DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LESSONS

 DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LESSONS

              This article deals with the problem of using some methodological techniques for the development of critical thinking in English lessons in high school. The article presents a brief overview of current issues on this topic and a model task and exercise for developing the skills of critical comprehension of a literary text in the process of reading. This task model consists of informative, language exercises and communicative tasks aimed at critical analysis of the material read.

     Key words: critical thinking, technology, three-phase lesson structure, challenge, comprehension, reflection.

             Today, in various scientific studies, you can find a different definition of the term «critical thinking». Critical thinking is a judgment system that is used to analyze various speech objects and events from a critical point of view and formulate sound conclusions. This type of activity allows you to make reasonable assessments, interpretations, as well as correctly apply the results obtained to analogous or other situations and problems. In a general sense, critical thinking means thinking at a higher level than subcritical thinking. [1,1].

            Critical thinking is the ability of a person to question incoming information, including their own beliefs.

           There is an opinion that the transition to a critical level of thinking in a particular community is a necessary prerequisite for the beginning of the civilizational development of this community.

            J.A. Braus and D. Wood define it as reasonable reflective thinking, focused on deciding what to believe and what to do. [1, 2]. Critical thinking, in their opinion, is the search for common sense and the ability to abandon one’s own prejudices. Critical thinking does not mean negativity or criticism, it means the intelligent consideration of a variety of approaches in order to make basic judgments and decisions. Orientation to critical thinking assumes that nothing is taken for granted and each student, regardless of authority, develops his own opinion in the context of the curriculum. This is an open mind that does not accept dogmas, developing by overlaying new information on life experience. This is where it differs from traditional thinking. Critical thinking is the starting point for the development of creative thinking, they develop in synthesis, interdependently.         The technology of critical thinking gives the trainee:

• Ability to work collaboratively with others

• Ability to take responsibility for one’s own education

• Improving the efficiency of information perception

• Increasing interest, both in the material being studied and in the learning process itself

• Desire and ability to become a person who learns throughout life.

          Critical thinking technology gives the teacher the opportunity to:

• Create an atmosphere of openness and responsible collaboration in the classroom

• Use a system of effective methods that contribute to the development of independence

• To help students become practitioners and analysts at the same time, who at the same time are able to correctly analyze their activities.

• Become a source of valuable information for colleagues. [2, 1-3].

          If we talk about teaching foreign languages, then it is communicative methods that have recently received a new impetus: There is a turn from the assimilation of various aspects of the language (vocabulary, grammar) to the active use of a foreign language in life. A foreign language becomes, on the one hand, a means of obtaining professional or other information, and on the other hand, a means of communication.

          The material for the development of critical thinking skills in high school students was publicistic texts on modern publicistic topics: in politics, the culture of the language being studied.

          For the development of communication skills, which is closely related to the development of a critical assessment of students of contemporary events in the above areas of social life.

         The technology for the development of critical thinking (TRKM) was proposed in the 90s of the 20th century by American scientists C. Meredith, C. Temple, J. Steele as a special teaching method that answers the question: how to teach to think? Various techniques related to working with information, organizing work in a class, a group, proposed by the authors of the project, are “key words”, working with various types of questions, active reading, graphic ways of organizing material. [3, 8]

         The basis of the technology is the three-phase structure of the lesson: challenge, comprehension, reflection. Each phase has its own goals and objectives, as well as a set of characteristic techniques aimed first at activating research and creative activity, and then at comprehending and generalizing the acquired knowledge.

         At the stage of the call (evocation), the existing knowledge is updated; awakening interest in obtaining new information; setting the student’s own learning goals; activation of their activity of already existing knowledge on the studied, motivation for further work.

         American journalist Alex Osborne (1888-1966) published a book in 1942, where he described the first version of brainstorming. Alex Osborne, one of the pioneers in the field of creativity research, said: “Quantity, quantity, quantity. Here is the motto of the day «And he added:» The more attempts, the more likely it is to hit the target «),

by following four principles:

1) the principle of exclusion of criticism (you can express any thought without fear that it will be recognized as bad);

2) encouraging the most unbridled association (the wilder the idea, the better);

3) the requirement that the number of proposed ideas be as large as possible;

4) recognition that the ideas expressed are not anyone’s property, no one has the right to monopolize them, each student has the right to combine the ideas expressed by others, modify them, improve and improve [4, 16]

          The main task of a foreign language as a subject area of the educational process is the mastering of a foreign language by high school students and familiarizing them with a foreign culture. It consists mainly in the formation of communicative competence, i.e. ability and readiness to carry out both direct communication (speaking, listening comprehension) and indirect communication (reading and understanding of fiction texts in a foreign language, writing). The formation of these skills is one of the main goals of the educational process. This is relevant in modern society, since one of the main principles of modern foreign language education is the study of language and culture. In the educational program of general education schools, speaking is considered the main communicative aspect. High school students should be able to express themselves correctly.

           For the effective development of critical thinking in English lessons in high school, in this study, a system of exercises was developed for high school students in the field of the above-mentioned communicative foreign language competencies in an English lesson. Below are examples of assignments for reading a literary text.               Text tasks can be divided into a preliminary stage, a stage of tasks performed during reading and a stage after reading the text.

The preliminary stage of tasks assumes that students perform tasks to discuss issues related to the conceptual information of the text. For example, for reading a literary text, students of the 10th grade «Newspaper Chase» can be offered the following task algorithm:

Assignment 1. Think and answer the following questions.

