerful critical abilities that can be prevented from doing so for many diverse reasons connected to a lack of capability. In general, some personal and affective reasons can create barriers in teaching or learning of this kind of thinking. It is impossible to describe all the factors, which can play a role in generating problems and barriers concerning critical thinking in education, however, we shall illustrate several challenges for learners on applying critical abilities in their studies.
Challenges for learners on applying critical thinking while studying
1. Language barriers
Most of the learners concentrate on linguistic factors, rather than on more sufficient level of thinking. A lack of the knowledge of foreign language skill makes it complicated for them to use critical thinking in their midterms or exams. It follows that, the improvement of critical abilities in education is considered to have a secondary role in teaching. In some cases, a majority of students do their best for the development of linguistic competences. However, the fact is, that the learners whose English is not quite good, enriching critical thinking in them seems to be complex. Learners are capable to be included in an advanced level of thinking if they are supplied with chances to apply their mother tongue in the debates of different kinds of texts and topics chosen for them. In other words, many learners have promising and clear ideas, but due to the insufficient knowledge of English, they cannot indicate their thoughts or points of view of the given topic.
2. Misunderstanding of what is meant by the term “criticism”
Many students also claim that because of their unclear understanding of the term of critical thinking, they consider it very complex to use it in their exams or coursework. Many students suppose that “criticism” means making negative comments. As a result, they apply only to negative features when making an assessment. This is a misunderstanding of the term. This argument suggests that critical evaluation means pointing out positive as well as negative features, what accomplishes as well as what does not. Some of students consider that it is not good to be involved in criticism, because it is an intrinsically negative action. Other students trouble that they will be considered as an impolite kind of person if they use criticism. As a result, they keep away from making any comments seeming negative and make only positive comments. This is often a useless method, as productive and constructive criticism can make a situation more clearly and help students to be skillful.
3. Emotive reasons
There is an evidence that demonstrative and emotional self-management can play a vital role in critical thinking of learners. To be capable to criticize means being able to realize and identify that there is more than one manner of overlooking at a problem. In academic context, the implications of a theory can stimulate deeply hold beliefs and assumptions. This can be difficult accept irrespective of how intelligent a student might be.
Initially, it may seem when learners are troubled and distressed by what they are learning, the emotional reaction may help to concentrate their thinking but very often, it can slow down their competence to think obviously. Emotional capability can add power to reasoning, but it can also reduce reasoning, particularly if emotions seem to take the place of the argument and fact that could persuade others. Critical thinking gives learners more attention and consideration to the fact that contributes the evidences based on those beliefs, so that they do justice to their standpoint.
4. Over-evaluating our own reasoning competences
As a rule, most of the learners think of themselves as intelligent beings. They tend to believe that their own ways of thinking are the finest and that they have good rationality for what they do and think.
The fact is that most of the time our reasoning and thinking operate instinctively or automatically. In the result, we become more organized and capable in our everyday lives. However, it is easy to fall into unproductive thinking habits. Learners, who obtain their own way or simply deal with poor thinking, may consider their reasoning must be good, as nobody has said it is not. Those learners who are good at being successful in making arguments can confuse this for good thinking competence. Winning the evidence does not definitely mean that you have the best situation. It may clearly mean that your challengers did not recognize an unproductive argument, or try to produce the purpose for their own reasons, such as to keep away from conflict. With this in mind, incorrect and unreasonable thinking of students does not help to improve mental abilities in education.
5. Reluctance to comment on expert
Generally, there can be a natural trouble about critically analyzing texts or other works by people, which you respect. It can seem unusual for learners who know little about their subject to be asked to comment on studies by those who are evidently more proficient. Some learners can find it rude or nonsensical to propose criticism of practitioners they know, to be more professional them. Nevertheless, researchers and lecturers expect students to ask questions and dispute even published material. It can take time to assimilate this way of thinking.
6. Incomplete focus and concentration to detail
Having said, that critical thinking includes sensibility and accuracy and this, in turn requires good awareness of details. Poor criticism can outcome from making judgments based on too common overview of the subject. In some cases, critical thinking activities demand concentration on the particular problem in hand, rather than becoming distracted by other thought-provoking tangents. When critically analyzing evidences, it is vital for students to take into consideration that they can discover an argument to be good or essential even if they do not agree with it.
