Scaffolding critical thinking skills in CLIL classes - by Chantal Hemmi
Taken from uncovering CLIL
Mehisto. Marsh, Frigols
So what does critical thinking involve?
Critical thinkers have to become rational by providing
evidence and logical argument by:
•being cautious about generalizations
•and forming our own informed points of view.
(Leicester, 2010: 96)
Leicester, M.: 2010, Teaching Critical Thinking Skills.
Continuum International Publishing Group, New York.
Furthermore, Leicester (2010) discusses the importance of
rational reflection involving the following elements:
• respecting and seeking worthwhile knowledge and understanding,
• understanding the primary and secondary sources of knowledge,
• seeking evidence for one’s belief,
• recognising valid and invalid arguments,
• and becoming lifelong learners
(Leicester, 2010: 96)
Thinking takes place in a situated way,
and critical thinkers have to understand the contexts in
which assumptions are made, and without making
generalizations in an impulsive and irrational way,
they need to think what the alternatives
could be to form their thinking.
Furthermore, meta-reflection, the capacity to
be able to think about one’s thinking through
research, conceptual analysis, categories and
comparisons is mentioned as an important
factor in becoming a critical thinker
(Leicester, 2010). So there are steps to be
taken to enable the learner to become a
critical thinker who can become more
autonomous in their learning processes.
(Hemmi, 2013 DRAFT)
Capacity to take control over one’s
own learning (Benson, 2001)
Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and researching autonomy in
language learning. Harlow: Longman.
Greek stems for ‘self’ ‘law’ and ‘rule.
‘The having or making of one’s laws’
Feinberg, J. (1989) Autonomy. In
Christman, J. (Ed.). The Inner Citadel.
New York: Oxford University Press.
1.What did you do in today’s lesson?
2.What new things did you learn?
3.Was there anything that you found
difficult to understand?
4.In future, what kind of things do
you want to learn, and how are you
going to do it?
1. I love _____because it’s such an
2. My favourite place at _____is _________.
3. I think that the book shop is nice but they
4. My favourite cafeteria is_______________.
5. The thing I enjoy the best about being at
Well, although there is much
provision in terms of __________, I think
there is more room for _____________.
The reason why I think________is
But on the other hand, one could
However, I believe that____________
Err, sorry but…
Sorry to interrupt you but…
Can I interrupt you?
Can I come in here?
What did you say?
What was that?
Can you say that again?
Could I just make a point….?
I’d like to add something here.
I agree with …. But I’d just like to say….
Could I say something here?
Could you hold on?
Could I just finish?
Well, let me just explain.
Sorry but I’d just like to finish by
What does everyone else think?
Does everyone agree?
What do you think?
Would you like to comment?
The aim of today’s lesson is to:
learn how to express your
A famous character
A character in a comic book
Often very strong
Listen to the interviews with four teachers
who teach at Sophia University and find
out which superhero they like and why.
Which one do you like? Why do you like him/her?
Which one do you like? Why do you like him?
Little but brave
Always arrived in time
Courageous and loyal
1. Which superhero do you like?
2. Why do you like him/her?
Take notes as you listen. You will be able to listen
to the recording when you finish the interview.
1. Is it a he/she?
2. Is he/she tall?
3. Is it an animal?
4. Is it a mouse?
5. Can it fly?
Why are Superheroes so important to us?
Discuss in pairs. 3 mins.
You have got 4-5 minutes to find an
appropriate word which would fit
logically into the gaps.
You may use a dictionary if you wish.
Discuss in pairs and compare and
contrast the differences between a
Superhero and a hero/heroine who
existed or is now alive.
Superhero/heroine Real hero/heroine (human
We know they are not real but they
provide a kind of dream for us.
We know they are real so we are
much inspired by the real things
It is important to think about where the
students are in expressing their thinking
The cultural aspect of critical reflection is
particularly important to be considered
Students may not find it appropriate to
challenge their peers or their teachers
Scaffolding situations where they feel the
agency to become autonomous in
expressing their own opinions is key.
I need to think about the steps that are
taken in scaffolding critical thinking
I need to develop materials to teach
different ways of expressing student
I need to grade what kind of critical
thinking should be taught at the three
levels I am teaching (ElementaryA1-A2,
Intermediate B1 and AdvancedB1-B2)