Teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. It includes any technique that involves the students in learning process and holds students to be responsible for their own learning (Hackathorn, at al. (2005:44). Teacher may have many experiences of active teaching techniques at their disposal, perhaps without even being aware of them, by asking questions as a part of normal teacher style. Patricia (1992:179) stated that some teachers emphasize the use of question and answer techniques, others use a lot of programmed teacher. In a very real sense, each teacher uses a different teaching strategy. It means that teaching strategy are the ways in making decisions about a course, an individual class, or even an entire curriculum.
In the context of English Language Teaching (ELT), teachers need to teach English which is relevant to the student’s current situation and the teachers should find good strategies in teaching in the class, one of them by using critical thinking strategy. Critical thinking requires students to use their ability to assess relevant information based on their experiences and the materials. It also enables students to think about and evaluate their own thinking and behavior on issues related to learning English (Wellington, 1999:36). It is about being an active students rather than a passive recipient of information. They will always seek to determine the ideas to promote their knowledge in English language.
Students with critical thinking skills can understand the links between ideas, determine the importance and relevance of arguments and ideas and recognize, build and appraise arguments. Therefore, it is the responsibility of Indonesian EFL teachers to assist their students to acquire critical thinking skills while learning English. Without adequate practice in critical thinking, EFL students may miss the opportunity to advance up the relationship between every student (Junining, 2011:4). It means that critical thinking can give positive significant relationship between the student’s performances in the classroom.
Critical thinking is very simply stated, the ability to analyze, evaluate information and allows students to make sense of the content (Dilley, 2012:4). Students can analyze the content and also they can evaluate the content in applying it to their daily lives. Teachers ask specific questions to get the students to do those things. The first step is to develop the questions that are going to frame teacher’s assignments. Framing the assignments units with essential questions are used to help students in making sense of the knowledge. Teachers should see the learning process in classroom which is going to help students in answer the essential question at the end of the class.
Critical thinkers also raise the vital questions, problems, formulate clearly, assess relevant information, use abstract ideas, think open-mindedly and communicate effectively with others. Passive thinkers suffer a limited and ego-centric view of the world, the students answer the questions with yes or no and view their perspective as the only sensible one and their facts as the only ones relevant (Bassham, 2009:160). Critical thinking is an important and necessary skill because it is required in the workplace, it can help to deal with mental and spiritual questions and it can be used to evaluate people, policies, and institutions in avoiding social problems.
Using questioning techniques, content will be becoming more relevant for every student in the classroom and for the teacher as well. As teachers, it is an incredibly enriching experience because they can see their contents that they may never have thought (Duron, 2006:1). There is often misconception that teaching critical thinking needs. But if teachers have some questions or tools, it will be good ways for students to formulate arguments in response to essential questions. So, by infusing questioning into lessons without changing entire lesson plans or changing entire scope will help the students to create their critical thinking.
Critical thinking can be seen as having two components, such as a set of information and belief generating and processing skills, and the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior. This because of critical thinking as the mode of thinking with any subject, content or problem in which the students improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing (Duron, 2006:3). A good technique also can be used to help students in learning critical thinking such as promoting interaction among students as they learn by learning in a group setting often helps each member achieve more. Asking open-ended questions that do not assume the “one right answer”, critical thinking is often exemplified best when the problems are inherently ill-defined and do not have a “right” answer.
The task faced by a teacher is to learn how to apply critical thinking strategies in the classroom setting regardless of whether that setting is traditional or online (Walker, Walker: 5). Often times in a classroom session, teachers present course concepts and terminology without promoting rigorous interaction with the students. The actual teaching of critical thinking is a function of many situation specific factors: teacher style, teacher interest, teacher knowledge, understanding, class size, cultural, community backgrounds, expectations, student expectations, recent local events, the amount of time available to teachers after they have done all the other things they have to do and teacher grasp of critical thinking (Simpson, 2001:2). Open-ended questions also encourage students to think and respond creatively without fear of giving the “wrong” answer. Allowing sufficient time for students to reflect on the questions asked or problems posed critical thinking seldom involves snap judgments. Therefore, posing questions and allowing adequate time before soliciting responses help the students to understand. In generally the students will do so only if teachers provide opportunities for students to see how a newly acquired skill can apply to other situations and to the student’s own experienceMandernach (2009:50).
The importance and benefits of critical thinking for students such as critical thinking teach a variety of skills that can be applied to any situation in life that calls for reflection, analysis and planning, thinking clearly and systematically can improve the way students express their ideas. Critical thinkingpromotes student’s creativity andprovides the tools for this process of self-evaluation.Critical Thinkingis important in life. It helps students to think creatively“outside the box”. It keeps them from becoming narrow. Rather than relying on teachers and classroom time for instruction and guidance, students with critical thinking become more independent, self-directed learners.
The research that has been conducted related to this topic. One of them was conducted byHove(2011), the student from University of Wisconsin-Stout. This research discussed about the strategies used by primary school teachers to promote young children‘s critical thinking. The finding of this research showsthat the impact of critical thinking strategy teacher in the high school English classroom supports the findings of current literature; students who receive teacher in a critical thinking strategy were better able to demonstrate critical thinking in a post-strategy teacher assessment than those students who had received no strategy teacher.
Based on the explanations above it can be concluded that teachers use the critical thinking to let student’s emotions in taking over when they make an important decision or arguing for their opinions, especially if students are personally invested in it and critical thinking can help students effectively use emotional appeal, letting their feelings influence. By using critical thinking, it will help the students to be better understood the experiences and views of others, promoting student’s ability to work with different people. For example, in group activities, the teachers let students hear their peers’ ideas for accomplishing a task, rather than zeroing in on their own thoughts. This not only shows them that any given problem can have multiple solutions, but it is for them to work together and also to make agreement in one idea and this activities will teach students to cooperate rather than make judgments or assumptions.
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