7. Lack of methods, strategies or practice
Although willing to be more critical, many learners do not recognize which steps to take next in order to develop their critical skills. Others are unaware that methods used in education are insufficiently strict for higher-level academic thinking and professional work. Learners can solve the problem with practice, which can help them to develop their skills in critical thinking.
It should be noted that learning is a process that enhances understanding and comprehension. Many lecturers collect activities to enlarge mastery in methods used within the discipline. However, students can get the wrong idea of the goal of such teaching methods, promoting evidences and responses rather than learning the skills that support them to make fundamental judgments for themselves.
8. Applying teaching / learning activities
Another challenge facing critical thinking in education is using teaching / learning activities via tests. As a fact, most of the examinations at schools, colleges and universities contain test papers, which checks knowledge and comprehension levels. Nevertheless we put forward the view that learners must analyze, evaluate and synthesize information, instead of giving short and brief answers.
9. Creating original assignments
According to authors Debra Jackson and Paul Newberry, in their book “Critical Thinking: A User’s Manual”, second edition; evidences play an important role for teaching critical thinking in the classrooms. Jackson D., Newberry P., 2015, p. 68-91. Acquiring information, particularly in the internet era, is not sufficient in today’s advanced courses. Teachers must be capable to use that information as never before by applying it in different situations and critically assessing the results of others doing the same. In brief, teachers must be able to recognize, analyze, evaluate and construct evidences in a diversity of disciplines. Indeed, thinking critically leads learners to engage in the offering personal opinions or life experiences to address a topic yet the challenge for teachers is to move students generate individual thoughts and minds. Obtaining additional thinking skills encourages learners to enlarge their critical thinking. According to educators, critical thinking is a valuable skill for college students’ development, but trying to teach this kind of skill in the classroom is often easier to be said than done. Teachers must be conscious about where to begin, how to motivate their students, and how to construct learning effects. A variation in the teacher’s standpoint toward teaching critical thinking must be acquired.
Clarifying the above said, these great words must be remembered. “The teacher must be able to think critically in order to be able to teach the student to think critically” Moore B. N., Parker R. B., 2000, p. 157.
Naturally, teachers should generate a learning atmosphere to motivate students to think critically. When learners understand that, there is a connection between their own notions and a particular educational theory, being open-mined and rationally becomes developed. Besides, teaching students to challenge presumptions in their own and others’ evidences, teachers must also test their own presumptions about who the students are and how they can teach them in the best way. Mainly, when learners are in their first college semester, they must challenge the presumption that they already know how to be successful in this new academic environment. The fact is that many of them are not well prepared and must make their efforts to learn practice of thinking and behavior. For this reason, many teachers have found out the significance of evaluating students early and often, to keep improved their own realization of their learning. However, good teachers must figure out simple ways helping students take perfect class remarks, recommendations to help them to study at the academic level and even particular ways to discuss course content that helps students to realize and think in terms of an academic discipline. Brookfield D. S, 1995, p. 87-91. Only when they modify and regulate their suppositions of classrooms and learners for better correspondence, they will put an end of being surprised and defeated by their prescriptive and factitive presumptions.
1.3 Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
As we have already mentioned, the notion of critical thinking is increasing essence in the world today. Critical thinking helps people to understand complex thoughts in a manner that is more precise and understandable. Without the capability to think critically, every circumstance that a learner comes across would be in isolation from all other circumstances. When a student faces a problem that is a new one, he may be able to apply critical thinking for solving those problems.
One approach in which a learner can develop analytical abilities is through applying them in such kinds of situations as reviewing information and evaluating the data. Let us take into account that critical thinking is important in every aspect. While critical thinking is essential in all domains, it must begin in childhood as being reasonable helps in problem solving. Without reasonable thinking, one must believe in old materials and information. Critical thinking also helps to make correct decisions. Both problem solving and decision-making abilities are an important part of education.
