Critical Thinking Skills

Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014

Who is it for?

The Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014 is open to all teachers and professionals working in ELT and is completely FREE to attend!


Part of the Adult session at the Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014, this webinar explores teaching critical thinking skills in EAP and foundation programmes and how they can help students achieve academic success.

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Webinar details

Critical Thinking Skills, with Ed Newbon

Monday 10th November 2014: 15.00-15.45 (GMT)

What is critical thinking and how can knowledge of it assist teachers to help their students achieve academic success?  

“Many students are prevented from gaining better marks because their work lacks evidence of rigorous critical thinking” (Cottrell, 2005).

While we teach “lower order critical thinking skills” such as recitation and reproduction in general English classes, when students move on to higher levels of academic study, we often neglect the “higher order thinking skills” they need for university and beyond. These skills include the ability to construct effective arguments, recognise flawed reasoning and apply critical thinking when reading and writing their own assignments.

By teaching carefully selected topics and ELT texts which engage students on a critical level, we help our students establish the difference between truth and opinion, learn to read between the lines and achieve their full academic potential. In this webinar we will look at real examples of ELT texts, particularly those from literature, and explore why they are ideal for developing our students' critical thinking skills.

About the speaker: Ed Newbon

Ed Newbon has worked in ELT since 2002, teaching English in Japan for five years at a private language school and in the state sector at both Junior High School and High School level.  On returning to the UK he taught at a language school for three years and since 2010 has worked at Macmillan Education as an ELT Consultant and most recently as Marketing Executive for the Middle East.  He holds a CELTA qualification and an MA in TESOL from Oxford Brookes.


Here, Ed tells us more about his work and what you will learn from him at MEOC2014.  

What will people learn from your webinar?

They will learn some background on what critical thinking is and the difference between lower order and higher order critical thinking skills in an ELT context. They will also learn some practical but simple critical thinking classroom activities which can be used with even low level students to help them develop their own critical thinking Skills and prepare them for higher education.

Tell us about your work at Macmillan Education?

Working in the marketing department for the Middle East team is very varied. I am responsible for print publicity and maintaining various Middle East websites but a large part of my job is organising teacher training across the region. I also get to visit our sales teams in various countries across the Middle East and North Africa. This is a highlight of the job as I get to meet teachers and sometimes students in schools during product training sessions.

What inspired and continues to inspire you to work in ELT?

I was a charity volunteer worker in Namibia in 1999 and I  participated in many different projects but one of them involved team teaching with the pupils’ local teacher. I really enjoyed this experience and although it took me a while, I gained my CELTA certificate a few years later.

Ed's top teaching tip

Learning a language in a classroom is a good start but by  encouraging your students to surround themselves with English outside of the  classroom is going to help them progress much more. Living in an English speaking country if you are trying to learn English will always help. I learnt much more Japanese from my time working there then I ever did studying French or German at school. However, if this is not possible encourage students to immerse themselves in English in your own country through literature by reading graded readers, watching films and listening to music in English. Most importantly they should seek out opportunities to put their new language skills to use.