Monday, June 25, 2012

Genre Analysis Handout- by Cimasko

Cimasko • Genre Analysis, Genre Samples, and Developing Genre Awareness • March 31, 2012


Describe the content of research proposals in a general way.

What are the differences between statement of the problem and significance of the problem?

What is the difference between abstract and the statement of the problem?

Is it necessary for a research proposal to include a literature review? If so, where would it go?

What kinds of specific content should be included in the plan of research?

What kinds of information should the abstract cover?

How often are non-written media (graphs, tables, images) used, and how?

Each funding source / organization, such as NSF, NIH, etc., has its own requirements/
guidelines. Which one should be followed for this project?


Should the plan be described as “research” or “proposed research”?

Should abbreviations and acronyms be written in full?

When should first person be used, and when should third person be used?

How can language in the abstract be simplified?

What language can be used to identify a gap?

What other language issues are specifically important to research proposals in your field?

How can a writer connect with experts AND non-experts reading a proposal?

Are short sentences more helpful than long sentences?

How long are most research proposals?

How many references are needed for a research proposal?

What are the major sections of research proposals, and what is the function of each section?

What are the longest/shortest sections, how long, and why?

How many paragraphs are there in each section?

Who reads research proposals?
How do readers use research proposals?  What do they need from research proposals to do this?

What do research proposal writers want to accomplish, and how should this affect writing choices?

Angelova, M., & Riazantseva, A. (1999). “If you don’t tell me, how can I know?”: A case study of four international
students learning to write the U.S. way. Written Communication, 16(4), 491-525.

Bakhtin, M.M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays by M.M. Bakhtin. (C. Emerson & M. Holquist,
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Bakhtin, M.M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays (V.W. McGee, Trans.; C. Emerson & M. Holquist,
Eds.). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Bazerman, C. (1988). Shaping written knowledge: The genre and activity of the experimental article in science.
Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Bazerman, C. (2004). Intertextuality: How texts rely on other texts. In P.A. Prior and C. Bazerman (Eds). What
writing does and how it does it: An introduction to analyzing texts and textual practices (pp. 83-96). Mahwah, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Belcher, D. (1994). The apprenticeship model to advanced academic literacy: Graduate students and their mentors.
English for Specific Purposes, 13(1), 23-34.

Berkenkotter, C., Huckin, T.N., and Ackerman, J. (1991). Social context and socially constructed texts: The
initiation of a graduate student into a writing research community. In C. Bazerman and J. Paradis (Eds.), Textual
dynamics of the professions (pp. 191-215). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Berkenkotter, C., & Huckin, T.N. (1995). Genre knowledge in disciplinary communication: Cognition/culture/
power. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1995.

Bhatia, V. (1993). Analysing genre: Language use in professional settings. London, England: Longman.

Bizzell, P. (1999). Hybrid forms of academic discourse: What, why, how. Composition Studies 27, 7-21.

Buell, M.Z. (2004). Code-switching and second language writing: How multiple codes are combined in a text. In
P.A. Prior and C. Bazerman (Eds). What writing does and how it does it: An introduction to analyzing texts and
textual practices (pp. 97-122). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Canagarajah, A. S. (1999). Interrogating the "native speaker fallacy": Non-linguistic roots, non-pedagogical results.
In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native educators in English language teaching (pp. 77-92). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates.

Canagarajah, A.S. (2002). Critical academic writing and multilingual students. Pittsburgh, PA: University of
Pittsburgh Press.

Cheng, A. (2006). Analyzing and enacting academic criticism: The case of an L2 graduate learner of academic
writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 15, 279-306.

Cheng, A. (2007). Transferring generic features and recontextualizing genre awareness: Understanding writing
performance in the ESP genre-based literacy framework. English for Specific Purposes, 26(3), 287-307.

Cheng, A. (2008). Analyzing genre exemplars in preparation for writing: The case of an L2 graduate student in the
ESP genre-based instructional framework of academic literacy. Applied Linguistics, 29(1), 50-71.

