Abstract

The ability to think critically is considered an important component of a college education, and postsecondary institutions typically include critical thinking in student learning outcomes, particularly in the general education curriculum. Foreign language has traditionally been a staple discipline in general education. However, college foreign language instruction has not consistently integrated critical thinking in its approach to teaching and learning. Explicit teaching of critical-thinking skills in foreign language courses would strengthen higher-order thinking skills while enhancing language and cultural proficiency. This article (1) offers a definition of critical thinking that can be applied to foreign language and culture study, (2) outlines the role of critical thinking in postsecondary education, (3) discusses the various components that build communicative competence in a foreign language and culture, (4) describes the benefits of critical thinking to foreign language learners, and (5) suggests future research directions for integrating critical thinking into the foreign language curriculum.

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