here - JALT Tokyo Chapter

Exploring critical thinking
through students’ reflective
papers on a CLIL cultural
studies course
Chantal Hemmi
Sophia University
[email protected]
Part 1
• The Context
Part 2
• What is CLIL?
Part 3
• What is critical thinking?
Part 4
• What did I do to encourage critical thinking?
Part 5
• The study
1. The context
• April-July 2012
• English Literature Department
• Sophia University
• Second and third year
• Ten female and two male students
• Monday first period 1.5 hours per week (21 hours in total)
2. What is CLIL?
The most popular definition
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
is a dual-focused educational approach in which an
additional language is used for the learning and
teaching of both content and language.
(Coyle, Hood and Marsh 2010:1)
Mapping CLIL
CLT (weak)
EFL = English as a foreign language
ESL = English as a second language
GTM = Grammar translation method
AL = Audiolingualism
CLT (strong)
‘sink or swim’
CLT = Communicative Language Teaching
PPP = Presentation-Practice-Production
TBI = Task-based instruction
CBI = Content-based instruction
These slides are from Professor Ikeda’s ‘ABCs of CLIL’ presentation
10 pedagogical features
1 Placing equal emphasis on content
learning and language learning
2 Encouraging the use of authentic
materials (e.g. webpages, newspaper)
3 Giving multimodal input (i.e. written/
spoken texts, graphics, statistics, videos)
4 Using various levels of thinking skills
(i.e. LOTS and HOTS)
5 Giving many tasks
These slides are from Professor Ikeda’s ‘ABCs of CLIL’ presentation
6 Making the most of cooperative learning
(e.g. pairwork, group work)
7 Providing scaffolding in content and
8 Incorporating elements of crosscultural understanding and global issues
9 Integrating the four skills
10 Instructing learning skills
These slides are from Professor Ikeda’s ‘ABCs of CLIL’ presentation
3. What I did to encourage critical
thinking: my story as a
• Think of a childhood memory and share your story.
• Make a note of your partner’s story and report it to another
partner after you have finished sharing your stories.
This is Sister Oona, my primary school teacher.
I met her again in February (2010) at a café in Oxford.
A book I read when I was a child
• She remembered the experience so well
• The experience was so memorable
• She remembered how…
What I found interesting about my partner’s story was…
Identity answers the question,
‘Who am I?’ (Sarbin and
Scheibe, 1983; Weigart et al,
‘Identities are defined with
respect to the interaction of
multiple convergent
trajectories’ (Wenger,
‘A community of selves’ (Mair,
‘Identities and beliefs are coconstructed, negotiated and
transformed on an ongoing
basis by means of language.’
(Duff &Uchida, 1997:452)
What is identity? Definitions
Part 1.3
Who cares? Memories of a Childhood in Care
Fred Fever
16 pages
How old was the writer when he was
What were the first parents like?
What was Patrick like?
What did David do?
How old was the writer when he was
Three months old
What were the first parents like?
Jenny was warm and friendly and
What was Patrick like?
Patrick was humiliating, punishing and
What did David do?
He sexually abused him; He threatened
him with castration.
Let’s check the homework.
1. In 1974, Fred was fostered by Betty and Bernard Simmonds.
2. Fred made many friends in Barrow Grove.
3. Fred was not interested in his school work at all.
4. Fred got bad grades from school.
5. Fred was happy to go to a children’s home.
What happened in the rest of the story? (True or false?)
In your view, what is the nature of autobiographies?
It is a true story.
There are real descriptions.
However, is it alright to trust the stories?
Is it a good tool for research?
The nature of autobiographies
Personal reflections: What I did in the CLIL classes (Not necessarily what
should be done in a CLIL class in a prescribed way)
CLIL classes
Language-focussed classes
1. Starting the lesson
Sharing session
Teacher just listens to find a
‘tag’ from which to scaffold new
An activity focussing on the topic,
often with an aim to study linguistic
difficulties/student learning needs.
(Often diagnostic)
2. Shape of the lesson
controlled (TB)
Often the background reading
was set for homework so
students came with prior
knowledge to the classroom
PPP: Controlled-Less controlledLess controlled
TTT: Little control-Control-Little
TB: Controlled-Less controlledControlled
3. Correction on the
Done in the following session to
avoid distraction from the
content and to avoid
Often done on the spot because of
requests from students to do so.
Sometimes group correction/peer
correction using codes
4. Materials
Very visual
Authentic materials
Textbook and authentic materials
5. Vocabulary
Taught in context
Pre-taught before the main activity
Personal reflections
CLIL classes
Language-focussed classes
6. Approach
Task-based with an end-product
Completely integrated
Content : language (50:50)
Communicative approach
Information gap
Sometimes task-based
Process approach
Skills-focussed and achievement
7. Role of teacher
Suggestion maker for informed
Giver of advice on accuracy and
Time-management controller
Advocator of efficacy
Counselor (0ne-on-one)
8. Thinking skills
Core factor
Always an important factor but the
main factor was about the
achievement of language accuracy
and fluency
9. Study skills
Very important factor
Very important especially in the EAP
courses I taught
10. Assessment
Portfolios, exam, essay,
Continuous assessment
4. What is critical thinking?
What is critical thinking?
