EFL Students’ Attitudes towards E-learning and Assessment of Critical Thinking Skills

مواقف طلاب اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية تجاه التعلم الإلكتروني وتقييم مهارات التفكير النقدي

Attitudes des étudiants d’anglais à l’égard de l’apprentissage en ligne et évaluation des capacités de pensée critique

Sabri Fatma et Benmostefa Nawal

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Référence électronique

Sabri Fatma et Benmostefa Nawal, « EFL Students’ Attitudes towards E-learning and Assessment of Critical Thinking Skills », Aleph [En ligne], 8 (2) | 2021, mis en ligne le 29 juillet 2021, consulté le 23 septembre 2021. URL : https://aleph-alger2.edinum.org/4403

This paper, in its preliminary attempt, establishes a general perception in higher education that critical thinking as a matter has a good deal to contribute to the study of English as a foreign language. It tries to confirm the fact that however critical thinking-integrated foreign language teaching holds an important place in foreign language education ; it is still neglected within the Department of English. Thanks to this paper you will come to know more about a very critical issue which is critical thinking that is earning much credit in education, nowadays, especially with the current ever-changing world.
This study aimed at investigating English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners’ attitudes towards the implementation of an eportfolio assessment in order to improve English language assessment and testing. To address all these issues, a quantitative approach was adopted. In relevance to this research approach, a case study design was selected. Thus, this present research attempts to explore the nature of teaching critical thinking through eportfolio in the Department of English in one of the Algerian Universities (Tlemcen University
- Abou Bekr Belkaid).

تضع هذه الورقة، في محاولتها الأولية، تصورًا عامًا حول التعليم العالي بأن التفكير الناقد مسألة ذات أهمية كبيرة للمساهمة في دراسة اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية. تحاول هذه الدراسة تأكيد حقيقة أن تعليم اللغات الأجنبية بإدماج التفكير النقدي رغم احتلاله مكانًا مهمًا في تعليم اللغة الأجنبية؛ لا يزال مهملاً داخل قسم اللغة الإنجليزية. بالإضافة إلى ذلك فإن في الوقت الحاضر، لا سيما مع العالم المتغير باستمرار يعد التعرف على المزيد حول هذه القضية الحرجة للغاية وهي التفكير الناقد بالارتكاز على التعليم الإلكتروني ضرورة ملحة، خاصة في ما يخص التعليم الجامعي و هذا ما تهدف إليه هذه الورقة.
و بهذا الصدد فإن هذا البحث كان قائما على دراسة مواقف متعلمي اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية (EFL) تجاه تنفيذ تعليم و تقييم الحافظة الإلكترونية من أجل تحسين تقييم واختبار اللغة الإنجليزية. لمعالجة كل هذه القضايا، تم اعتماد نهج كمي. فيما يتعلق بهذا النهج البحثي، تم اختيار تصميم دراسة الحالة. وهكذا، يحاول هذا البحث الحالي استكشاف طبيعة تدريس التفكير الناقد من خلال محفظة إلكترونية في قسم اللغة الإنجليزية في إحدى الجامعات الجزائرية (جامعة تلمسان - أبو بكر بلقايد(.

Cet article, dans sa tentative préliminaire, établit une perception générale dans l’enseignement supérieur selon laquelle la pensée critique en tant que question a beaucoup à contribuer à l’étude de l’anglais en tant que langue étrangère. Il tente de confirmer le fait que, cependant, l’enseignement des langues étrangères intégré à la pensée critique occupe une place importante dans l’enseignement des langues étrangères ; il est encore négligé au sein du département d’anglais. Grâce à cet article, vous en saurez plus sur une question très critique qui est la pensée critique qui gagne beaucoup de crédit dans l’éducation, de nos jours, en particulier dans le monde actuel en constante évolution.
Cette étude visait à examiner les attitudes des apprenants d’anglais langue étrangère (EFL) à l’égard de la mise en œuvre d’une évaluation de portefeuille électronique afin d’améliorer l’évaluation et les tests de la langue anglaise. Pour résoudre tous ces problèmes, une approche quantitative a été adoptée. En rapport avec cette approche de recherche, un modèle d’étude de cas a été sélectionné. Ainsi, cette présente recherche tente d’explorer la nature de l’enseignement de la pensée critique à travers l’eportfolio dans le département d’anglais de l’une des universités algériennes (Université de Tlemcen - ABOU BEKR BELKAID).

