Colin Ward looks at how to support students to think critically in the language classroom. Colin is a Professor of ESOL at Lone Star College – North Harris in Houston, Texas. He is also a co-author of Q: Skills for Success and the forthcoming Trio Writing, both published by Oxford University Press.
As teachers, it’s not always easy to embrace uncertainty. There is comfort in knowing exactly what a lesson will cover, what questions are going to be asked, and how students are supposed to respond.
However, a paradigm shift often occurs when teachers push students toward thinking critically. By its very nature, critical thinking brings teachers and students to a much more ambiguous place. There is no single correct answer—but many. Teachers are asked to adopt a “pedagogy of questions” instead of a “pedagogy of answers.” 4 They might not have all the answers, and answers might themselves be…
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