In a world where automation is becoming more and more common, many worry about which skills they need to stay ahead and enjoy a long and rewarding career. For many, soft skills such as emotional intelligence, communication skills, creativity, and critical thinking are the keys to avoiding automation. In fact, universities are increasingly looking for candidates who are critical thinkers.
Employers love this quality too. A study by the job-search website indeed.com found that critical thinking is being mentioned more and more in job advertisements. These skills are developed in many different ways during an English language course. How can the right ESL program help you develop your critical thinking skills? Here are just a few examples.
Classroom discussions promote language learning and critical thinking
Learning English is much easier when you have regular conversations with other students and teachers. This is a great way to use the new words and grammar taught in your intensive English program. It is also an important method for developing critical thinking skills.
For example, CultureWorks has developed an online course called ‘The Daily Boomalang’. In this course, students are given news articles and videos before class. They then read the material before discussing the topic in a group with an experienced instructor and other students. As a result, students get to practice reading and communicating in English.
Students develop their critical thinking skills as they discuss current events in The Daily Boomalang:
However, the benefits don’t end there. ‘The Daily Boomalang’ encourages students to discuss, debate, and engage with important issues affecting Canada and the world. This helps students express and develop their opinions, and respectfully listen and respond to the opinions of others. As a result, students develop their ability to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and recognize reputable news sources—all of which helps them strengthen their critical thinking skills.
Essay writing also helps to improve critical thinking
Writing classes are an important part of any ESL education. These skills help students express their opinions in an essay or academic paper, helping them improve their English and prepare for university. In addition, writing is a proven approach for improving critical thinking skills. For example, a recent study compared two groups of students: one that had completed a writing assignment and one that had completed multiple choice questions. The study found that the students who had completed the writing assignment had significantly improved their critical thinking skills, and were better at “analysis and inference”—essential attributes for anyone who wants a career in engineering, business, the sciences, and many other fields.
Part of the reason why writing assignments are so effective is that they encourage students to put lessons into their own words. To do this, they need to truly understand course material and how to apply it to different situations. In addition, writing exercises help students develop confidence in their opinion and their ability to express it.
Completing an ESL program in Canada exposes students to other cultures
English language schools are a great place to meet other students from other nationalities and cultures. This can be its own reward, as students make new friends, celebrate new holidays, discover new traditions, and enjoy tasty food from all over the world.
However, learning about other cultures is also a very useful way to improve critical thinking skills. Discovering other cultures helps students learn about different points of view and examine their own opinions from a different perspective. This helps them broaden their understanding, which is an important part of critical thinking. A top English as a second language school recognizes just how valuable these experiences are. This is why schools such as CultureWorks create a friendly environment that helps students develop friendships. Field trips and activities are also an important part of the curriculum. They help students learn about Canadian culture at the same time as they improve their English skills.
Develop your critical thinking skills while you complete an ESL program in Canada.
Find out how CultureWorks can help!