Developing Critical Thinking Skills Through Reading and Writing
Good afternoon, dear colleagues! Today I'd like to present you some critical thinking techniques which I use working with texts.
And the 1st activity I want you to do is called free writing. For this activity I'd like to give you this worksheet.
Have you seen anything like this before? This is called a word cloud. A word cloud is a collection of all the words in the text in a mixed order. The biggest words appear in the text more often.
And now you have 3 minutes to look at the word cloud, then I'm going to take it away. After that you will have 5 minutes to write your prediction what the text is about. Don't forget to make up your own title for the text. Is that clear? You may begin.
Your time is up. And now I want you to turn to your neighbour and read aloud your free writing and try to find places where your ideas are similar and where they are different. ... Do you have any similarities in your predictions? What about the differences?
Now when you've finished the discussion of your free writing you're going to read the text itself. It's called "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. But I'd like to divide you into 2 groups of 4. And each group is going to get half of the text. You must read it as quickly as possible and discuss what the main idea is. You have 5 minutes to read and 5 minutes to discuss.
Now I'm going to divide you again. People from each group should go to another group. I'd like you 2 ladies to move to these 2 chairs. And you 2 ladies to move to this 2 chairs.
Now new groups include people who read both halves of the text. So now we have experts from each half of the text in every group. Two of you know the 1st part of the text and the other 2, you know the other part of the text. I'd like you to share what you know about your half and then I'd like you to write the main idea sentence. (Where does the story take place? Who are the characters? Who is your favourite character and why? Which character don't you like and why? What are the problems the characters face? How do they solve these problems? How does the story end? What lesson does this story teach you? (Money doesn't buy happiness. Relationships bring happiness).
Now would you be so kind to write your main idea sentences on the blackboard.
And now your next task is to evaluate the other group's main idea. The speaker one, could you read your sentence aloud? OK, 2nd group what you think about that main idea? Do you agree or disagree with them?
In our next activity we are going to compare and contrast Scrooge's behaviour before the ghosts' visit and after. In order to do this I'd like to use Venn's diagram. It consists of 2 individual circles and overlapping area in the middle. In the middle of these 2 circles you should write some things about Scrooge that stayed the same before the ghosts' visit and after. In the individual circles write about the differences (what changes in Scrooge's behaviour, in his life take place).
And at the end of our workshop I'd like to present you such method as 6 thinking hats for the stage of reflexion. I'd like you to express your attitude to our workshop and give your self-assessment.
Blue: What was the main idea of today's workshop?
White: What information are you now confident about?
Yellow: What did you like about today's workshop?
Black: What were the weak points of today's workshop?
Red: How do you feel about your work today? (pleased, satisfied, disappointed).
Green: How can you use today's learning in your lessons?
Thank you for your participation in our workshop. Good bye! Good luck!
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The main purpose of foreign language teaching in schools is the formation of students' communicative competence. Successful achievement of this goal is possible with a high level of motivation to learn foreign languages. The use of technology in critical thinking enhances motivation of learning English, improving knowledge and culture of students. Technology of critical thinking involves equal partnership, both in terms of communication, and in terms of design knowledge which is generated in the process of learning. Operating in technology critical thinking, the teacher is no longer the main source of information, and using the techniques of the given technology makes learning fun and collaborative search. Language lessons develop critical thinking through a variety of materials and interactive approach. Here are some of the critical thinking techniques that I use in my experience.