An active, persistent and careful consideration of a belief
Supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds
which support it
(Dewey, 1909)
Dewey, J. (1998) How We Think. Dover Publications.
• According to Schön (1987) a reflective practitioner
thinks a he/she does things (reflection in action)
and reflects on the actions taken (reflection on
Schön, D. (1987) Educating the Reflective Practitioner. Jossey-Bass
Publishers: London.
Critical thinking skillsa disposition?
• Ennis (1987) focused on the ability to reflect skeptically
and to think in a reasoned way as one’s capability or
Ennis, R. (1987) A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. In J.Baron and R. Sternberg
(eds.). Teaching Thinking Skills: Theory and practice. New York: W.H.Freeman.
Critical thinking: a set of skills
• Cottrell (2011:1) supports the view that critical thinking
can be taught as a set of skills.
• She advocates that it is a cognitive activity that uses
processes such as focussing attention, categorisation,
selection and judgment.
Cottrell, S.(2011) Critical Thinking Skills, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
What are the benefits of focussing on critical thinking?
• We can help students to be able to think and present their
opinions with reasons.
• We can help students to listen critically to others and
agree/disagree with reasons.
• We can help students in the selection of materials they
What are the benefits of focussing on critical
• We can guide them to take control of their
learning and become more autonomous in
what and how they learn.
5. The study
Research questions
• What kind of reflection is shown in the students’ reflective papers?
• How did student thinking develop through the course?
Data collection
• First six weeks of term before the students launched on a project related to
identity and diversity
• Reflective papers were sent to me by e-mail
Sample paper
Data analysis
• I used a grounded theory approach to analyse the data (Glaser & Strauss,
1968), so that the findings remain close to the actual data and as far as
possible retain the ‘voices’ of the participants. I aimed to identify the
commonalities in the kinds of thinking that took place, but at the same time,
I wished to understand the stories that individuals told about their learning
and thinking.
• I analysed the data in this way so as to identify commonalities amongst
what the students’ had expressed in their papers.
What kind of reflection is shown in the
students’ reflective papers?
Personalising concepts
Exploring definitions (personalising
the definitions)
Making comparisons
Analysing content
Thinking about language
Learning through collaboration
Thinking about culture
Thinking about emotions
Forming a hypothesis
Theorising personally
Thinking about suggestions
Thinking about content and language
The data from the reflective papers showed that the students had thought
about both the new content learnt on the course, as well as the English
language itself.
Thinking about content
Three categories emerged from the data; analysing content, personalising
concepts, and making personal theories.
Personalising concepts
It is illuminating that students had personalised concepts by referring back to their own past
Eriko said,‘ I have read some biographies before, but I didn’t think about what is the power of
that what is the difference between biographies and other writings.’
She is comparing biographies and other kinds of writing to understand what kind of impact
they have on the readers. She compares the autobiography we read, which had real data on
how Fred was abused in an orphanage. This text was used in class to analyse how Fred’s
identity was formed. It is interesting that Eriko is trying to personalise a new concept about
the power of autobiographies by comparing them to other books she has read.
Analysing content
(Making comparisons)
When Eriko read an auto-biography of a British person who had lived in orphanages, ’Who cares? Memories of
a Childhood in Care’ (Fever, 1995), there was a reference to his grades from school. Eriko wrote:
‘I do not know whether it is a big difference or not but on the left side one which is written on 19th February in
1976, the teacher refers Fred as ‘Alfred’ though on the right side, the teacher write ‘Fred’. I know those two
words refer to the same person but I wondered what has happened during five month.’
The above text shows that Eriko is comparing the way the teacher referred to the author differently and Eriko
guesses that something must have happened in the relationship between the teacher and Alfred. She is
questioning herself by saying, ‘ I wondered what has happening during five month’. She does not make explicit
what her guesses are but she formed a question to analyse the differences in which Alfred was addressed.
Exploring definitions
When I was a junior high school student I always changed my attitude with whom I talk and I
felt difficulty in defining myself because I didn’t have my consistent character and didn’t know
who I was. It was hard for me to live school life not knowing what my character was.
However, one day I noticed that to try to define my character is just my ‘identity’. That is, to
think about ‘identity’ is exactly identity. (Saki 1-2)
I was very interested in the matter of identity, and I rediscovered the importance of the events
in each personal lives, by listening the lectures of professor and also the opinions of the
classmates. They reminded me of a traumatic episode, which changed my life. I am fascinated
by the fact that our identity stands on the layers of tiny fatal occurance. (Naho 1-5)
Making personal theories
Students wrote out their own definitions in order to make personal theories about identity. For example, Saki
‘Identity was a difficult thing to explain and I have not found the definition of identity yet…In the last class,
having listened to other’s opinion that identity is what makes our core, I have a definition of identity, that is, a
consistent tendency that one always have.’
