Exploration of Application of Confucian Conception of Critical Thinking to the Teaching English as a Foreign Language in China
International Journal of Literature and Arts
Volume 8, Issue 3, May 2020, Pages: 134-141
Received: Feb. 27, 2020; Accepted: Mar. 11, 2020; Published: Apr. 14, 2020
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Xuejuan Gong, Wuhan Radio and Television Station, Wuhan, P. R. C; Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University, La Mirada, U.S.A
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Over the past years, fostering critical thinking abilities has become one of the priorities in education in China. So far, much research has been conducted to explore how to resort to Western critical thinking methods to cultivate critical thinking abilities among Chinese students. Meanwhile, among much research in incorporating Confucian educational thought into current English teaching in China, little research has been done to explore the possibility of rendering Confucian conception of critical thinking to this endeavor. This paper argues that Confucian conception of critical thinking possesses similar complementary components to those of the Western conception of critical thinking. Through literature review and text analysis, this paper reviews the Confucian conception of critical thinking and the socio-cultural background that impact its development. Reflection on a case study and field observation shows that Confucian “enlightening approach” works effectively in today’s effort in critical thinking cultivation in English teaching; Confucius’ description of five-phase comprehensive learning process could be materialized in English teaching to progress from lower level learning (knowledge, comprehension, application) towards higher level learning (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation); Confucian conception of critical thinking, described as “contextual critique’ by some Western scholar, could complement Western critical thinking in a positive way. The paper suggests in-depth research in constructing the theoretical framework for the Confucian conception of critical thinking, investigation of other approaches to foster critical thinking abilities besides the “enlightening approach,” and thorough studies of current empirical research on critical thinking in TEFL in China so as to see how they can be applied in materializing Confucian conception of critical thinking.
Confucian Educational Thought, Confucian Conception of Critical Thinking, Western Conception of Critical Thinking, TEFL, Bloom’s Taxonomy
To cite this article
Xuejuan Gong, Exploration of Application of Confucian Conception of Critical Thinking to the Teaching English as a Foreign Language in China, International Journal of Literature and Arts. Special Issue: Humanity and Science: China’s Intercultural Communication with the Outside World in the New Era. Vol. 8, No. 3, 2020, pp. 134-141. doi: 10.11648/j.ijla.20200803.15
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