As a rule, everyone practices problems from time to time. Some of our problems are big and complicated, while others may be easily resolved. In better understanding of this process is to indicate that problem solving and critical thinking are connected to the competence to apply knowledge, evidences and details for solving problems effectively. This does not refer to an immediate answer, it refers to being able to evaluate problems and figure out solutions. The capability to develop a well thinking within a reasonable time framework, however, is a competence that learners evaluate greatly. Like any other competences, learning to think reasonable or being problem-solver needs time and practice. In fact, understanding which steps to take and how to use them helps us overcome the process. Finn P.J., 2015, p. 115-120.
In general, an essential purpose of education is to help learners acquire how to think more effective, while solving problems by collaborating creative thinking, generating ideas and critical thinking and evaluating thoughts. Both kinds of thinking are vital to a successful thinker. Problem solving identifies that learners can adopt some of the responsibilities for their own learning and take personal actions to save problems, reducing conflicts, talking over alternatives and center on thinking as an important component of the course of study. It gives learners chances to apply their current acquired knowledge in relevant, important activities and contribute them in applying to higher levels of thinking. With this in mind, let us remember the words of Richard Paul: “Alternative solutions are not often given; they must be generated or thought-up. Critical thinkers must be creative thinkers as well, generating possible solutions in order to find the best one. Very often a problem persists, not because we cannot tell which available –no one has thought of it yet.” Evans R. P., 1992, p. 67. Generally, when learners are asked to address a goal and make solutions, they really start to point out, evaluate and resolve difficulties through critical thinking. When students face with various challenges, critical thinking helps them to become more aware of their knowledge and learning progress, select appropriate methods to examine a problem, and point out the approaches to construct the knowledge they need to solve the problem. They might separate tasks into categories. Nevertheless, it is clear that not all tasks are completed into one category and they discuss the categories. Thus, the process of problem solving can usually be understood as having four stages.
Stages of problem-solving process
Identifying the stages of problem solving it is important to mention the role of Bloom’s taxonomy in EFL classroom due to which students start to go deeper and become problem solvers. The major purpose in using the taxonomy is to facilitate communication. Benjamine S. Bloom, 1956, p.10. Here is the table of Bloom’s taxonomy, which involves understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating. These cognitive skills provide students from lower level thinking to a higher-level thinking.
For instance, when we read or listen to a text, we process it and then try to realize it. In our mother tongue this is absolutely a case of inquiring what we are reading, seeing or listening. Surely, for English language learners, this phase will take longer. Learners must be dynamic and apply all the materials and information that is available for forming questions based on the information they have. Undoubtedly, the role of teachers is very important in this process. They might ask the kind of questions such as “What kind of text is it? “or” Where would you read it?” and etc.
As a matter of fact, having studied a text we take the novelty and apply it to something. In the language classroom, this is often connected to answering some detailed questions or completing some evidences and components in the text. In other words, it is about task accomplishment with new information that we have comprehended.
The next cognitive skill is analyzing. In the analysis phase, we restore the text and start to question how the author’s information is demonstrated. For instance, the students might have discovered the information in the text, besides; we want them to discover evidences contributing to the essential points. Often the task includes determining how a text or its arguments are formed. In brief, students are becoming more critical, which refers to text analysis and not acquiring it in surface.
Evaluating is one of the key characteristics of critical thinking abilities. It is the phase in which learners outline the author’s arguments and standpoints and starts to evaluate the validness and relevance of the material. This could involve asking students to evaluate the totality of the arguments contributed by facts and the totality of the opinion of the author. If they are going to apply the information in the text to contribute their own writing then they need to be sure it is both reasonable and relevant. Evaluating is probably the most complicated phase for many language learners as it can demand very high-level language skills.
Finally, we shall identify the last one of the six sub-skills. Having studied a topic by outlining various texts learners need to use their recent knowledge and to generate something of their own out of it. We can give some examples. They may write an essay describing their own opinion, but based on the evidences and proves they have researched or they may give collaborative presentation with other students in which they demonstrate all the arguments for and against a standpoint, before then demonstrating their own conclusions.
