Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 1762

Review

A review on the relationship between critical thinking skills and learning domains of Turkish Language

Epçaçan Cahit
  • Epçaçan Cahit
  • Department of Turkish Language Teaching, Faculty of Education, University of Siirt, Turkey.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 15 November 2018
  •  Accepted: 20 December 2018
  •  Published: 10 February 2019

 ABSTRACT

Knowledge has been transforming and progressing at an unprecedented pace at the present time. In the face of the incomprehensible transformation and progression of the knowledge, human beings have had to change their vital needs. Education is among these vital needs. In the last century, particularly in the last quarter of the century, the developments in the knowledge and science necessitate the formation of relevant education-instruction programs. In today’s world, raising individuals who can keep up with this progress and transformation has become the main responsibility of educational institutions. One of the most important issues that are emphasized in the new curriculums is to raise individuals who perceive knowledge and life from a critical perspective, produce, manage and interpret knowledge. Instead of the understanding that accepts the knowledge as is not or the challenges in the life without questioning, it is aimed to raise individuals who question the knowledge and life through how and why questions, investigate, reason and produce new knowledge. This can be actualized only by raising generations with a critical understanding. Therefore, one of the basic skills that are aimed to be developed through the new curriculums which have been created with a constructive approach is the critical thinking skill. Critical thinking skills play a fundamental role in terms of improving other basic language skills which are targeted to be provided within the Turkish language course curriculum, in addition to the four basic learning domains given as reading, speaking, listening, and writing. The impact of critical learning cannot be rejected in terms of the development of all basic language skills. Individuals with advanced critical reading, critical speaking, critical listening and critical writing skills approach to situations and incidents with a disciplined, systematized and questioning understanding. They also improve other skills like creative thinking, communication, problem-solving, decision making, using information technologies, investigation, and entrepreneurship which are included in the curriculum.

 

Key words: Basic language skills, skill, thinking, knowledge, critical thinking, thinking skill.


 INTRODUCTION

In today’s world, individuals face thousands of stimulants every day in social media, internet, books; in other words, in every sphere of life. It is certain that individuals who accept  this  information  without  questioning   are  under
 
various threats. The incidents took place in recent years reveal the severity of the issue. Keeping up with the track of a life-cycle where informatics and communication spread in an uncontrollable and rapid manner in such an extent has become the duty of societies. Therefore, the curriculums that have been created recently pursue the objective of raising individuals who do not accept every kind of stimulants and approach to the stimulant with a critical understanding, asking-questioning, thinking creatively, have the ability to solve the problems individually, and well-equipped in terms of knowledge and technology; briefly individuals with developed critical thinking skills.
 
In the new Turkish language course curriculum, development of basic language skills, critical thinking skill and high-level thinking skills constitute the foundation of the program. Because Turkish language course is not a memorization course that knowledge it thought. It is a skill course that an individual demonstrates speaking, listening and writing language skills and high-level thinking domain. In the Turkish language course, learning occurs as a result of intellectual, cognitive processes of basic language skills.
 
Developments which emerge both in the world of science and technology reveal that the 21st century required an education system which is not knowledge-oriented yet skill-oriented. In the curriculum which was created based on the assumption that basic skills are effective in terms of language development, an importance is attached to the cognitive and affective learning domains of an individual. Many activities are performed in Turkish language curriculums with the purpose of developing basic language skills, because actualization of learning differs depending on the development of language. Along with the development in the language skills and four main learning domains based on the language skills of the individual, the individual actualizes the learning process in a more productive way.
 
Critical thinking skill plays an important role in terms of the development of language and internalization of the acquisitions that are mentioned in the curriculum by students. The use of sub-skills of critical thinking which are questioning, asking questions, interpretation, criticizing, asserting different opinions in the implementation of activities related to the basic learning domains of reading, speaking listening and writing would make the development of these four learning domains more productive. Therefore, implementation of critical thinking skill and other skills which are the sub-skills of it in every kind of activity and practice in the Turkish language courses would improve the language skill which is the core of thinking. The primary purpose expected from the Turkish language course is the realization of qualified reading, listening, speaking and writing performances. The delivery of Turkish language courses in a critical manner is significant to achieve this goal.


 PURPOSE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH

The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between critical thinking skill and learning domains of Turkish language which are reading, listening, speaking and writing. Critical thinking takes place effectively in curriculums that have been created in recent years. Organizing the reading, listening, speaking and writing domains with a critical understanding and bringing them to individuals have become one of the most important requirements of being a contemporary society. The study, in which the impact of critical thinking skill on learning domains is investigated, is a qualitative study and formed in the literature review model. In the descriptive survey model which aims at revealing a situation as it is, the incident, individual or objected that is subjected to the research, is tried to be defined in its own circumstances and as it is. There are no efforts of changing and affecting them (Karasar, 2011).
 
