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Empowering Young Minds: Fostering Critical Thinking in Education

Empowering Young Minds: Fostering Critical Thinking in Education | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Critical thinking is one of the fundamental abilities in the “4Cs” of 21st-century skills including Communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. In education, critical thinking is unquestionably significant, in EFL in particular.

Table of Contents

Why should teachers of languages do critical thinking?

What kinds of critical thinking exercises can instructors do with young learners?

Storytelling

Odd one out

Conclusion

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For young learners, critical thinking may be defined as having the willingness to pick up new things, solve simple problems, make judgments, justify those conclusions, and pose thoughtful questions. Furthermore, curriculums prioritise a culture of noncritical thinking in many schools.

Critical thinking is an essential skill for students in English classes, for example: students are instructed to memorize words from the coursebook and to repeat what their teachers say. Students receive praise for providing correct answers and face criticism for their mistakes. Teachers help students become more engaged in class by encouraging them to ask more questions and demand more in-depth explanations of topics being discussed. Regardless of where you teach, you can use activities to incorporate critical thinking into your lessons, even for lower grades. In this article, we are going to define critical thinking.

  • Talk about the benefits of encouraging critical thinking in language classes
  • Some activities teachers can use to promote critical thinking in their younger students.

There are numerous facets to it, making it challenging to define. For each individual, critical thinking means different things.

See issues from different points of view.

  • Solve problems
  • make a better decision
  • self-corrective thinking

In order to efficiently develop students’ critical thinking abilities, the study focused on analyzing the knowledge and teachers’ teaching methods. Why language teachers should include critical thinking activities in their lessons.

Why should teachers of languages do critical thinking?

Critical thinking skills allow time for children to think before offering help, brainstorming, making connections between ideas, examining differences, normalizing errors and promoting collaboration, the more likely they are to remember it. As adults, these are activities and tasks designed to give learners opportunities to practice and extend their uses of language such as when watching a program or reading a book. TV shows or books give us images and vocabulary in contexts, so it is better to comprehensive and remember it.

Let’s use an English class example: imagine you are teaching vocabulary about food. You ask students to repeat the word “ sausage” ten times in order to help them remember it. Obviously, checking their pronunciation. Then, the instructor requests that learners separate the foods into two groups that they think are healthy or unhealthy. After hearing the students say, the teacher arranges the flashcards in the correct columns.

There are a few more reasons why critical thinking is important to incorporate into your lessons. It adds interest to your lessons for both teachers and students. Pupils gain skills from it that they can apply to other aspects of their lives.

What kinds of critical thinking exercises can instructors do with young learners?

These easy activities for specific critical thinking activities which you can use with young learners.

Storytelling

The activity is appropriate for individuals of any age and skill level. Teachers should construct a vocabulary list based on their course textbook. Include a wide range of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Teachers will write five nouns, as well as a few verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, on the board. Remember to use words from their course textbook or other terminology that they are working on. To get the class involved, elicit some words as well.

For example, on the board, teachers may write the following five nouns:

  • Sleep (verb)
  • Surprised (adjective)
  • Morning (noun)
  • Wake up (verb)
  • A clock (noun)

Students will now tell a brief story utilizing all of the vocabulary they have learned (and related vocabulary). To integrate art skills into the lesson, students can also help to draw illustrations for the stories, students work together to recreate a well-known story into a new version of it using a different genre. In classroom interactive storytelling activities, students are constantly asked thought-provoking questions and demanded to distinguish and then choose between different options of the characters and events in the stories. However, using interactive storytelling activities in class would face their first challenge of lacking resources. Resources for storytelling are widely available but visually and educationally suitable materials for young learners are often limited or costly.

Odd one out

Ask pupils to identify the odd one out of three or four words that you have shown them. The students’ ages can be accommodated with this. Three-year-olds can identify the odd one out among “ car”, “ bike” and “polar bear”. Choosing terms from the same lexival set, though, makes this more difficult. Between a doctor, a fireman, and a postman, who is the odd one out? Students should be encouraged to identify an off one, most importantly, explain why.

Since they are at work in the mornings, could it be the postman? The firefighters due to the hazardous nature of their work? Or the physician because they are indoor workers? Any response is appropriate. Through this exercise, students can learn that there can be multiple “ correct” answers to a given question.

Conclusion

In conclusion, fostering critical thinking skills among youth is paramount in equipping them with the tools necessary to navigate an increasingly complex and dynamic world. The ability to analyze information, question assumptions, and approach challenges with a discerning mindset not only enhances academic performance but also cultivates lifelong learning and adaptability.

As young minds develop the capacity to think critically, they become empowered to make informed decisions, solve problems creatively, and contribute meaningfully to society. Moreover, critical thinking instills a sense of curiosity, encouraging a continuous quest for knowledge and a willingness to consider diverse perspectives. In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and global interconnectivity, nurturing the critical thinking abilities of youth is an investment in their future success and the collective well-being of our communities.

By fostering these skills, we pave the way for a generation capable of navigating the complexities of the 21st century with resilience, innovation, and a commitment to informed decision-making.

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All in all, for grammar presentations to work, students need to pay attention. One of the best ways to engage children is through games. These grammar presentation games should focus on listening. Children should be able to take part in the games without speaking.

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