Introduction

Significant consideration appears to increasingly grow in critical thinking as the basis for any educational reform especially in today’s globalized world. Knowing the lack of attention regarding pre-tertiary teaching of critical thinking leads to its persistent demand as an inbuilt characteristic of the post-secondary education due to the relevant weight assigned to critical thinking instruction. The decision to embark upon cultivating EFL learners to think critically is the heart of a student-centred approach which affords societies with responsible and serviceable citizens who are likely to add positively and significantly to the development of their nations and to meet the needs of an ever growing process, globalization. Critical thinking integrated to Teaching English in EFL Classrooms represents the starting point of a challenging topic which is the electronic teaching/learning and assessment in accordance to that issue.

1. Review of Literature

Preliminary work in the field of critical thinking (henceforward ; CT) focused primarily on its teaching rather than its assessment, as well as, main seminal study carried out on assessment focused on portfolio rather than eportfolio assessment. In order to better understand those controversies surrounding those issues, the following reported review of the literature is of paramount importance.

1.1. Defining Critical Thinking

Education can be expanded, in its broad sense, to include CT instruction, not least teaching English as a foreign language (hereafter referred to as ‘TEFL’). If the truth be told, the teaching/learning of English as a foreign language (henceforth ; EFL) is becoming obsolete given the increasing relentless demand of CT instruction. However, before embarking into CT training, it is sine qua non to ask ; ‘do we, really, know what critical thinking is ?’ In this prospect, it is agreed among scholars upon the non-agreement of the uniqueness of a definition of critical thinking (Mason, 2008). Thus this issue is too difficult and complex to be defined in only one way.

Practically speaking, Ennis (1985) views critical thinking as being characterised by reason and reflection which are necessary criteria for the heart of critical thinking that is ‘deciding what to believe or do’. Hence, he concludes that critical thinking is an activity which is practical since the process involved (i.e. decision making) in itself is a practical avtivity. Similarly, Paul & Elder (2013) stress the notion of practice as being the core value of critical thinking.

Succinctly, on the other hand, moving from information to logic to analysis to interpretation to end up with conclusions, Doddington claims that ; “Critical thinking is broadly seen as the kind of logical thinking that helps us to analyse and make sense of, or interpret, all forms of situations or information so that the conclusions we draw from our interpretations are sound.” (2008, p. 109).

As stated by Paul & Elder (2006), thinking in its nature is inborn and innate by nature. According to them ; “Everyone thinks ; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced.” (Paul & Elder, 2006, p. 4). Note also that, so defined, Critical thinking skills are learned skills (Novella, 2012). However, as backed up by Stella (2005) when digging deeper into CT, she confirms that no one is absolutely a beginner.

In response, well established critical thinking skills in the mind of an EFL learner is sine qua non for better learning achievements since learning a foreign language necessitates such a kind of thinking in that foreign language. In this vein, Beatrice & Linda (1996, p. 180) assert that ; “If you want to read well in English, you must think in English as you read. If you think in another language and translate from the English, you will always have difficulty with comprehension.”

It won’t be amiss to say that critical thinking works for our benefit taking into consideration three (03) dimensions of thought (idealistic, realistic, and pragmatic) as highlighted by Paul & Elder (2013, p. 13) ;

Critical thinking helps us to see with new eyes. It does not require us to endanger ourselves or act against our best interest. We must integrate three dimensions of thought. We must be idealistic (and thus capable of imagining a better world). We must be realistic (and thus see things as they are). And we must be pragmatic (and thus adopt effective measures for moving toward our ideals).

Unfortunately, there still much negligence regarding CT instruction in all fields of education and even within TEFL. That is why much attention should be given to teaching CT as well as the assessment of it within an EFL context. It should come as no surprise to all educators that CT teaching/learning and assessment in relation to technology is positively viewed. Supporting the integration of CT within EFL context with e-learning is of great help and assistance.

1.2. Assessing Critical Thinking

It is prima facie evidence that assessment is akin to teaching in terms of importance especially regarding CT instruction. Regardless of the difficulty surrounding both issues, it is worthy of a challenge for the benefit of improvement on all fields of life. CT assessment specifically is considered as being more challenging than any other assessment in general. As being a challenging topic it should gain much credit to overcome difficulties and match the ongoing educational reforms.