Devitt, A. (1991). Intertextuality in tax accounting: Generic, referential, and functional. In C. Bazerman and J.
Paradis (Eds.), Textual dynamics of the professions (pp. 336-357). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Fahnestock, J., & Secor, M. (2002). Rhetorical analysis. In E. Barton & G. Stygall (Eds.), Discourse studies in

Cimasko • Genre Analysis, Genre Samples, and Developing Genre Awareness • March 31, 2012

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Flowerdew, J. (1999). Problems in writing for scholarly publication in English: The case of Hong Kong. Journal of
Second Language Writing, 8(3), 243-264.

Flowerdew, J. (2001). Attitudes of journal editors to nonnative speaker contributions. TESOL Quarterly, 35(1), 121-

Freedman, A., & Medway, P. (1994). Locating genre studies: Antecedents and prospects. In A. Freedman & P.
Medway (Eds.), Genre and the new rhetoric (pp. 1-22). London: Taylor and Francis.

Holquist, M. (2002). Dialogism: Bakhtin and his world (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Li, Y. (2007). Apprentice scholarly writing in a community of practice: An intraview of an NNES graduate student
writing a research article. TESOL Quarterly, 41(1), 55-79.

Miller, C. R. (1984). Genre as social action. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 70, 151-167.

Miller, C. R. (1994). Rhetorical community: The cultural basis of genre. In A. Freedman & P. Medway (Eds.),
Genre and the new rhetoric (pp. 67-78). London: Taylor and Francis.

Polio, C. (2001). Research technique in second language writing research: The case of text-based studies. In T. Silva
& P.K. Matsuda (Eds.), On second language writing (pp. 91-115). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Prior, P. (2004). Tracing process: How texts come into being. In In P.A. Prior and C. Bazerman (Eds). What writing
does and how it does it: An introduction to analyzing texts and textual practices (pp. 167-200). Mahwah, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Schryer, C. F. (1993). Records as genre. Written Communication, 10(2), 200-234.

Scollon, R., Bhatia, V., Li, D., & Yung, V. (1999). Blurred genres and fuzzy identities in Hong Kong public
discourse: Foundational ethnographic issues in the study of reading. Applied Linguistics, 20, 22-43.

Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. New York: Press Syndicate of the
University of Cambridge.

Swales, J. M. (1998). Other floors, other voices: A textography of a small university building. Mahwah, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tardy, C.M. (2005). Expressions of disciplinarity and individuality in a multimodal genre. Computers and
Composition, 22(3), 319-336.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Genre Analysis, Genre samples and developing genre awareness- by Tony Cimasko

     One of the approaches that ; personally; I think, is worth the fight ,is stimulating the learners' brains via genre analysis. The fact that they engage in analyzing texts according to their genres enables them in whatsoever writing activity to use those tools to better reflect, write and create.Engaging learners in these meta-cognitive practices has , undoubtedly, overarching implications.
While being at the TESOL convention this year, the title of this session echoed many stimulating ideas. That's why, I decided to attend the session. Though it was mainly for graduate students, but some of the ideas could be implemented at an intermediate level with some adaptation. What I have to mention is that I owe the presenter his prompt reply and his readiness to send me the handouts of the sessions I attended, even those I did not attend. Below are the handouts sent by the presenter: Mr.Tony Cimasko. Many thanks to him for his help and generosity.

Genre Analysis, Genre Samples, and Developing
                  Genre Awareness

Tony Cimasko
Miami University

                                INTRODUCTION• Genre studies in ESP has devoted much attention to analyzing the rhetorical moves and linguistic features of genres.
• Analyses develop better understanding of genres, and enable writers to generate more innovative and rhetorically contextualized writing.
• Little scholarship addresses the difficulties that L2 student writers encounter as they analyze samples of new genres and attempt to move away from reliance on samples, toward more active and rhetorically informed engagement with genre norms.

                        RESEARCH QUESTIONS
How do students in a graduate-level ESL writing course use samples of written genres?
How do they engage in genre analyses of the available samples?
How do they use their analyses and/or the samples to inform their own writing in these genres?

