A group of 7 students attended the extracurricular activity “Developing Critical Thinking Skills with 1st Year University Students” organised on the 14th of February 2011 at FELT School in Balti. The activity was organized by Daniela Murgulet, program coordinator in collaboration with Jonathon R. French, Peace Corps Volunteer, English Education Program.
The students were informed how to build their critical thinking skills using Bloom’s taxonomy of the cognitive domain. They were encouraged to read an informative text about St. Valentine’s Day and raise awareness about their critical thinking skills by answering comprehensive questions on the text that were grouped according to the 6 levels of thinking suggested in the Bloom’s taxonomy.
The students found exercises based on the optical illusion pictures and the Bloom’s taxonomy really helpful to raise their awareness about their critical thinking skills. They have also mentioned the activity gave them the opportunity to find out more information about the origin of St. Valentine’s Day.
Although the presenters tried to encourage the students to critically analyze the customs and traditions of St. Valentine’s Day, the students had fun learning and practicing topical vocabulary like “shooting love arrows into people’s hearts”, “love struck”, “falling in love”, etc., did a good job answering questions from the first three levels… and enjoyed the opportunity to have an authentic speaker at the university due to the kind contribution of Jonathon R. French.
So, is it possible to integrate critical thinking skills into the syllabus of English language designed for the first year university students? The results of this activity give evidence that it is possible and that a series of continuous activities will help the students improve their creative and critical thinking skills which is a very important skill in order to become proficient in a foreign language.