I was intrigued by the concept of ‘a consistent tendency that one always [has]’, as I think that Saki is thinking
about the fact that one’s identity can change, depending on the people one is interacting with, and that
identity is socially constructed. However, she is thinking there must be a ‘core’ person who determines who
they are. She uses the word, ‘tendency’ to explain that although there is a ‘core person’ within a person, they
may change. ‘Tendency’ is translated as ‘keikou’ in Japanese, and what she means here is that one may tend to
behave differently depending on the circumstances of the social situation and who one’s interlocutor is. By
making such a personal theory about identity, Saki is internalising the content she learnt in the lesson.
Making personal theories
• I think identity is made up with how person spend his or her life so the
biographies tell the readers about the writer’s identity more deeply and
efficiently than the novels they wrote. However, actually the writer might try
to be a hero or heroine of tragedy throughout their writings so I agree with the
opinions that ‘feelings may not be reliable’ and subjectivity would change the
truth. (Eriko1-2)
Thinking about language
• Content is more important than pronunciation. I think many people in British
Council thought Sadako Ogata’s speech is professional, gentle, and easy to
hear, and right speed. The more I hear her speech I like Sadako Ogata’s speech
more. In Japanese there are many people (including me) who think that their
pronunciation is not so good. But now, I change my mind. Even I can become a
good English speaker if I care about the contents and have the will to share my
opinion to everyone. (Aya 2-1)
Learning through collaboration
• Before I took this class, I had thought that my words were reliable and I could
talk my experiences truthfully because they were what I actually experienced
and believed that both what I experienced to a thing and what others
experienced were the same. However, I found that there was a difference of
the way of understanding to a same thing between others and I. (Saki 1-5)
Thinking about culture
• What I found interesting was that just speaking English makes me feel I am
touching foreign culture. Of course English is not Japanese culture, so it is quite
natural for me, Japanese, to feel so. But through using English to
communicate with other students, this might be my over-reacting but, what I
think is not the same when I speak Japanese, I guess that is because speaking
English is not common to me. So my brain is working more than speaking
Japanese, I like this feelings. (Keisuke)
Thinking about emotions
• Autobiography is interesting. It was the first time for me to read
autobiography; therefore Fred Fever’s sad childhood day’s records really
touched me. I heave read a biography of my favourite author J.R.R.Tolkien and
it was entirely different. The reason why Fred Fever’s autobiography touched
me is its word had a ‘power’; alternatively, it included his emotion.
• As I read this article, I could experience his happiness, fear, anger and all
sorts of feelings which he experienced. (Natsumi 1-1)
Forming a hypothesis
and making a suggestion
• I wondered if the voters are included other English native speakers who is like
from USA, Australia or Canada, the results may different from this one.
• I think if this type of research would be done, the results might be more
influenced by the preferences of the selectors. (Eriko 2-2)
How did the students’ thinking develop
through the course?
They started to apply their own thinking initially to personalise new concepts that were
presented in class.
They did this by comparing things they knew, referring back to their own experiences.
They made their own definitions and understood that they were allowed to make mistakes.
They learnt to make a hypothesis and made some assumptions with reasons.
They started to theorise and make suggestions about problems that needed to be sorted.
The developed their confidence in making critical comments about what the teacher had
Development of student thinking
Forming a
about culture
Bloom’s taxonomy (revised)
(Higher Order
Thinking Skills)
(Lower Order Thinking
Language of
Language for
Conclusions and implications
• The reflective papers served as a good tool for students to think about what
they learnt and what they understood.
• They also served as a good tool for analysing how the students’ thinking
developed overtime.
• Students thought about content and language and culture by
communicating with one another in groups and pairs
The four principles driving CLIL
Taken from uncovering CLIL
Mehisto. Marsh, Frigols (2008)
Community (Culture)
Hypothesising and making personal theories
• Students thought about the content they learnt and in their reflection they
started to make their own personal theories in the process of interpreting
newly learnt content
Theorising and making suggestions
• Students theorised and made suggestions about problems that needed to
be sorted.
Limitations and implications for future
• The data gathered are small and the findings are limited to this small group
of students. In future, it would be good to collect more data from other
classes where CLIL is employed. By examining other groups and findings, it
would help to create a multiple perspective on student reflections of things
they have learnt.
• My small-scale research would only serve as a part of a pilot study for a
research project. In future, it would be useful to collect data on student
perspectives of what they thought they had learnt throughout the course.
CLIL Books
If you are interested in the topic of identity…

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