Therefore, analyzing the relationship between critical thinking and education, and taking together all the factors concerning challenges facing critical thinking it is important to denote that Armenian teachers must apply all the necessary steps to change the situation.
As a fact, every task we are able to resolve increases our self-confidence and self -value. Thinking critically not only helps learners control a numerous of challenges more proficiently, it also enhances their life experience and helps them benefit prospectively. It is worth highlighting, that our Armenian education system is troubled with preparing the next generation to have a success in life. This is an essential issue and it will fail if educators do not teach learners how to think critically and solve problems. Numerous subjects teach learners how to be open minded and how to solve problems that can be used throughout life to help them take benefits of chances whenever they come out. Nowadays our education system does not concentrate enough on teaching learners to resolve real world problems, and this is not a sufficient approach. There are various examples of how to engage learners in problem-solving activities and, in fact, to contribute how better they can overcome the world problems around them. If educators need learners to have a success in life, they might support them to think reasonable and become problem solvers. Too often, we are feeding our learners instead of contributing them how to feed themselves. Learners can usefully spend time with learners focusing on one of these stages easily in turn, as they want to become certain problem solvers. Unfortunately, too often learners focus on problem solving instead of problem formulation, emphasizing solutions instead of thinking processes. In problem solving through reasonable thinking, they will apply leading thinking principles to formulate challenges applying appropriate structures so that they can puzzle out the correct problem the first time and actively lead their organization for long-term success.
For learners, critical thinking is an essential part of the examination and learning processes. They must take part in learning through plan explanations based on critique and self-directed learning. This approach identifies best practices for all learners who, as future citizens, will play a critical role in establishing the knowledge society. Areeda Ph. E., 1996, p., 69-71.
Accordingly, we shall represent a five-stage model due to which learners can easily find various ways of problem solving connected to many domains of life. Here are they.
Evaluating and representing the problem
One of the central methods to reasonable thinking and problem solving is realizing the essence of the problem. This means restating the problem in various approaches to learn about its dimensions, corresponding problems, and seeking materials about the difficulties and possible solutions. Analyzing a problem and applying critical thinking may discover that it is not a problem at all, or that it is not possible to make solutions to current situation, which helps learners to concentrate on reducing its negative effects instead of looking for a complete solution.
Describing any barriers
Learners must be aware of any difficulties or constraints that may face in the process of gaining their purposes. They have to find out what is creating the barrier. Good critical evaluations calculate why something works or fails. Motivating learners to verbalize these impediments is always an essential strategy.
While critical thinking focuses on facts and evidences to resolve different tasks, this does not mean that it keeps out creative thinking and inspiration. Alternatively, critical thinking refers to problem solvers to understand different ways of possible solutions before making decisions and acting on them. A creative problem-solving technique may demand collaborating with others to get new material or listen to opinions that learners would not think of alone. It may also require learners to be tolerant while they enhance and develop their ideas.
Generally, problems can be resolved with the help of various strategies. Learners may brainstorm a list of several possible solutions. They may put down anything that comes to mind and then go over the list, and narrow it down to the best possibilities. Questioning presumption is an essential method to apply in each situation of the critical thinking process. Learners may apply their own approach instead of depending on material from other sources and apply numerous arguments or cases to test the correctness and reality of the information they collect. Questioning presumptions provide them to reach a complete understanding of the best solutions by promoting them to analyze the problem from another perspective.
We put forward the view that the reasonable thinking process should not end once learners make solutions of their tasks and realize it. As an alternative, critical thinking process via problem solving may involve a calculated reexamination that enables learners to analyze the results. They may list of possible solutions. A number of circumstances call for different solutions. Frequently, what works in one circumstance may not succeed in a similar one. They may take time to regulate what will work best for the barrier at hand. One resolution usually is not suited to all. Learners can compare this to their advanced circumstances of accomplishing their decisions applying the material to point out weak points in their critical thinking process or seeking for successful solutions.
Learners may implement their solution. Every problem has a solution, even if it is to adopt the circumstance and take steps. Instead of moving toward problems and challenges like impossible barriers, they can look at them as chances to enrich their critical thinking and problem-solving competences.
