Revisiting Foreign Language Majors' Critical Thinking Skills——A Case Study of English Public Speaking Course


2019-06-20 08:17

Ren Wen
Foreign Languages in China

AbstractThere have been constant criticisms of Chinese university students’ critical thinking (CT) capacity in the higher education circle of China and beyond, namely, while the CT skills of Chinese university students are in general weaker than those of their western counterparts, the CT skills of the foreign language majors in China are even worse than other liberal arts students.Through analyzing the definitions of CT proposed respectively by Delphi Report, Anderson et al’s theory of taxonomy, and Paul & Elder’s model, and by comparing the results of two recent empirical studies, the author proposes that the difference in CT capability between Chinese and western university students is more of a linguistic rather than a cultural issue;meanwhile, the foreign language majors in China do not lack and can even perform better CT skills when compared with their counterparts in other liberal arts fields, but are slower in pace in follow-up development.If CT training can be incorporated into the instructional process of foreign language programs, the CT skills of the foreign language majors can be further enhanced by a big margin, and new vigor and vitality may also be instilled into foreign language education currently in plight.English public speaking course is used as an example to illustrate the author’s opinions.

Keywordforeign language majors;CT skills;EPS course;

The Chinese version appeared in Foreign Languages in China, 2013(01).



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