Critical Thinking in Second Language Learning: An Intercultural Approach

Abstract

It is commonly agreed that critical thinking is a significant concept to be promoted in our students at higher education level, particularly considering the time of turbulent changes that societies are immersed nowadays. In this study I have developed the idea of critical thinking taking Brookfield, Paul and Elder’s conception and it has been applied to Second Language Learning, more specifically to learning Spanish as a L2. This study is based on critical thinking as a means of questioning your assumptions and reflecting about your own thinking process in order to improve it through different perspectives. The ultimate goal is to apply these strategies in making decisions in real life situations. Teaching and learning a second language is a privileged ground to develop this kind of thinking because the students are facing a different culture, a new way of thinking and living. This factor can make them reassess their own way of thinking. As a result, they can discover some assumptions that they have taken for granted because they are part of their cultural background. This is especially relevant if we take into consideration the importance cultural shock. In this study I have interviewed people from Spain who live in Thailand and I have used their stories reporting a cultural shock experience. Afterwards I have used these stories in order to create activities based on real experience. The idea of reading these stories is to provoke the reflection in our students about their assumptions in relation to their own culture and to be more aware of their own cultural code of behavior and their own identity. Finally, this reflection will help them to be more intercultural competent citizens.



Author Information
Maria del Mar Calero Guerrero, Mahidol University International College, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2013
Stream: Education

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Posted by amp21