FRAMEWORK: Divergent Views

• Explicitness of genre instruction is beneficial to L2 writers (Bhatia, 1993; Swales,1990, 1998, 2004)

• Experience with genres only in contextualized use, without a predetermined framework, will bring about effective genre learning (Bazerman, 1988; Devitt, 1991; Fahnestock & Secor, 2002; Freedman & Medway, 1994; Miller, 1984, 1994; Schryer, 1993)

• Bakhtinian dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986)

CONTEXT—Research Site

• Large, research-oriented university in the Midwestern United States
• Recent upsurge in recruitment of international students has resulted in a diverse but primarily Chinese (PRC) population

WRIT 619 

Professional homepage
Cover letter and CV
Annotated bibliography
Research report
Research proposal

• Placement is based on an in-house writing assessment that evaluates student abilities in writing appropriate academic texts

CONTEXT—Research Site

• Samples protected from printing, copying, and downloading
• Students collaborated on analyses: content, organization, language, and context

• Students drew on current and future grad coursework content and research agendas, and wrote three drafts of most projects


• 75 percent of students were master’s level; half had been in the US for at least one semester at the start of WRIT 619 (China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, France)
• In the semester studied, 12 WRIT 619 students represented educational psychology (6), religion (1), chemical sciences (2), physics (1), French literature (1), and educational leadership (1)


1) Genre samples

2) Early and final drafts
3) Genre analysis: Questions and answers from instructor, then students answered questions, then students developed their own questions for last project
4) Text-based interviews: Writing process, response to genre analysis approach, time and difficulty of analyses; perceived English ability;
several interviews throughout the semester.


• Data collected

• Duration of study:
1 semester

• Analytical framework

– Student uses of genre analysis tools and sample texts
– Similarities to and differences from samples texts
– References to genre analysis tools

• Domain analysis

Genre samples
Genre analysis findings
Early and final drafts of student projects
Recorded and transcribed interviews

FINDINGS—Students using genre samples

• At the start of the semester, most delayed reading samples
• Many who read early attempted to “focus [on the] best in my field and ignore the rest”

• Some attempted to copy from samples, despite digital protections: “patchwork”

• By the end of the semester, 3 still preferred to have samples


FINDINGS—Conducting genre analyses

• Early answers were very short, abstract, and focused on
general writing concepts

– “Always use formal language.”
– “Three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion.”
– “Letters describe some of the best experience in the CV.”

• “What the professor wants”

• Answers grew in detail and in connections with audience
considerations; organization was mostly “context-free”

• A small number of genre-specific questions

• New student-generated questions focused on describing
rather than justifying research plans

FINDINGS—Using analyses and samples in writing

• Use of genre analyses only: 1 student 7 students

– Framed writing processes primarily in terms of rhetorical
context, and creating space for their ideas (“Where do my
ideas connected with everybody else’s ideas?”)
– Metalanguage became much more common when
discussing writing by semester’s end

– Word choices tended to be simpler and sentences shorter
than language in the samples

FINDINGS—Using analyses and samples in writing

• Use of genre analyses with samples: 3 students 2 students

– “I don’t always trust other students’ analyses answers, yes, I need
to confirm.” “I always find more, every time I read.”
– Discussions of genres and students’ own genre texts often focused
on writers’ own ideas and on “following rules (“In the proposal, do
I have to list costs? [The Department of Chemistry] has enough

– Some writing metalanguage was used in speaking about writing,
but only occasionally

– Writing diverged from samples in ways that resembled the non-
sample writers

FINDINGS—Using analyses and samples in writing

• Use of genre samples only: 8 students 3 students

– Students continued to rely on what the professor desired and
precedent (“If I do it different from the samples, I will lose
– Students struggled to discuss/write about writing with metalanguage (“Why do I always forget ‘genre’ meaning?”)

– “Patchwork” writing from samples (and elsewhere) became more difficult to identify, but was still present

– Grades, unaddressed comments, few attempts to contact instructor with questions


• Relatively simple genres taught early in the semester, were still seen by many of the participants as too highly standardized.
• The organization section of genre analyses was seen by many as the most useful aspect of analyses. However, organization was not an affordance but an absolute for some.

• English as a temporary arrangement or burden to be endured.



