Critical thinking in the intercultural context: Investigating EFL textbooks
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The multicultural world has made intercultural teaching necessary. It should focus on students’ ability to comprehend quickly and accurately, and then act appropriately and effectively in a culturally complex environment in order to achieve the desired goal. Intercultural competence is important for successful communication across cultures, and so is critical thinking since the two, if they are not “parallel” (Bennett, 2013), at least overlap (Deardorff, 2009). This article tries to shed light on the linkage between intercultural and critical thinking skills and reports on the findings of research done on whether and to what extent EFL textbooks used in Polish schools contribute to fostering critical thinking skills in students. The study analyzed the cultural content of 20 coursebooks to check whether they go beyond merely depicting the target culture, or various foreign cultures, and involve students in practicing critical thinking, that is, prompt them to explore intercultural encounters and processes, and scrutinize how diverse cultures influence their own understanding of reality. The research revealed an insignificant and limited capacity of the textbooks to develop students’ critical thinking.
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