The critical thinking skill is an essential life skill among the 21st-century skills which guides an individual to make an independent and emancipated decision. In the recent years, teaching the critical thinking skill to students and improving their basic language skills such as reading, listening, speaking and writing have been emphasized in the preparation of educational curriculum in modern and democratic societies. In the curriculums, teaching of the four aforementioned basic learning domains with a critical understanding to individuals is among the expected outcomes of the education process, because one of the most important steps of advancing in science and technology is raising individuals with critical and creative thinking ability. This study is unique as it addresses such a significant issue, and it makes an important contribution to the field.
 
THINKING
 
Thinking is accepted as formulating an opinion on any issue, occupy one's mind, reflecting, reconsidering an opinion in detail, and making analysis-synthesis in the sources. In the TDKD (2011), thinking is defined as an independent and authentic state of mind independently of senses, impressions and imagination; making comparisons, merging, the competence of comprehending connections and forms. Cüceloğlu (1999) defines thinking as a cognitive process which is active, goal-oriented and organized. When the definitions made on thinking are examined, we can say that thinking is a cognitive process that high-level skills of an individual take a functional action consciously in line with a goal.
 
In the curriculums which have been prepared in recent years thinking skill has been attached a great importance. The issues as how students think, why they should think, pondering on events and situations, making assessments and what they should think has become important issues that have been given emphasis by the educational scientists. In the traditional curriculums, the knowledge was passed to students through a system based on memorization; on the other hand, in the new instruction models, it is suggested to make activities as producing new knowledge through cognitive processes of students’ old knowledge and knowledge they acquired by thinking and reconsidering. The thinking skill becomes prominent also in the focus of these studies. Therefore, bringing the thinking skill becomes so important in the process of learning and teaching of formal education. The individuals whose thinking skills are developed also acquire the skills of understanding and interpreting what they read, see, listen and experience in a better way. As thinking is a straight cognitive process, it also improves various skills of intelligence. Due to the fact that high-level cognitive skills such as elimination, questioning, classification, selection, sorting, analysis, synthesis and assessment enter into a transaction, these skills also find an opportunity to improve at the meantime. Language is the concrete form of thinking. Without language, thinking cannot come to life. Hence, improvement of language skills facilitates the expression of thinking as well.
 
CRITICAL THINKING AND ITS INSTRUCTION
 
Not only in our country, but also in other societies of the world, programs towards improving critical thinking skill have been implemented for the last half-century and practices and activities towards this understanding have been made in textbooks and schools. Unfortunately, in this sense, studies have just started to be carried out in our country. Apart from the curriculums applied in the recent period, a rote-learning model based on passing information had been used in the curriculums applied until today. In programs that are applied within this model, an individual was only responsible for memorizing the given knowledge. On the other hand, teachers had the position of individuals who passed knowledge. However, with the constructive approach-curriculum model that has been applied in recent years, after 2005, the education-instruction model in which student realize his/her own learning, and critical thinking and multiple learning are applied have been implemented. In this model, the teacher only has the role of a guidance and mentor.
 
A student is an individual who investigates, find and apply the knowledge in life. In this model, applications which aim at improving students’ high-level cognitive and affective skills are given place, and an education-instruction model in which students are active in learning and knowledge, instead of memorization, is made permanent through cognitive restructuring is implemented. One of the  most  important  main  principals  of  the  new model is to raise individuals who develop a critical understanding of what is read, listened, seen or experienced. This will be the key to both personal and social development. An individual thinks more conveniently, independently and freely, make independent decisions, and in this way, it will be possible to develop unique ideas. Students should be able to question what they do not understand or curious about freely and judge the knowledge which is provided by elders and teachers. It should not be forgotten that critical thinking arises in such an environment. 
 
The word ‘critical’ is described as examining, testing and judging the foundation and accuracy of knowledge in TDKD (2011). The origin of the word ‘critical’ is Greek and the Greek word, ‘kritikos’ which means questioning, judging and assessing had spread from other languages herefrom.
 
On the other hand, critical thinking is the approach of an individual to what is read, seen, listened and experienced, and not believing them imprudently. Ennis (2007, states that critical thinking skill is an integrated skill consisted of the combınatıon of various skills regarding expression styles, cognitive methods and assessment. Ennis (2007), states that critical thinking skill is an integrated skill consisted of the combınatıon of various skills regarding expression styles, cognitive methods and assessment. The writer adds that a critical thinker has various types of skills such as questioning, focusing on the problem, internalizing the basic concepts regarding thoughts, making inference and observation and paying attention to assumptions. On the other hand, Nosich (2012) states that critical thinking is trying to understand the logic of the concepts by questioning and drawing a conclusion from this logic.
 