As a conclusion, let us highlight that critical thinking and problem solving are intellectually disciplined processes of activity and skillfully evaluating information, conceptualizing a solution through tools including observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication. Critical thinking and problem-solving abilities should be represented in all spheres of academic research. Learners with productive critical thinking and problem solving abilities show the following characteristics:
1. Precisely explain facts, assertions, diagrams, questions, etc.
2. Point out relevant disputes, reasons, requests, proves, etc.
3. Examine and analyze alternative opinions.
4. Reason for key consequences or results fully explaining assumptions.
5. Fairly follow up where facts and reasons result.
Comparing the two skills, we can see that there is a great difference between critical thinking and problem solving. Critical thinking is a calculated and intellectual way of examining situations or circumstances, while problem solving centers on a special situation. Problem solving is a cognitive process that includes discovering, evaluating and making solutions to manage barriers concerning different problems. Thus, we came to the opinion that critical thinking and problem-solving are today’s top skills. Surely, students who use problem-solving approaches in the classroom are forming significant capacities for their entire life.
Having considered all the materials and data concerning critical thinking skills, we should state the importance of this cognitive skill in the 21st century, the barriers that can be faced in teaching critical thinking skills, as well as applying Bloom’s taxonomy as an important tool in the process of enriching critical thinking. We also found out that a real critical thinker is a problem solver as well.
METHODOLOGICAL SURVEY ON DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING IN THE CONTEXT OF ARMENIAN HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SETTING
2.1 Practical Alternatives to Improve Language Learning
The main goal of this chapter is to explore the role of critical thinking in the sphere of language education. In this chapter, we shall provide and apply strategies used in our practice, which were conducted in Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan.
Developing and enhancing critical thinking is very important in the field of education nowadays. Promoting critical thinking skills is very complicated and demands different approaches and strategies. As a rule, we must take into consideration the topics of the subjects, the strategies of promoting and teaching critical thinking skills, the availability of literature, and of course the duration of the classes. One of the main significant factors related to teaching critical thinking skills is the role of a teacher, that is to say, how the teacher comprehend critical thinking.
As critical thinking is a way of thinking where learners analyze an issue or problem detailed, at the same time it requires assessing the thinking process. It depends on effective communication and problem solving capabilities. Teachers’ asking questions have a great influence on developing critical thinking skills. Many questions are asked to check facts, test memory or check understanding of key words. Asking closed questions, the teacher expects a specific answer, while asking opened questions they encourage students of applying higher order thinking skills.
Critical thinking is one of the significant components of human’s cognitive skills and it is used to be explored within learners. For making our practice useful, we decided to conduct a survey and apply questioning strategies with the first year students of Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan. In our next subchapter, we shall represent the survey and the strategies, which were applied during our practice
2.2 Methodological Survey on Critical Thinking and Strategies Enriching Critical Thinking Skills
This subchapter contains the survey and methodological strategies related to critical thinking skills worked out by us. Our investigation was conducted with the first year students of Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan. The survey consists of questions concerning critical thinking skills, which helped us to have a description of students’ thoughts and opinions for better understanding about the real situation of critical thinking development tendencies in Armenian educational institutions. The questions were selected according to learning goal. Here are the questions of the survey.
Developing Critical Thinking in Foreign Language Classrooms
Dear Respondent, thank you for agreeing to take part in this survey. We will be gaining your views and ideas in order to realize the real situation of critical thinking development tendencies in Armenian educational institutions. The survey should only take five minutes to complete. If you wish, the answers you provide will be kept in the strictest confidentiality. Please, be honest, because this is very important for the results. Good Luck!