• Model or collectively work through all steps and terminology for
the first genre of a class, better scaffolding their work from first
analysis to use of analyses in checking writing
• Make rhetorical connections between text features and audience
more explicit

• Using genre analysis as basis for peer review

• Explicitly discuss locating and evaluating quality of samples


• Longitudinal studies of writing practices beyond writing course
• Discipline-specific studies, in order to better understand fields that
have different relationships with writing and rhetoric

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Upgrading Groupwork: Technologically Enhanced Collaborative Exchanges - By : Marjorie Allen /Kate Baldridge-Hale/ Kathleen Reynolds

     No one denies that technology has added much flavor, interest, motivation, engagement to the 21st century classroom. It is true that as a developing country, much has to be done on all levels; in terms of training sessions, in order to equip teachers with the appropriate tools to enhance the use of technology in our classrooms; in terms of equipping the schools with the computers and internet connection. What made me feel bitter is that many of the sessions I attended could not be implemented for the time being in my country, due to the lack of equipments. What we interestingly witnessed during this session is how to upgrade the group work via technology. The three presenters Marjorie Allen , Kate Bladridge and Kathleen Reynolds orchestrated successfully the activities and boosted our motivation to try the best of these activities with our pupils. 
The suggested activities are as follows: 
1- Audio Pen Pals 
2-Discussion Boards by joining Google Groups
4-Audio Drop box
    I hope , one day, we would be able to carry out some of these activities in our classes. I would be happy to see some of the efforts of my students being posted online collaboratively, discussed and evaluated. I do agree that technology is only a means to an end, and that end could be achieved even without the use of technology. But , personally, it saddens me to see that our teenagers are not being offered these chances to learn more collaboratively, actively and online. Anyway, sooner or later it would be possible one day. But the sooner the better. Well, whatever the hinders are! I am committed to try some of these activities with some learners who would like to, as volunteers to use audio drop boxes ;record themselves and comment upon their peers recordings. I am sure it is an exciting way to "learn, unlearn and re learn".
       1- Audio Pen Pals :
The presenters suggested some sample assignments using audio pen pals to practice listening, speaking, grammar, reading, etc..
Listening/ speaking: * explain preferences /* react to a video/ * discuss problems by giving, receiving advice /* making  recommendation for future activities
Grammar: * Practice tenses by telling a brief story./* Practice question formation
Reading: * React to a short reading/* Review a book from extensive reading collection/* Discuss a novel : plot, characters, theme, etc.. 
 Amongst the benefits of audio pen pals as stated by the presenters are: keeping the learners motivated. The learners focus on expressing ideas clearly. These activities pave the way for more learner autonomy, a student-centered classroom, peer response and ongoing assessment. 
Nevertheless, it's very difficult for the teacher to give feedback to all the files/ recordings. But the learners are giving feedback to each others' recordings.
      2-Google groups: Online Discussion Boards:
Sample Assignments to practice writing: * share personal stories/ experiences. /* share drafts and peer feedback./ * Practice with rhetorical pattern. 
Grammar: *Practice of specific grammatical point/ Reading: Analyze specific aspect of reading. 
 Towards the end of a semester, learners are assigned a writing. Here is the topic: Write your best or worst experience as a writer. How did this experience affect you and your attitude toward writing? 
   Assignment: Peer  feedback on essay drafts 
Instructions to students: 
* Find your group forum
* Create a thread and attach your essay
*Read all of the essays in your group
*Complete a feedback form for each essay
*Attach the form in reply to each essay
*Use the feedback to revise your essay
*Do a short model
* Create a form to each group
*Post the rubric in the group
          What are , then, the benefits of discussion boards to students?
Some of the benefits stated by the presenters are : increased comfort, fluency in reading and writing, greater exposure to other students' writings, less exposure than formal writing assignments,..
      3- Blogs: Group Blogs 
Group blogs require minimal effort from the teacher. They could use them in reading, writing, grammar, etc.. 
Sample assignments: Editing sentences, making each sentence in one blog post... engaging in discussions, encouraging them to engage in peer feedback.. 
Reading assignment: The teacher can check whether the learners can use the words, vocabulary learned. The teacher posts a word and the students post a sentence. 
The overall benefits of group blogs are: * Increase in exposure to varied usage/* promote meta-cognitive awareness/* Improve negotiation skills/* Increase student responsibility/* more input/* more feedback/*Interaction/* Motivation
The principles that make technology-based activities great are the same as those that make a language learning activity great.
      4-Audio dropboxes: Here is the link to explain the principle of audio dropboxes
 "Overview: A dropbox for paper assignments is a box where students place their homework, papers , or other assignments. Teachers can then retrieve the papers at their convenience.An audio dropbox is an audio collection tool that can be put on any web page.

