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★ Critical Thinking in ELT: A Working Model for the Classroom

A Working Model of Critical Thinking in ELT

“This book focuses on the role of critical thinking in the English language classroom, showing how it can be used to achieve a greater understanding of individual words and sentences, of longer pieces of discourse, of ideas, and of different means of communication. To accomplish these goals, we will set out a framework (or working model) that helps ELT teachers understand the role of critical thinking in the context of their lesson aims, classroom practice, and materials design. Our working model will also present critical thinking in relation to other lower-and higher-order thinking skills, so that the reader can more easily identify what critical thinking is and what it is not. Essentially, critical thinking activities are those parts of a lesson or exercise that require a learner to inquire more thoroughly about language or ideas in order to achieve a better understanding: to ask, What is really going on here? Take the example of a reading comprehension lesson. Asking a learner if certain statements about a passage are true or false will check a learner’s basic comprehension (i.e., What did the author say?). If, however, we ask learners to choose true, false, or not enough information given for the same statements, we open up a whole new space for deeper inquiry. Learners will have to distinguish between information that may be implied or is generally true, but that is not actually stated in the text. They may ask, Why has the author chosen to address this issue and not another? What are the author’s real intentions? Is he or she motivated by a particular bias? And so on.”


“This book presents a useful treatment of how broad ideas about critical thinking can be translated into particular classroom practices. The book brings together the authors’ views of critical thinking with their experiences working with teachers on these ideas. Paul Dummett and John Hughes have done a wonderful job of creating a text that bridges these important ideas with various ways of implementing them.”
Donald Freeman
University of Michigan


Scope and sequence

Unit 1


Critical Thinking in ELT

Through accessible examples from their own experiences in the classroom, Paul Dummett and John Hughes provide English language teachers with practical ways to incorporate critical thinking into every class. Dummett and Hughes define critical thinking for English language teaching and demonstrate how challenging young adult and adult learners at all levels to think both critically and creatively develops learner autonomy, increases learner motivation, and promotes authentic communication.

The authors
John Hughes
John Hughes has worked in ELT for twenty years as a teacher, teacher trainer and director of studies. Currently, he runs training courses, both face-to-face and online. He is also an author with over 20 ELT books. His books for Cengage Learning and National Geographic Learning include Spotlight on FCE, Practical Grammar, Total Business and the new six-level National Geographic course for adult learners called Life

Paul Dummett
Paul Dummett is a teacher and writer based in Oxford, UK, where he ran his own school teaching English to professionals from 1996 to He currently teaches refugee children in Palestine and Jordan with The Hands Up project. His main interests are the use of images and narrative in language teaching and how these can aid deeper learning and memory. Seeking out writing projects that explore these interests he has found a natural home at National Geographic Learning, co-authoring titles such as Life and Keynote and acting as a Course Consultant for Look, a seven-level primary series. He enjoys travel, exercise and live music/spoken word performance.

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