Instruction: Encircle the answer you find right
1. Do you think that our students are good at reasoning or preparing arguments?
d) don’t know
2. Are Armenian students considered to be higher-order thinkers?
c) don’t know
3. Do your textbooks develop your reasoning, analyzing, predicting and problem-solving skills?
c) don’t know
4. Do your teachers pose challenging questions?
c) don’t know
5. Do your teachers assign thought-provoking work and activities?
c) don’t know
6. Are you content with the way your lessons are organized?
c) don’t know
7. Do you debate on the given topic at the lessons?
c) don’t know
8. Do you compare and contrast your points of view at the lessons?
c) don’t know
9. Do your teachers let you change the conclusion of the given text at the lessons?
c) don’t know
10. Do you prove your viewpoints at the lessons?
c) don’t know
The results of the methodological survey and strategies will be represented in our last subchapter. Let us move to the strategies developing learners’ critical thinking skills. For our second research, we worked out different strategies enriching critical thinking skills.
Generally, there are a lot of strategies and methods developing higher order thinking, but we decided to choose some of them and apply them in our practice with the first year students of State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan. The aim of our research was to investigate our students’ level of ability to think critically. It consists of asking questions requiring rationality and being open-minded. With this in mind, having chosen the text bellow, we tried to develop critical thinking in learners via our logical and brainstorming questions. Our study attempts to enhance cognitive skills in students such as understanding, analyzing, evaluating and creating. We illustrate our way of procedure by using Bloom’s taxonomy. According to us, this kind of strategy will help students to foster their critical thinking skills. We represent the text due to which we worked out our questions for the debate.
To be Vegetarian or Not
One of the rising trends nowadays is vegetarianism. More people except meat and animal product from their diet. The fact is that many vegetarians choose not to eat meat because of “meat disease”, which is called salmonella. Others try to reduce the risk from particular cancers. The next reason due to which people want to become vegetarians is to lose the weight and keep it off. According to many people, eating meat supports cruelty to animals. These animals will never raise families, build nests or do anything else that is natural and important to them. There are many beneficial factors concerning vegetarians, but eating meat is also very useful for health. Here are some logical reasons why to refuse to stop meat eating. The main reason to use meat is accepting iron, which helps our body produce hemoglobin and vitamin B12 coming only from animals. Besides, meat eating made us smarter allowing more energy to travel to our brain. Meat boosts the immune system and antibodies that protect us from infections. As a fact, meat also keeps blood sugar stable. According to many experts, people who eat meat live longer than vegetarians do, but a meatless diet is healthier than a diet containing meat. Others consider that vegetarianism and meat eating are similar rather different, both of them get the same nutrients but from different foods.
This topic is individual, but as a rule, each country has their own cuisine and culture, each has vegetarian and meat receipts. In overall vegetarianism and meat eating are popular between men and women, girls and boys. There are different factors of being vegetarians or non-vegetarians, and in fact, people must go into every detail about all the things, which provide healthy life.
As it has been mentioned, this strategy relied on Bloom’s taxonomy, is an effective way to develop and enhance students’ cognitive skills. Here are the questions for debate.
Level 1. Understanding
What is this text about?
Can you select the advantages and disadvantages of vegetarianism?
Which one is more useful? Being vegetarian or not?
How would you describe the benefits of vegetarianism or meat eating?
Can you list the main reasons of being vegetarian or non-vegetarian?
Level 2. Applying
What examples can you find to denote the benefits of vegetarianism or meat eating?
How would you show your understanding of this certain topic?
What approach would you use to the problem of being vegetarian or not?
Can you make use of the facts to this issue?
What facts would you select to show the right choice of this topic?
What are the parts of the features of this topic?
What is the theme of this topic?
What motive is there in this text?
What is the relationship between vegetarianism and meat eating?
Can you make a distinction between vegetarianism and meat eating?
Level 5. Evaluating
Do you agree with the facts concerning vegetarianism and meat eating?
How could you determine of being vegetarian or not?
Can you assess the value or importance of this topic?
What would you recommend connected with this text?
How would you justify your recommendation?
Level 6. Creating
What changes would you make to solve the problem of being vegetarian or not?
Can you add another advantages and disadvantages of vegetarianism and meat eating?
Can you create new factors related to vegetarianism?
What conclusion can you draw concerning this text?
Can you invent three new titles for the text that will help people to make a correct choice of being vegetarian or not?