According to Marzano, Pickering & McTighe “...three factors have contributed to the demands for assessment reform : the changing nature of educational goals ; the relationship between assessment and teaching and learning ; and the limitations of the current methods of recording performance and reporting credit” (1993, p. 9). In response, Angelo (1999) emphasizes that assessment requires to be conceptualised differently as a novel mental model.

In this line of thought, it appears fundamental to go through critical thinking assessment as a process that requires to be purposefully thought of. Testing critical thinking from Ennis (1993, p. 180&181) point of view has to be for some seven (07) mindful purposes ;

  1. Diagnosing the levels of students’ critical thinking.

  2. Giving students feedback about their critical thinking prowess.

  3. Motivating students to be better at critical thinking.

  4. Informing teachers about the success of their efforts to teach students to think critically.

  5. Doing research about critical thinking instructional questions and issues.

  6. Providing help in deciding whether a student should enter an educational program.

  7. Providing information for holding schools accountable for the critical thinking prowess of their students.

1.3. Publisched critical Thinking tests

Nowadays, a number of standardized instruments that measure critical thinking is available. Most of the critical thinking tests are published online and each is designed upon a certain conception of critical thinking skills. Here are five (05) of the most well known and widely used standardized instruments for gauging and assessing critical thinking.

1.3.1. California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST

This test, available in six (06) languages from Insight Assessment, is composed of seven (07) scales ; Truthseeking, Open-mindedness, Analyticity, Systematicity, Confidence in Reasoning, Inquisitiveness and Maturity of Judgment. California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI) is divided into two sections ; “Sample Reasoning Skills Questions” which is a sampling of five reasoning skills questions, and, at the end, a sample score report and the other section is “Sample Reasoning Mindset Items” as a sampling of “agree-disagree” style items which survey beliefs and attitudes (the test taker scroll through the items and simply indicate the extent to which s/he agrees or disagrees with each of the 24 statements, and, at the end, a sample individualized score report. Time for completing this test in each section is limited to nine (09) minutes (Insight Assessment, 2019).

1.3.2. Test Of Everyday Reasoning

TER Tests are accessible anywhere and anytime, whether to assess an individual’s or group’s basic reasoning skills. The Test of Everyday Reasoning (TER) is designed for test takers in all ages in the general population and mainly for adults of high school or the first two years of post-secondary education. TER reports provide overall reasoning skills score as well as scale scores in (analysis, interpretation, inference, evaluation, explanation, induction, deduction and numeracy) for each test-taker and group. This test is generally used by public and private high schools, prep schools, community colleges and American and European International Schools (“Test of Everyday Reasoning” [TER], n.d.).

1.3.3. Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (W-Gcta)

Assessment Day provided a number of tests, among them ; Numerical, verbal, inductive, diagrammatic, logical, situational judgement, In-Tray & E-Tray, assessment centre, graduate benchmark, error checking, critical thinking, deductive, capp numerical, capp verbal, test partnership numerical, test partnership verbal , mechanical, and personality questionnaire. (W-GCTA) assesses ones’ ability to logically analyse assumptions, arguments, deductions, inferences and interpreting information through different sections ; Arguments Section Test, Assumptions Section Test, Deductions Section Test, Inferences Test Section, and Interpretations Section Test (“Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal” [W-GCTA], n.d.).

1.3.4. Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric

Facione, Facione and The California Academic Press (1994) established a tool for developing and evaluating critical thinking which is a four-level scoring rubric from “weak” to “strong” with some key instructions about how to use the rubric. This kind of rating measure is used to gauge the quality of critical thinking demonstrated in an oral presentation or written text, where the presenter is required to be explicit about his/her thinking process. The Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric (HCTSR) is based on extensive study on assessing critical thinking and it can be used in any educational program or assessment process but it does not enable an institution to compare students’ results with national norms.