Students record themselves using the tool, and their recordings are placed in the instructorʼs dropbox automatically.Audio Dropboxes can be used to add speaking to language courses. You can have students describe pictures on a web page, read a text passage, or respond to open-ended questions." Dennie Hoopingarner
   By and large, the presenters were very generous and referred us to a site where they posted the handouts. Here it is:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Me and Technology

Networking with teachers, educationalists and experts in the field has proved to be at the essence of my motivation. I do owe much to technology. Such a big world that enthralls its surfers to the magic places it takes them to. Connecting with the world has triggered both my imagination and my brain power. While searching for proper tips, reading thought-provoking articles, tweeting;  I've sensed that I am more and more voracious for all that food for thought. The real challenge is the amount of food to eat. Hopefully, summer is  suitable for us, as teachers, to pursue the journey of learning with firm steps.What has added to my motivation is the availability of information whatsoever! We are luckier in the sense that teacher development is within reach to everyone. How poor are we , on all terms, unless we take advantage of this wealth.
Technology, then, if I dare say, is somewhat a wonderful trigger for thoughts. It prevents brain death. Exchanging tips, hearing from teachers , learning from their trial and error via  social networks. 
Nonetheless, this huge database  has somewhat created some confusion. Facing this plethora of links, articles, methods with a lot of serenity is the remedy. With the course of time, one comes to have some predilections and develops some "values" concerning one's teaching. The confusion, is a must-phase I  think, every eager surfer shall pass through. This has made me ponder my principles in teaching? Are they congruous with the spirit of this digital age? Am I benefiting from my surfing? Am I enhancing my teaching skills? Am I doing my best with my pupils? Am I engaging my learners enough?
What matters is the stick-to-it-iveness. The more we are confused, worried about our teaching, the closer we are to a clear vision. 
All in all, technology literacy is a must nowadays and it really saddens me to see some teachers reluctant to embrace this treasure for the sake of their career and noble pursuits. This does not mean that all teachers are reluctant. What is wondrous is the readiness of many teachers to learn and pass the information on to everyone. The more interesting is yet to come!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Language-Learning Task design : Using Higher-order thinking skills- by Penny Ur

Five-Minute Activities, A Course in Language Teaching, Grammar Practice Activities, some books you ,certainly, have come across as you checked the shelves of any CREFOC library, or you have read and resorted to . Penny Ur the writer and expert in the field presented an extremely important session ,during the TESOL convention in Philadelphia, on Higher order thinking skills and their value for language teaching and learning. She also dealt successfully with the practical side by giving examples of their use for a variety of language purposes. Eventually, she concluded the session with some interesting comments and the bibliography.Below is the totality of her session as presented.
Higher-order thinking skills 
Higher-order thinking skills:
  • mental effort
  • a wide variety of processes:
  • … comparing, prioritizing, categorizing, defining.
  • … problem-solving, creating, criticizing,
                           Lower-order thinking skills:
  • little mental effort
  • …mainly recalling or identifying facts or forms
Various classifications
  • Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Convergent versus divergent
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive objectives

  • Knowledge
  • Understanding
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation

Revised taxonomy
 Knowledge becomes a separate ‘noun’ category;     
the six cognitive processes defined as ‘verb’ categories:
  • remember
  • understand
  • apply
  • analyze
  • evaluate
  • create
Krathwohl, 2002
Factual knowledge
Conceptual knowledge
Procedural knowledge
Meta-cognitive knowledge

Two suggested divisions of higher order thinking skills:
1. Convergent
2. Divergent
McGregor, 2007
Runco, 1999

The division preferred in this presentation:
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking

Critical thinking
 Critical thinking is the process of thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false; sometimes true, or partly true. ….Critical thinking is … a part of the education process and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education, although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope.
 Critical thinking includes…