What is the man doing? Where is he?

According to the title, what do you think the event is about?

Do you know something about the Newspaper chase?

Why is he looking at the newspaper?

In the second task, students are given new words, phrases and definitions for them to learn and to be able to use them. For example:

Assignment 2. Read the tale and write down the new vocabulary. Study the new words, word combinations and their definitions.

For example:

Art gallery, n. —

Chase, v.-

frame, n. —

reward, n. —

reporter, n. — 

thief, n. —  

truck, n. —   

The third task is given for reflection before reading the text.

  For example:

 Assignment 3

1.Look at the first page of the book. Think about the title of the book (Newspaper Chase). What does it mean?

2. People sometimes buy paintings for a million dollars. Why?

Are they right or wrong?

The fourth task is given to match each word or phrase with the correct definition.

Assignment 4.  Match each word or phrase with the correct definition.

ChaseA thing given in recognition of one’s service, effort, or achievement.
frame  pursue in order to catch or catch up with.
reward  A rigid structure that surrounds or encloses something such as a door or window.
thief  A person who reports, especially one employed to report news or conduct interviews for newspapers or broadcasts.
reporter  A person who steals another person’s property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence.
truck  A large, heavy motor vehicle used for transporting goods, materials, or troops.

The step during reading assumes that, in this block, high school students read the text and perform these tasks. The first task is given to fill in the gaps using new words. This is necessary in order for high school students to activate the use of new words in the text. For example,

Assignment 1. Write the correct word in the sentences below: art galleries thief breaks million-frame vase dollar

 (a) Harry takes the painting from its ______.

 (b) American money is the ______.

 (c) I like paintings. I often go to ______ ______.

 (d) Harry is a ______.

 (e) The beautiful ______ is blue.

 (f) I have a lot of money. I buy paintings for one ______dollars.

 (g) Harry ______ the vase into pieces.

In the second task, high school students answer general questions about the content of the text.

For example, Assignment 2. Answer to the following questions.

(a) What time is it when Harry goes to the art gallery?

(b) How does Harry see the painting in the dark?

(c) What does Harry take from his coat, when he takes the painting from its frame?

(d) What color is the beautiful vase?

(e) Why does Harry smile?

In the third task, write the correct words in the sentences below. For example,

Assignment 3. 1 Write the correct words in the sentences below: rooming house thousand reporter painting piece truck

 (a) The building is one ______ years old.

(b) Harry tries to get money for the ______.

(c) The recycling ______ comes on Fridays.

(d) I have a room in a ______ ______.

(e) I am a ______ for a newspaper.

(f) I like this cake, can I have a big ______ please.

Assignment 4. Are the questions right or wrong?

 (a) Harry puts the painting in the kitchen.

(b) Mrs. Allen and Janey hear Harry come home.

(c) Janey thinks recycling is important.

(d) The vase is in a thousand pieces now.

(e) Harry wants fifty-five thousand dollars for the painting?

The post-reading stage includes a block of tasks aimed at developing creativity and public speaking skills. In this block, high school students draw their conclusions, participate in various tasks to develop the above skills. High school students learn to express their opinion in pairs and then publicly. For example:

Assignment 1.Work with a partner.

Look at the pictures in the book. Tell your partner the story again. Look at the pictures, not the words. You tell the first part of the story, your partner can tell the second part.

In the second and third tasks, high school students can express their thoughts, their ideas in relation to this text. for example

Assignment 2. Make your own judgments on the following questions:

1.What is the subject matter of the text under consideration?

2. Do you recycle? What do you recycle? Do you think recycling is important? Why?

Assignment 3. Make a judgment about your attitude  to the characters in a few words\few phrases. 

The next task is given to retell the same text using keywords. Thanks to this task, high school students develop oral speech skills. For example:

Retell the text by using key words and word combinations given below: art gallery, box, break, chase, dollar, frame, glass, jump, rooming, house, million, painting, piece, recycling, remember, reporter, reward, thief, thousand, truck, vase.

The next task involves discussion. In addition to the discussion, students are given the opportunity to express their opinion about this problem in the text, to present other solutions. For example:

Assignment 5. Discussion time.

          For example: by reading the text, the student can show the problem and the next task is to give solutions of this problem.

            Thus, the article presents a brief overview of current problems on this topic and presents a model of tasks and exercises for developing critical thinking skills in the process of reading a literary text. This task model consists of informative, language exercises and communicative tasks aimed at critical analysis of the read text.

             One of the reasons the use of critical thinking technology is so effective in facilitating meaningful learning is that it serves as a kind of template to help structure knowledge. Although the structure of the lesson should be created piecemeal with small units of interacting conceptual and propositional frameworks. This simple tool promotes meaningful learning and the creation of powerful knowledge structures that not only enable knowledge to be used in new contexts but also retain knowledge over long periods of time.

             Thus, the use of specially designed task technologies is an effective way to develop critical thinking skills in foreign language lessons. These technologies occupy an important place in the structure of the lesson and require high school students to critically comprehend the language material based on its increasing complexity. In the process of organizing a lesson and lexical-semantic topics, these technologies allow you to make connections between subjects and create a deeper understanding and evaluation of the complexity of the world, to form your own goals. Lessons based on the critical comprehension of a literary text contribute to the development of learning skills and cognitive abilities.

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