1.3.5. Online Critical Thinking Basic Concepts Test

The test of basic concepts and international understandings of critical thinking was generated by the main international authorities in the field of critical thinking, Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul, as well as his colleague, Dr. Rush Cosgrove. It is the first comprehensive and institutional critical thinking test of concepts and principles to be developed and presented for use over the Internet. The test which is a three-part, 100-component test and requires about 45 minutes to complete might be used at secondary level and above (college, university, graduate level). Over the past quarter century, Paul and his colleagues have developed at the Critical Thinking Foundation, the objective approach to critical thinking that the test was built upon. It is the only critical thinking test that treats critical thinking as a multidisciplinary system of interdependent concepts, principles and understandings (“Critical Thinking Basic Concepts Test”, n.d.)

It appears that a broad array of both academic and non-academic competencies are necessary for the modern workplace which are tightly related to technology as highlighted by Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger & Kremer (2006),

Undoubtedly, the priority for technology investments will be to support instruction. Technology can also be used to enhance the practice of assessment, through the training of teachers in formative assessment and the interpretation of the learner’s work. Assessment specialists can also benefit from improved training and access to the latest software (p.26).

1.3.6. E-learning

E-learning, online learning, or digital learning is an evidence based strategy for actively engaging students in the learning process. Interestingly, embarking students in an online learning course of action might help them develop valuable skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and navigating and evaluating information through technology. These skills as well as others obtained through e-learning are recognized as 21st century skills since they are essential for success in the 21st century workplace.

Sabri (2018) pointed out that, “Meeting the needs of a digital age with regard to higher education and new critical thinking skills’ demands involves mastering certain digital skills and especially eportfolio.” (“Eportfolio Assessment,” para.1). Likewise, eportfolio strategy affects and reflects successful online learning. An eportfolio development process is not exclusively about the success of an individual development, it is about looking for smart ways to massively produce e-learning at scale as well. So, what is the best process for developing successful electronic portfolio ?

Successful e-learning process needs a focused eportfolio procedure that allows stakeholders to concentrate on desired results. In this regard, Moores and Parks (2010) set out twelve smart tips for introducing E-Portfolios with undergraduate students in order to be used to produce great online learning quickly, at scale.

  • Tip 1 : Identify the added value of using an E-Portfolio

  • Tip 2 : Consider the long and short term use of an E-Portfolio

  • Tip 3 : Consider when and how the E-Portfolio is introduced

  • Tip 4 : Enable students to develop a personal learning space

  • Tip 5 : Use a function of an E-Portfolio to submit an assessment to maximise motivation

  • Tip 6 : Assessment guidelines should be transparent but not too prescriptive

  • Tip 7 : Provide students with clear guidance on confidentiality and the use of digital media

  • Tip 8 : E-Portfolios do not teach reflective practice

  • Tip 9 : Use the E-Portfolio to give feedback

  • Tip 10 : Ensure that students can access their E-Portfolio

  • Tip 11 : Make use of internal support available within the institution

  • Tip 12 : Do not reinvent the wheel (pp. 46-48)

2. Methodology

  1. Context : In the current novel millennium and era of a digital age, Teaching as well as assessing students at the university level has taken a new paradigm and the English instruction as a foreign language (EFL) in Algerian universities is not an exception. In light of the foregoing, we have chosen the students of the University of Abou Bakr Belkaid -Tlemcen- and particularly, the English section, to undertake this research work.

  2. Participants : The population of this study was first year EFL learners at Abou Bakr Belkaid University, Tlemcen (Algeria). It consisted of (434) students. The subject sample of our study is comprised of thirty-four (34) first year university English language learners from the University Abou Bakr Belkaid -Tlemcen-. Hence, the sampling technique that was selected for the present research is a purposive sample ; i.e. one group, which included 34 students, was chosen to participate in this investigation. Ultimately, the participants were composed of nine (09) males and twenty-five (25) females.

  3. Procedures : For the sake of undertaking the survey between your hands, the pollster handed a questionnaire to the sample who took part in our study during the second semester of the academic year 2018/2019. The questionnaire is composed of ten questions ; a mixture of open ended and close ended questions. The main objective behind these pre-selected questions is to be familiar with how EFL learners perceive critical thinking skills along with their assessment. With regard to questionnaire answering procedure, some students were handed the questionnaire sheet at university ; after providing answers, they returned it back to the researcher who was waiting for them until they finish their sessions, whereas others were sent the questionnaire as a Google format (the link was shared in face book group) then sent it back filled, via email.

