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Informatics 2014, 1(2), 174-189; doi:10.3390/informatics1020174

Modifying Dialogical Strategy in Asynchronous Critical Discussions for Cross-Strait Chinese Learners

Wenzao Ursuline University of Foreign Languages, 900 Mintsu 1st Road, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Received: 20 May 2014 / Revised: 23 July 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 8 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communication Technology in Higher Education)
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Abstract

In this global era, critical thinking has become crucial for educators and learners. The purpose of this research was to explore how modifying a dialogical strategy in asynchronous online discussion forums impacted Chinese learners’ critical thinking. Due to the Chinese cultural impact of social harmony, the majority of learners tend to maintain silent and avoid critical discussions in instructional settings. The author deployed an affectively supportive model in a modified dialogical strategy to structure Chinese EFL learners’ asynchronous critical postings by probing and questioning while requiring labeling of each cross-referencing posting as Agree/Disagree/Challenge/New Perspective. The participants were two cohorts of similar cultural background but under different political systems in China and Taiwan, here engaged together in cultural interactions. This study employed two research methods: standardized critical thinking tests, and focus groups. Findings reveal that learners in both cohorts indicated some improvement in their critical thinking skills. Nevertheless, there remain affective and cultural issues. Future studies are thus recommended to further investigate the potential of an adaptive model to engage critical discussions with English native speakers and optimize critical thinking for Chinese learners in an EFL environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: culture; critical thinking; asynchronous online discussions; Chinese learners; EFL; affective support culture; critical thinking; asynchronous online discussions; Chinese learners; EFL; affective support
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Chiu, J.Y. Modifying Dialogical Strategy in Asynchronous Critical Discussions for Cross-Strait Chinese Learners. Informatics 2014, 1, 174-189.

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