In our next research we applied the strategy of categorizing focusing on pictures. As a consequence, thinking critically requires the ability to categorize. Categorization is the basis for an entire branch of logic. Categorizing skills are significant to critical thinking, as they help learners to classify information into certain groups and understand which information has relevant connections to other kinds of information. In critical evaluation , due to this ability students may compare the right things. This is necessary for constructing sophisticated arguments for debates.
In our text, learners may categorize the products of healthy life with the help of pictures represented bellow, which will move them to the correct answer of being vegetarian or not.
Comparison or Contrast
This strategy of fostering critical thinking is also very effective. We used the method of comparison and contrast with the help of interesting pictures. As a fact, the process of looking at similarities and differences in order to reveal significant characteristics of two objects or concepts is called comparing and contrasting. The compare and contrast strategy systematically analyzes and evluates the relationship of two more subjects. The comparison is a process that shows how subjects are alike, while the contrast is the process of showing how subjects are unlike. Comparison and contsrat can lead to deeper insights if our attention is centered on a variety of similarities and differences taking time to think about what these two strategies show. The purpose of this strategy is to engage students in comparative thinking, which will have the greatest effect on their achievment. According to us, this method will help learners to evaluate their personal strengths and weaknesses to reach a descion on their choice.
Facts and Opinions
We want to represent another kind of strategy provoking critical thinking via denoting facts and opinions. As a rule, an opinion is a belief that is believed to be true, but which is not based on truth or substantial evidence. Generally, an opinion may be a personal standpoint or supported by a majority of people, even if it runs contrary to the evidence. Opinion is just a perception of the thoughts. It can be an emotional outburst of a person.
As to facts, they are supported by evidence and can be checked and proved via experience and direct observation. Fact is objective reality. It follows that facts and opinions are different. The correct understanding of the difference between a fact and opinion demands evaluating things and making judgments. This method is valuable to a student’s learning process as it facilitates evidence based on learning and motivates them to be analytical in their reading and listening skills. Here are questions concerning our text, and students have to differentiate opinions from facts.
Vegetarians do not eat meat because of meat disease called “salmonella”.
People do not eat meat to avoid many kinds of cancers.
People try to lose their weight not using meat.
Eating meat increases our years of life.
Vegetarians are kinder than people who eat meat, as eating meat supports cruelty to animals.
Meat contains iron and Vitamin B12.
Meat boosts our immune system and protects us from infections.
Meat is an excellence source of protein.
Antibiotics are used on farms to make animals grow faster.
Vegetarianism has roots in ancient India.
Summative and Logical Conclusions
Our last strategy for enhancing critical thinking is making summative and logical conclusions. From methodological point of view, summative conclusion is a conclusion that draws together previous information into a shorter overall summary. For example, if a text presents two main points of view, a summative conclusion would give a short outline of this. It tends to summarize a sequence of events free of judgment. Let us move to logical conclusion, which is a deduction based on reasons. It is more than merely a summary of the arguments of the evidence. Generally, it includes one or more judgments, drawn from evaluations of the reasons. In our opinion, this strategy helps students to concentrate on details, to synthesize their ideas and to go deeper. Our text is a good example for learners to determine whether its conclusion is summative or logical.
2.3 The Results of the Survey and Strategies. Research Findings
This subchapter represents the results of the methodological part of the study and the research findings. The results of the survey and strategies conducted by us are almost the same. The percentage of the students who chose answer “no” was much higher at 80% than the percentage of the answers “yes” and “don’t know”. We present the results of the survey via diagram. The diagram is as follows.
Taking into consideration the results of the survey, we realized that there is a lack of analytical and critical thinking skills in our language learning education and, as teacher; we should apply different strategies to overcome this problem.
The results of the strategies and debate are as follows: about 30% of the students were active in the process of discussing the text “To be Vegetarian or Not”, others chose a passive position related to analyzing of the issue. When we applied our strategies concerning critical thinking skills, more students started to take part in the discussion of the text. Therefore, we tried to motivate them to be interested in the topic we have chosen.