3. Results and Discussion

The questionnaire distributed to first year EFL students at Tlemcen university (Appendix ) serves as a reflection tool to gauge the usefulness of eportfolio as a teaching and assessment tool for critical thinking skills in the language classroom. The first part of the attitudinal questionnaire offers a description of the participants’ personal and educational background information. The second part of the questionnaire deals with the students’ attitudes before engaging in the online experience.

Through the questionnaire, we have managed to collect and subsequently analyze data associated with the learning experience, learners’ familiarity with critical thinking, their perspectives towards the importance of integrating critical thinking, and the classroom practices that they prefer for teaching and assessment. The questionnaire includes four sections which constitute eight questions of different types : yes/no questions, close-ended, and open-ended questions.

3.1. Section One : Learning Experience

Q1 : The aim of the first question, about learning at university, is to identify if the students face any difference about the new experience of learning at university compared to the previous experience at secondary school.

Q1/ How do you find learning at university ?

Response

Number

 %

The same as in secondary school

0

0 %

Different from secondary school

34

100 %

Total

34

100 %

Table1: The difference about learning at university

Image 10000201000002800000015C974C151B791350BC.png

Figure 1 : The difference about learning at university

As shown in the figure above, all participants (34 =100 %) hold the same point of view about the existing difference between learning at university and learning at secondary school. The second part of the question helped us to find out the students’ justifications behind their answers, and among the most frequent justifications are mentioned verbatim as follows ;

Students’ justifications 

  1. Learning at university is different from secondary school because at university we do more research and there is more developments in specific skills the student in the university feel more responsibility for his professional life

  2. Becouse we are dealing with new things (new modules )

  3. It’s all about the student. The student is the one who search more about the lectures

  4. You find yourself more responsible about your life and your future

  5. It is different from secondary school because I think that in secondary school we used to study only the basics but now we are getting deeper in the language itself we started to know from where it came and how also we are learning about the mother tongue speakers’ history and cultural aspects which explains a lot And if your questions is about the teaching methods I would still say it’s not the same in university because in university the teacher is our guide only unlike in high school where we used to rely on him 100 % now we are able to do our own research

Q2/ Are there some aspects about learning at university that you would like to be informed about before coming to university ?

Response

Number

 %

Yes

24

71 %

No

9

27 %

No answer

1

3 %

Total

34

100 %

Table 2: The new aspects of learning at university for students

Image 100002010000028000000167EEBA23B49ABBEF6E.png

Figure 2 : The new aspects of learning at university for students

The second figure shows results obtained from (Q2) that is related to whether there are some aspects about learning at university that students would like to be informed about before coming to university ! The majority of the students (24out of 34) with (71 %) answered with “yes”, which means that students need to be enlightened about some aspects of learning at university. In order to be more aware about their needs, here it is the second part.

The second part of the question is devised to those students who answered with yes for the first part of the question which is related to mentioning some of the aspects about learning at university that they would like to be informed about before coming to university. The various viewpoints of our respondents are mentioned verbatim below :

If yes, state them please

  1. Know more about modules

  2. Phonetic and linguistic

  3. time management and study skills

  4. Before coming to university I knew that I’ll study English therefore I asked about the number of modules and what they are about and what’s a TD and what’s a courses it took a lot of time to start differing between them

  5. What should I study if I want to study at a higher level later ?’

  6. about modules and how the way of learning is

  7. to show The whole depertement , The rules followed in university , between teacher and student

  8. The way of study, Try to work by your own

  9. Study skills should be learned at high school for more effective learning at University

3.2. Section Two : Learners’ Familiarity with Critical Thinking

Q3/ In your opinion, thinking is :

Response

Number

 %

A gift

1

3 %

A skill that can be developed through practice

13

38 %

both of them

19

56 %

No answer

1

3 %

Total

34

100 %

Table3: The Nature of Critical Thinking

Image 10000201000002800000016B96E9BF262B017CE1.png

Figure3: The Nature of Critical Thinking

As highlighted through the above figure, more than half of the population (56 %) shows a certain degree of awareness about what CT is, since they opted for both (i.e. CT is a gift as well as a skill that can be developed through practice). Knowing this fact encourages instructors to integrate critical thinking skills within EFL teaching in view of the fact that students show some kind of consciousness and automatically readiness to study those skills.

