Orienting ESL/EFL students towards critical thinking through pictorial inferences and elucidation: A fruitful pedagogic approach

Vijay Singh Thakur*, Rahma Al-Mahrooqi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The notions of Critical Thinking (CT) and Lifelong Learning (LL) are mutually inseparable as both are required in every domain of one’s educational and professional life in order to survive and flourish in today’s world of increased literacy and competition. CT is an important functional skill, needed for students to analyze concepts and ideas to get a clear understanding of them. Review of a host of definitions of CT, included in this paper, suggests that it basically involves a plethora of thinking abilities for the purposes of evaluating one’s own thinking process that results in a meaningful learning experience. However, unlike ordinary thinking, which is an inborn human ability, CT needs to be inculcated through implicit and/or explicit instruction. Many researchers (e.g. Benesch, 1993; Atkinson, 1997; Oster, 1989; Brookfield, 1987; Shor & Freire, 1987; Fox, 1994; etc.) explain CT as a means to transform learning and society and they believe that social practice is one of the indispensable components of CT. In view of this, we need to orient our ESL/EFL students towards CT, along with the teaching of language skills, through interactive instructional practices. Considering the role(s) CT can play in developing information-based societies and the pedagogical gains that can be made through the use of visuals in teaching language skills and CT, this paper aims to discuss and demonstrate how certain schematic pictorial presentations can be exploited as stimuli to orient ESL/EFL learners towards CT. The significance of this paper also lies in encouraging researches which explicitly link CT with pictorial presentations of cartoons and caricatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalEnglish Language Teaching
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2015


  • Critical thinking
  • Interactive instructional practices
  • Knowledge-based societies
  • Lateral thinking skills
  • Pictorial inferences and elucidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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