Following the results of our study, we concluded that enriching critical thinking skills is one of the tasks of language pedagogues. They can do this task through diverse approaches and strategies. Focusing on all these data, we represent our research findings:
First Finding: We found out that, although our students are able to perform basic skills rather well, but they are not doing well on thinking and reasoning. Armenian students can compute, but they cannot reason. Factually, they can write correct sentences but they cannot prepare arguments, moreover, Armenian learners are falling behind, particularly in those domains that require reasoning and higher-order thinking. Our learners are not good at thinking, analyzing, predicting, estimating or problem solving.
Second Finding: There is no analysis, ideas requiring brainstorming, challenging questions in the textbooks of our country. Instead, they provide massive and useless information that does not require rationality and being open-minded.
Third Finding: Generally, teachers tend to avoid thought-provoking work and activities and stick to predictable routines. They do not stimulate learners to think critically.
Fourth Finding: It is a reality that teachers tend to to teach in the way they were taught themselves.
Indeed, change in the teachers’ strategies toward teaching critical thinking must be achieved. The teacher used to develop his own competences by attending seminars and conferences or reading educational journals concerning the ways of teaching thinking skills.
Fifth Finding: The lack of knowledge of foreign languages reduces the possibilities of developing critical thinking skills. Students should be able to attain English language competence in cause and effect, description, categorization, and differentiation, specifically for comparison and contrast, which permit cognitive thinking skills.
This chapter outlined the methods of data collection in this research, namely the survey and the strategies developing and enhancing critical thinking in foreign language bachelor course conducted in Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan. We also represented the results and findings connected to our methodological part of the research.
The main goal of our research paper has been to show the importance of critical thinking skills in the sphere of higher educational settings. With the help of theories and a number of strategies, we have reached the conclusion that by applying various sub skills and approaches students will be able to discuss and debate, they will begin to go deeper and in the result, their thinking skills will be improved. The fact that critical thinking is one of the most important skills in the 21st century shows how requirable it is in higher educational context.
This research paper began with the mentioning of the significance of critical thinking skills nowadays, which emphasized the need to transform 21st century teaching through critical thinking. We established that today’s learners are poised to join a workplace that demands them to ask questions and think critically. To be effective in the 21st century learners must be able to analyze, evaluate and create. We also found out that today’s teachers had to realize that they are facilitators of learning, who must promote communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity into the classrooms. They play a fundamental role in creating an environment where students learn how to be analytical and resourceful in order to succeed in the 21st century.
In the next sub-chapter, we illustrated some barriers facing teaching critical thinking skills. As a matter of fact, critical thinking doesn’t come easily to every learner. Many students meet a number of difficulties concerning critical thinking skills. Weaknesses in critical thinking abilities may stem from attitudes to criticism, and apprehension about potential consequences. Barriers associated with attitudinal and affective responses to critical approaches and teachers’ role to overcome challenges facing teaching critical thinking have been identified in this sub-chapter.
The last sub-chapter of the first chapter was focused on the connection between problem solving and critical thinking.
Factually, when a student faces some difficulties he may be able to apply critical thinking for solving those problems. We highlighted that critical thinking helps students to make correct decisions. Therefore, problem solving and analytical thinking are the significant part of education. Therefore, a five-stage model was represented due to which learners could easily find different ways of problem solving.
The second chapter of our thesis deals with the practical part of our study. We applied different methodological approaches and strategies fostering critical thinking skills in Armenian higher educational context.
Our practice consists of two parts. At first, we conducted a methodological survey on critical thinking in Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan. Having analyzed the results of the survey, we worked out various strategies promoting critical thinking skills. Applying these strategies, we aimed to develop and enhance cognitive skills in students such as understanding, analyzing, evaluating and creating.
Accordingly, in the last subchapter of the second chapter, we represented the results and findings of the practical part of our study. Having collected all these data, we concluded that critical thinking is a very important aspect in Armenian higher educational settings. Critical thinking helps students to think clearly and rationally. It is also the ability of thinking independently and reflectively. This cognitive skill allows learners to understand and apply things instead of just remembering and maybe later forgetting them. Being a good student requires thinking critically about any subject.
Surely, it is worth mentioning that every successful university student is expected to be a good critical thinker.
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