Fact, Opinion & Stance: A lesson on Critical Thinking

Target learners: B1+ and upwards. Young adult/adult. Particularly EAP settings. Also suitable for teaching critical thinking skills in English-speaking HE settings.

Skills practised: Speaking: stating & defending own opinion. Reading: understanding academic texts. Vocabulary: reporting verbs.

Skills trained: Critical thinking, critical reading, appropriate reporting verbs, paraphrasing.

Timing: 60-90 minutes. Can be divided across lessons or as homework.

A speaking warm-up activity that allows learners to speak about themselves provides the input for them to start analysing the difference between facts, opinions and stances. The analysis is prompted by guiding questions, which avoid a too theoretical approach. The three terms are then introduced explicitly and students asked to match then up with their own analysis of different types of information.  In the following tassk, this understanding is applied to a reading text – an excerpt from an academic paper on English as a Lingua Franca, an interesting and relevant topic to most ESOL learners – where learners seek out facts and stance. After this, students are guided to decide which reporting verbs would be appropriate for reporting facts and stance information, and then find and correct mistakes with the reporting of facts and stance information from the English as a Lingua Franca text. (Note: These mistakes are taken from actual students’ work in my classes.) Finally, they are asked to paraphrase facts and stance statements from the ELF text, using reporting verbs appropriately.

Click here for the materials:

Fact Opinion Stance – Reading Skills Worksheet – detailed. (Students will be able to work through independently)

Fact Opinion Stance – Reading Skills Worksheet simple – simplified. (Students will do some tasks together, led by teacher)

Fact Opinion Stance – Reading Skills OHT (For teacher to lead students on some tasks)

Fact Opinion Stance – Reading Skills Worksheet with Answers.

 

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