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Improving L2 Writing Ability in the Light of Critical Thinking

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Author(s): Mostafa Morady Moghaddam | Shirin Malekzadeh

Journal: Theory and Practice in Language Studies
ISSN 1799-2591

Volume: 1;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 789;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: critical thinking | writing skill | background knowledge | EFL learners

ABSTRACT
With a cursory glance into the field of SLA, one can vividly recognize that the place of writing has been marginalized in comparison to other skills. Likewise, with the widespread implementation of communicative approaches to language teaching, writing has turned to a Cinderella skill in current EFL classes since most of the attention is paid to speaking and listening activities. However, improving writing ability has always been a concern for teachers, materials developers, and researchers. In this paper, the role of critical thinking (CT) in improving the writing ability of EFL learners was investigated. For this purpose, 70 EFL learners were asked to write a composition about a unique topic they had never thought before. A placement test was given to learners to divide them into proficient and less-proficient groups to see whether there is any variation between them. The common themes of the writings of these two groups were examined before introducing the principles of CT. After the first drafts of learners’ compositions were gathered, all of the learners were taught some underlying principles of CT. The results showed that after explicitly teaching the principles of CT, learners’ writings, in both groups, improved qualitatively and quantitatively; however, it had better effects on proficient learners. Background knowledge was also considered. It was revealed that having sufficient background knowledge is not the main key toward success in better writing. The findings proved that CT remained useful even when learners did not have any background information about the topic they were asked to write. Critical thinking was a way to provide learners with specific tools, namely, imaginative, supportive, and disciplinary. Finally, some recommendations are given.

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