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Title: Infusing thinking skills into an L2 classroom : a case study of an innovation in a Taiwanese university
Authors: Chen, Mei-Hui
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Empirical research on higher-order questions has shown positive impact on student achievement in L1 and L2 classrooms in western countries and former British colonies. In association, a world-wide increase in teaching thinking has led to a debate about its applicability to L2 settings, especially to Asian learners. In Taiwan speaking has been identified as a problematic area in L2 learning and alongside equipping students with thinking skills has been highlighted as a goal of Higher Education (HE). Therefore, this study undertook a case study of an innovation where Higher-Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) approach was used to try and enhance students' L2 speaking proficiency and thinking skills. This approach had two steps. In a teacher-led setting the innovator modelled the tasks to the students which focused on how to answer higher-order questions, interact and comment on others' opinions. Students then practiced the thinking tasks in groups as part of their L2 learning. The impact on speaking and thinking and the effect on students' attitudes were examined to determine the practicability of this approach in a Taiwanese university L2 classroom. Two classes of non-English major freshmen participated in this study: one class received the innovation, while the other class did not. A mixed-method approach was applied and data collected in three phases: pre-, post- and delayed post-test. In contrast to Atkinson's (1997) claim that using a critical thinking pedagogy to teach non-native speakers of English in L2 classrooms is inappropriate, the findings show strong evidence to support the idea that a HOTS approach enhances learners' speaking and thinking performance with the majority of students holding positive attitudes. This indicates infusing thinking skills into the L2 classroom is practicable and students can be trained as active thinkers. A most significant finding was the occurrence of highcognitive interactive talk, which created numerous opportunities for speaking and thinking. This tackled the L2 speaking problems observed and met the goals of HE, i. e. it equipped university students with thinking skills and encouraged active learning
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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