9. Critical Thinking Skills

At higher levels of language learning, we can expect our student to think in English. Best way to implement and look at this practice is to look to global mass media, English Westernized culture, on how it affect students locally while being a global phenomenon.

This approach is called ‘think locally and act globally’. In a class of young student adults we would like them to conversate in English but first get to know each other names and find some common ground which is mass media and then debate about its influences both good and bad. In this lesson, students exchange names by passing each around a piece of lined paper writing their names down on it until the teacher says stop. Then each student will find each student from the small list of names and ask them a series of questions about TV. Questions like ‘How many hours of TV you watch?’, ‘What type of shows do you watch?’, ‘What TV show is the best?’ and etc. At the end, data is collected and reported and students will find out how global mass media has affected them both in a good and bad way which is discussed openly in class in English.

The lesson used a number of different strategies that involved self-management and communication skills. Higher level thinking or critical thinking skills were unconsciously used because mass media is so prevalent and consumed daily, students can think and learn through this activity lesson with relative ease.

Another mass media lesson that involves critical thinking skills is to make young adult student write and act out a family problem of too much mass media consumption. A group of student perform an act that supposedly shows the adolescent children of a family listening or playing too much video games and not interacting with family during needed family time like watching a nature program or playing a family board game. Acting out family expectations and routines is a easy familiarized framework young student adults can discuss about in English because it is exposed in mass media.

There are some good mass media and some bad ones. Young adults can identify with what is expected of them as they are the target of mass media. These young adult students then can discuss and address social norms and values which are highly critical and creative topics of interest at their age group.

In both examples, mass media was topic of choice because it tied directly into the lives of each young adult as they were the consumers of such media and target as well. This is in the topic of social studies which young adults learn and live out daily which has critical and creative thinking involved. The messages that come across in classroom discussion can be good and bad in determining what is proper human development. All of this planning, strategizing,  and communicating is occurring in English medium because of how far mass media has penetrated into young adult lives. As English becomes more and more prevalent through mass media, there is no limit what kind of English lesson we can create in the classroom.