Q4/ Is there a relationship between thinking and language learning ?

Response

Number

 %

Yes

32

94 %

No

2

6 %

Total

34

100 %

Table 4: Thinking and Language Learning Relationship

Image 100002010000028000000180F0450EE6328EAD71.png

Figure 4 : Thinking and Language Learning Relationship

The fourth question addressed whether there is a relationship between thinking and language learning. The results reveal that the extreme majority with (94 %) of the participants agree upon the existing relationship between thinking and language learning. This fact helps the practitioner researcher discover her students’ thinking about thinking in relation to language learning, which is a positive starting point towards the integration of CT in an EFL instruction.

3.3. Section Three : Learners’ Perspectives towards CT Integration

Q5/ If you know that critical thinking would help you academically and professionally, what do you suggest ?

Option

Number

 %

Teaching critical thinking implicitly (indirectly within the other modules)

10

29 %

Teaching critical thinking explicitly (as a module, unit or a lesson)

12

35 %

Teaching and assessing critical thinking through online assignments

4

12 %

All of them

4

12 %

A + c

2

6 %

No answer

2

6 %

Total

34

100 %

Table 5: Students’ Suggestions about Teaching Critical Thinking

Image 10000201000002800000018428D599BF007F6ED9.png

Figure 5 : Students’ Suggestions about Teaching Critical Thinking

When asking students about their suggestions concerning teaching critical thinking if they know that critical thinking would help them academically and professionally, many participants (35 %) suggest that teaching critical thinking should be explicit (as a module, unit or a lesson). These participants thought that -according to one of the justifications- ; “Critical thinking is very important and very helpful and many students have no idea about it also the students who are familiar with it should develop it for that It should be teaching as a module or unit but we should give it importance.

Q6/ When you know that an online or an electronic portfolio is “a personal digital collection of information describing and illustrating a persons’ learning, career, experience and achievements [over a period of time]” (European Institute of E-learning, 2007 : 1), do you think that it can be useful as a tool or a device for teaching and assessing students’ critical thinking ?

Option

Number

 %

Yes

23

72 %

No

11

28 %

Total

34

100 %

Table 6: Students’ Opinions about Teaching and Assessing CT via Eportfolio

Image 100002010000028000000186BC150B6172E2F83C.png

Figure 6 : Students’ Opinions about Teaching and Assessing CT via Eportfolio

It should be noted that -as shown in figure 6-, the bulk majority of partcipants with a percentage of (72 %) thinks that eportfolio can be useful as a tool or a device for teaching and assessing students’ critical thinking. Manifestly shows that eportfolio as an online learning strategy would satisfy and meet the needs of students with regard to teaching and assessing critical thinking skills. The minority (28%) saying ‘No’ for eportfolio might be for the reason that they do not master the 21st century digital skills which is a critical point that educators need to take into considerations.

3.4. Section Four: Learners’ Preferences for CT Teaching and Assessment

Q7/In your opinion, which tool is the most appropriate to assess your critical thinking skills?

Table 7: Students’ Opinions about the Appropriate Tool to Assess CTS

Option

Number

%

Tests and exams

4

11.8 %

Communicative tasks and activities (discussions, role plays, debates, etc)

7

20.6 %

Written tasks and activities (essays, reviews, research papers)

0

0%

Online tasks and assignments (online tests, quizzes, and portfolios)

0

0%

All of them

7

20.6 %

A+b

2

5.88 %

A+c

2

5.88 %

B+c

4

11.8 %

B+d

4

11.8 %

B+c+d

3

8.83 %

No answer

1

2.94 %

Total

34

100%

Of the 34 students, 7 (i.e. 20.6%) perceived ‘Communicative tasks and activities (discussions, role plays, debates, etc)’ as the most appropriate tool to assess critical thinking skills. Another 7 opted for all the tools mentioned and proposed in the seventh (7th) question which is a reflection for their willingness to assess their critical thinking skills in an eclectic way using a mixture of methods. Obviously, using different ways of critical thinking assessment match the current demands and especially with regard to nowadays 21st century era in which the use of the digital online skills is a must.

Q8/What kind of strategies do you think can improve your critical thinking skills?