  • Analysis: being able to distinguish between categories, generalize, exemplify etc.
  • Precision: being aware of imprecision (vague, contradictory or tautologous statements) in input, and taking care to be precise themselves.
  • Logic: being aware of illogical reasoning in their reading and listening, and able to think logically themselves
  • Criticism: being able to to apply criteria in order to evaluate
Creative thinking
  • The ability to think up original solutions to problems
  • The ability to create new constructs, interpretations or works of art

    Creative thinking includes
    • Divergent thinking: brainstorming a large number of responses to any cue or task
    • Original or ‘lateral’ thinking: devising original, unconventional responses to problems or tasks
    De Bono, 1967
    Link to other classifications

    • Critical thinking:
      • In the revised Bloom taxonomy: mainly understanding, applying, analysing and evaluating
      • Mainly convergent thinking.
    • Creative thinking
      • Revised Bloom taxonomy: mainly creating.
      • de Bono: ‘lateral’ thinking
      • Mainly divergent thinking

    Reasons for using higher-order thinking in language teaching

    • Language learning
    • Intellectual development
    • Educational values
    • Interest

      Language learning
       New language items are better imprinted on our memory if we use deep processing.
      This means relating the item meaningfully to its meanings and to other items previously learnt.
      Deeper processing involves higher-order thinking skills e.g. connecting, contrasting, creating etc.

    Intellectual development

    The learning of facts and concepts.
    The ability to relate these to each other, criticize, draw conclusions, create new ideas etc.

    Educational values
     The ability and willingness to think for oneself as distinct from the unthinking acceptance of facts, values, directives etc. laid down by an authority.

     Activities based on simple recall or knowledge of isolated forms and meanings tend to be boring.
    Activities based on higher-order thinking skills are likely to be more interesting.
    1. Critical thinking
Conventional vocabulary exercises 

  • Match picture to word or definition

  • Gapfill
    Analysis (1)

    a clock, a dog, a dress, a mother, black, a pen, bread, pants, a bag, a frog, red, boots, a cat, rice, a man,  a baby, pink, a teenager, a hat, a t-shirt,
    a banana, a book, a sheep, meat, kids, a table, green, an elephant, sugar, white

    What classes do the following belong to?
  • a hammer – tools
  • sadness –
  • a table -
  • a mother -
  • December -
  • winter -
  • biology -
  • tennis –
Conventional grammar exercises
  • Gapfill
  • Sentence-completion items

    Analysis (2)
    Logical analysis and exemplification
     Define the following items:
    Example: A hammer is a tool which…
    • a cow
    • Canada
    • a chicken
    • a carpenter
    • cigarettes
    • coffee
    • a cinema
    • Christmas
Analysis (3)
Here is a list of sentences.
  1. We have been working here for a long time.
  2. They have been in the country since 1995.
  3. The program has been going on for ten minutes.
  4. I have loved this singer since the beginning of her career.
  5. We have been studying English for four years.
  6. She has lived in London since she got married.
When do you use since and when do you use for?
Precision (1)Inherent contradiction
 Do these make sense?
  • an objective opinion
  • a definite maybe
  • an exact estimate
  • the larger half
  • genuine imitation leather
(vocabulary, critical reading)
Precision (2)Tautology
 What’s wrong with these?
  1. A free gift
  2. A new innovation.
  3. We made too many wrong mistakes
  4. He exaggerated the situation too much.
  5. It’s pure undiluted orange juice.
  6. Let’s meet together at six.
  7. It’s a biography of Kipling’s life.
  8. That is a basic and fundamental fact of life.
  9. They commute back and forth every day.
(vocabulary, critical reading)
Logic (1)
Underlying assumptions

What assumptions or emotive implications underlie these statements?
  1. This food is composed entirely of natural ingredients, so it is good for you as well as being delicious.
  2. This method is scientifically proven to be effective
  3. Thousands of people have already signed up: join now!
  4. Don’t use this method: it is based on outdated, old-fashioned ideas.
  5. Everyone knows that the earlier you start learning a language the more successfully you will master it.
(critical reading, writing)
Logic (2)
Reasoning: Premise and conclusion

