A Review on Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Literary Texts

Noraini Ahmad Shukri, Jayakaran Mukundan


Many ESL instructors are generally in agreement with the belief that it is essential that students should be assisted in developing critical thinking skills while being engaged in their language learning process especially those learning the target language at higher level (Stern, 1985; Dickinson, 1991; McKay, 2001; Terry, 2007; Van, 2009; Odenwald, 2010). As it enables language learners to engage in a more purposeful and self-regulatory in judgment, helping them in their evaluation of the arguments of others and of their own, coming to well-reasoned resolutions to any complex problems and to be able to resolve conflicts encountered in their daily lives. Critical thinking requires them to be actively involved in their own learning process as they attempt to individually understand and apply the information they are exposed to during the classroom interaction (Landsberger, 1999; Tung & Chang, 2009). The many advantageous and feasibility of teaching instruction that incorporates the study of literature in the ESL classroom which suggests that literature texts, if correctly chosen and instructed, can prove to be beneficial to ESL students’ overall level of literacy and critical thinking skills. Numerous empirical researches also asserted that literary texts that are authentic, enjoyable, and motivating would naturally increase both their knowledge of the target language patterns and cultural awareness.

Keywords: Critical thinking, ESL classroom, literature, literary text

Full Text:



Alwine, S. (2014) A case study examining the explicit method of critical thinking instruction in a community college English Classroom. (Ph.D., George Mason University). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (3624964)

Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc. as cited in file:///D:/bloom.html

Choorapanthiyil, M. J. (2007). How international teaching assistants conceptualize teaching higher order thinking: A grounded theory approach. (Ph.D., Indiana State University). Retrived from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (304851726)

Ennis, R. (2002). A Super-Streamlined Conception of Critical Thinking. Faculty.education.illinois.edu. Retrieved November 18, 2014

Cosgrove, R. (2009). Critical thinking in the Oxford tutorial. Thesis submitted to the University of Oxford in partial fulfilment for the degree of M.Sc. in Higher Education.

Dewey, J. (1934). Art as experience. New York: Minton, Balch, and Co.

Dhanapal, S. (2008) Cultivating critical and creative thinking skills through an integrated approach to the teaching of literary texts. (Ph.D University Putra Malaysia) Retrived from UPM Thesis Repository ( FPP 2008 10)

Dickson, M. A. (1991)Teaching literature with a specific emphasis on critical thinking: An interpretive investigation of student perceptions. (Ed.D University of North Carolina) Retrived from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (9204430)

Facione, P. A. (1990). Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. Research findings and recommendations. Newark, DE: American Philosophical Association. Retrieved from ERIC Document Reproduction Service (ED315423)

Facione, P. A. (1998). Critical thinking: What it is and why it counts. Millbrae, CA: California Academic Press. p. 26

Glaser, E. (1941), An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking, Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

Halpern, D. F. (2003). The "how" and "why" of critical thinking assessment. In D.Fasko, Jr. (Ed.). Critical thinking and reasoning: Current research, theory, and practice, 355-366.

Hopkins, G (1993) All children in the same boat: Literature-based Materials and Heterogeneous Groups for Reading and Writing Instruction in a Fourth Grade Integrated Class (Ph.D.,Harvard University). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, . (9 3 2 6 3 3 7)

Jun, Xu. (2011). The Application of Critical Thinking in Teaching English Reading. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(2), 136-141. http://ezproxy.upm.edu.my:2099/ 10.4304/tpls.1.2.136-141

Knott, D. (2006). Critical reading toward critical writing. [Online] Available : http://www.principlesofcriticalreadingandwriting.htm

Khatib, M., Alizadeh, I. (2012). Critical Thinking Skills through Literary and Non-Literary Texts in English Classes. International Journal of Linguistics 4.4 (2012): 563-580.

Khatib, M., Derakhshan, A., & Rezaei, S. (2011). Why and why not literature: A task-based approach to

teaching literature. International Journal of English Linguistics, 1, 213-218.

Landsberger, J. (1996). Strategies for critical reading. [Online] Available: http://www.studyguidesandstrategies. com

McKay S. (2001). Literature as Content for ESL/EFL in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, edited by Marianne Celce-Murcia, Third Edition, Heinle & Heinle.

McGuire, L.A. (2010) Improving student critical thinking and perceptions of critical thinking through direct instruction in rhetorical analysis. (Ph.D Capella University) ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (3408479)

Mulnix, J. W. (2012). Thinking critically about critical thinking. Educational Philosophy and Theory,44(5), 464-479.

Odenwald, K. (2010). Transforming liberal education through the imagination: Critical creative

thinking in higher education curriculum and pedagogy. (Ph.D., City University of New York). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses . (305185666).

Paul, R. (1988). Critical thinking in the classroom. Teaching K-8, 18, 49-51.

Scherer, M. (2008). The thinking teacher. Educational Leadership, 65(5), 7.

Steffen, C. (2011). Perceptions of how teachers perceive their teaching of critical thinking skills and how students perceive their learning of critical thinking skills.(Ed.D., Missouri Baptist University). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses .(911792256).

Terry, D. R. (2007) Using the case study teaching method to promote college students’ critical thinking. (Ph.D State University of New York). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

Tsui, L. (2002). Fostering critical thinking through effective pedagogy: Evidence from four institutional case studies. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(6), 740-763

Van, T.T.M. (2009). The relevance of literary analysis to teaching literature in the EFL classroom. English Teaching Forum, 3, 2-9.

Yang, Y. C., & Newby, T., & Bill, R. (2007). Facilitating interactions through structured web-based bulletin boards: A quasi-experimental study on promoting learners' critical thinking skills. [Online] Available: http://www. Science direct.com


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.