Response

Number

 %

Classroom tasks or projects (individually, in pairs or in groups)

1

3%

Readings (in the class or out of the class)

1

3%

Communicative activities (group discussions, debates, etc)

2

6%

Online tasks or projects

0

0%

Questioning

1

3%

All of them

7

21%

A+b

1

3%

A+b+c

1

3%

A+b+c+d

1

3%

A+b+c+e

1

3%

B+c

2

6%

B+c+d

1

3%

B+c+e

1

3%

C+d

1

3%

c+e

1

3%

No answer

6

18%

Total

34

100%

Table 8: Students’ Preferences about Strategies to Improve CTS

Image 10000201000002800000018338878FF3E71E5BBE.png

Figure 8: Students’ Preferences about Strategies to Improve CTS

‘All of them’ is the majority choice for answering the 8th question as demonstrated in the 8th table and figure. Out of 34 students, 7 with the percentage of 21% selected all the mentioned choices as their preferred kind of strategies they think can improve their critical thinking skills. Evidently, the results obtained in this question confirm the previously attained in the preceding question. Hence, the multifaceted nature of critical thinking requires making use of diverse strategies in order to achieve effective improvement of critical thinking to meet the needs of the current digital era.

Conclusion

It does not matter whether you are a beginner or a professional educator in the field of teaching/learning, you should always improve your skills and learn something new. In order to avoid common typical fallacies surrounding critical thinking instruction and to start building new clear dimensions about it and to reconsider it as effective as it is, we will need not only knowledge but also useful and valid educational tools. It’s not enough to have a theoretical foundation only, practical skills are indispensable as well. So, how is it possible to gain experience without a risk of losses (of time and effort)? Foremost, you can create an online classroom via your email account for the sake of facilitating the cultivation of critical thinking skills. It would be a perfect solution for those who just plan to start working on the electronic portfolio tutoring. Eportfolio assessment would help you (educators) to minimize the losses and better reflect the students’ critical thinking abilities.

In the 21st century digital age, the major responsibility of the Algerian university is to engage its students, with cognitive skills in enhancing their life-long and life-wide learning and achievements. This highlighted objective can be met through massive online courses. Elearning have the ability to include all learners with various levels. Furthermore, the students’ positive attitudes towards elearning and more precisely eportfolio will encourage them as well as teachers to challenge traditional methods of teaching/learning to consolidate their research and language skills, and help them discover their potential in a virtual world.

After examining the situation of teaching and learning English as a foreign language, some practical realistic suggestions are to be taken into consideration as to the way the teaching of English should be reshaped to take account of the recent developments in critical thinking studies with regard to foreign language teaching/learning pedagogy. The theoretical framework should be established and boosted in order to enhance the conceptualization of the teaching and assessment of critical thinking skills via an elearning process that quite fits the learners of English at the university level based on the belief that elearning is necessary in learning a foreign language and that unawareness of digital barriers may hinder both learner’s success and teacher’s efforts.

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Table1: The difference about learning at university

Table1: The difference about learning at university

Figure 1 : The difference about learning at university

Table 2: The new aspects of learning at university for students

Table 2: The new aspects of learning at university for students

Figure 2 : The new aspects of learning at university for students

Table3: The Nature of Critical Thinking

Table3: The Nature of Critical Thinking

Figure3: The Nature of Critical Thinking

Table 4: Thinking and Language Learning Relationship

Table 4: Thinking and Language Learning Relationship

Figure 4 : Thinking and Language Learning Relationship

Table 5: Students’ Suggestions about Teaching Critical Thinking

Table 5: Students’ Suggestions about Teaching Critical Thinking

Figure 5 : Students’ Suggestions about Teaching Critical Thinking

Table 6: Students’ Opinions about Teaching and Assessing CT via Eportfolio

Table 6: Students’ Opinions about Teaching and Assessing CT via Eportfolio

Figure 6 : Students’ Opinions about Teaching and Assessing CT via Eportfolio

Table 8: Students’ Preferences about Strategies to Improve CTS

Table 8: Students’ Preferences about Strategies to Improve CTS

Figure 8: Students’ Preferences about Strategies to Improve CTS

Sabri Fatma

Abou Bekr Belkaid -Université de Tlemcen

Benmostefa Nawal

ESPTLAB - Abou Bekr Belkaid -Université de Tlemcen

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