What’s wrong with these?
  1. These people drink a lot of red wine and have few heart problems: so drinking red wine is good for your heart.
  2. The boy told me he’d left his book at home, but it was in fact in his bag: so he was lying.  That shows he is a liar.
  3. The word ‘education’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘to draw out’, so education is about drawing out people’s potential.
  4. She spends a lot of time reading, so she reads very well.
(critical reading, writing)

Logic (3) Ambiguity
 What’s wrong with these sentences?
  1. We need more comprehensive schools.
  2. Visiting relatives can be boring.
  3. Ambulance man helps dog bite victim
  4. Enraged cow injures farmer with ax
  5. Juvenile court to try shooting defendant
  6. Stolen painting found by tree
  7. Two sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout counter
  8. Kids make nutritious snacks
(linguistic awareness, contrastive analysis)
Logic (4)
Evidence-based conclusions
What would be your conclusion from this evidence?
She’s wearing a white coat.  
She’s wearing a stethoscope round her neck.
I saw her examining a patient.
In her office there’s a certificate that says she graduated from medical school.
She was interviewed on television about a disease.
There’s a notice outside her door that says ‘Dr Smith’.

“She must be a doctor.”
(grammar: must/ can’t of logical necessity)

Logic (4)
Evidence-based conclusions
 He never smiles.
We sometimes see him cry.
The funniest jokes can’t make him laugh.
He stays at home all the time.

“He can’t be very happy.”
“He must be unhappy”
(grammar: must/ can’t of logical necessity)

Logic (5)

Insert an appropriate conjunction: because / since, although/in spite of the fact that, so/therefore, but/however/nevertheless, and, moreover/in addition, if / provided that
  1. She is a good teacher … she hasn’t had much training.
  2. I know they are here… I saw them a moment ago.
  3. She has ten children … she still has time to write books.
  4. He is a good boss … he has a sense of humour.
  5. We will come … we get an invitation.
  6. We will certainly come … we have plenty of time.
  7. He’s lived in the US all his life… he must know English.
  8. He is a good speaker … I don’t like him very much.
  9. There isn’t much water in the desert … not many plants can grow there.
  10. It seems there’s plenty of time … we need to get started immediately.
2.Creative thinking
1. Divergent thinking

  • How many things can you think of to say about this picture?
    (oral fluency)
  • How many ways can you think of to solve this dilemma?
    (oral fluency)
  • How many ways can you think of to compare a train with a car?  
  • How many endings can you think of for the sentence: If I had a million dollars…?  
    2. Originality, ‘lateral’ thinking

    1. Think of seven ways to compare a computer with a piece of spaghetti.                                                     (comparative of adjectives)
    2. Find six questions to which the answer is …twelve…(tomorrow …of course! …my mother …)
    3. Suggest at least three advantages of being an only child? (Of not having a cellphone? Of having no car?)                                                                                   (oral fluency)
    4. Name ten things you have never done.
    5. Name six things that you can’t touch, and why.
    6. Say four NICE things about your friend, using negative sentences.
      (negative sentences)  

Some concluding comments 1
 There is no strict dividing line between lower- and higher-order thinking skills.
It’s a continuum. 

Some concluding comments 2
 The use of higher order thinking skills in language teaching materials contribute to good learning, and are important..
Knowledge of facts and lower-order thinking skills are basic and essential.

Some concluding comments 3
 It is easier to implement higher-order thinking skills in more advanced materials in the upper grades.
It is just as important, and perfectly feasible, to implement them in beginner and intermediate materials, or in courses for elementary and middle school.


 Bloom B. S. (ed). (1956). A Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Longman.
De Bono, E. (1967). The use of lateral thinking. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Mcgregor, D.. (2007). Developing thinking, developing learning: A guide to thinking skills in education. Maidenhead, Uk: Open University Press: McGraw-Hill International.
Krathwohl, D. R. (2002).  A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212-218.
Runco, M. A.. (1999). Divergent thinking. In Runco, M. A., & Pritzker, S. R. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity, Volume 1 (pp.577-582). San Diego: Academic Press.
Waters, A. (2006). Thinking and language learning . ELT Journal, 60(4), 319-327.