Critical thinking which is defined as analyzing, conscious questioning of an individual against the life incidents is a skill which is formed according to certain principles. In the face of any written or visual incident/ situation that an individual read, listened, seen, came across or experienced in the life-cycle, first of all, the individual: confronts an incident/situation, recognizes the incident/situation, perceives the incident/situation, makes a research/examination on the incident/situation, collects information on the incident/situation, makes analyses, makes logical links between collected information and reasoning (cause-effect, condition-effect, purpose-effect, etc.), analyses the information, processes it through high-level cognitive operations, makes interpretations, makes assessments, reaches a general conclusion, integrates, and reconstructs and expresses
 
Starting from the earlier explanations and definitions, we can express critical thinking as an individual’s questioning, examining, scrutinizing of an information or incident which come across in life, and reaching a conclusion through an evaluation as a result of these process.   Critical   thinking   is   a   complex   process   of cognitive operations. An individual who gained critical thinking skill is aware of what he/she is doing with which purpose; has a high level of problem-solving skills, thinks analytically and has advanced reasoning skills. An individual who uses a text in a book that we read in the daily life, new on published by the press or a sentence made by a politician in his/her life by filtering them through the processes given earlier acquire critical thinking skill. Critical thinking is an acquisition for an individual to lead a happy and successful life. Raising individuals equipped with this skill is one of the main objectives of education. 
 
We bring acquisitions to our students in our curriculum through critical thinking skill. Individuals with advanced critical learning attain characteristics as free-thinking, independent decision making, reasoning, develop empathy, being tolerant to different opinions, being open to innovations, being neutral, comprehending the truth and realizing problems.
 
Turkish language course is the course which critical thinking skill can be taught in the most effective manner. Turkish language course has the characteristic for improving students’ high-level cognitive skills through the four basic language skills. The domains of reading, writing, listening, speaking are domains that an individual’s use constantly in a lifetime. Curriculums which will be prepared in these learning domains should be prepared in accordance with the critical thinking skill. An individual who uses questioner-learning in cognitive and effective learning processes regularly starting from the first years of primary school approach any situation that he/she seen, experienced, and came across in every sphere of life with a critical understanding, not only with what was taught in school. Therefore, Turkish language course has a fundamental position in this sense. The critical thinking skill should not be limited with courses yet students should be advised to use these skills in other aspects of life as well. Because, it should be considered that these skills can be forgotten or become blunt in the case that students do not alter them into a lifestyle, a perspective. Therefore, it should be ensured that the preparation of curriculums, not only in the Turkish language course but in all courses, are made in line with the aim of developing students’ cognitive and effective critical thinking skills.
 
Students who gain the critical thinking skill, on what they read, listened or experienced:
 
(1) Assert different opinions courageously
(2) Ask questions without hesitations or concerns
(3) Have increased interest in courses and success
(4) Acquire the culture of democracy
(5) Learn how to be protected from the negative impacts of social media
(6) Learn how to think logically
(7) Can distinguish the  contradictions  between  thoughts immediately
(8) Obtain the skills of questioning stereotyped judgements, traditions, social judgments, values and beliefs undauntedly
(9) Comprehends semantic relations such as cause-effect, purpose-effect, and condition-effect immediately
(10) See the differences and similarities between the expressed judgements
(11) Make a semantic sorting
(12) Can question the accuracy and inaccuracy of a de facto judgement
(13) Try to prove it by presenting alternative ideas
(14) Try to find the new and different constantly
(15) Learn about the discussion culture
(16) Become self-confident
(17) Do not abstain from discussion and investigate the information to prove his/her opinions
(18) Put an emphasis on details
(19) Make detailed observation and examinations
(20) Produce new knowledge through cognitive reconstruction by synthesizing previous and current knowledge  
(21) Present alternative solutions to problems
(22) Think logically, analytically and systematically
(23) Have strong written and verbal expression
 
Beside high-level of cognitive and affective skills, students with advanced critical thinking skills also have high academic success. Because students with advanced questioning and investigation skills develop a critical understanding of their current knowledge or incidents occur in life in other courses apart from the learning domains of Turkish language course. The skills will become permanent in students with practices based on critical thinking. Despite the fact that practices in critical thinking skill give different results, the essential point is the development of critical understanding of students. Educational institutions should not only provide information yet should prepare individuals to the life and challenging conditions of it. Individuals with advanced thinking skills are prepared to live better. With an improvement in critical thinking skills, new advancements in science and technology will also take place. Accordingly, new ideas will emerge both in science and technology. The development of science and technology is only possible with individuals’ openness to new developments, having authentic ideas, being tolerant towards differenced and production of new ideas. Critical thinking does not only ensure the internal development of an individual. It also contributes to the emergence of developments in science and technology that enhance the living conditions of an individual and allowing them to live in a more convenient world. Therefore, an individual who can read, write, speak, listen critically or perceive issues from a critical perspective display accurate behaviors  and  responses  by  analyzing many situations precisely.
 
Many studies have been conducted on inserting critical thinking skill in curriculums in a systematic and permanent manner and on the delivery of instruction, and all educational scientists have been carrying out research studies on the issue. Karadüz (2010) emphasized the importance of bringing critical thinking skills in terms of supporting and improving language skills and states that students’ critical thinking skills should be improved in order to realize the acquisitions of basic language skills such as listening, speaking, reading and writing. A critical thinking skill which consists of various high-level cognitive skills as understanding, comprehending, analyzing, describing, questioning, reasoning and is a significant milestone for raising individuals who will respond to our century
 
The principles and rules of critical thinking should be taught to students from the first years of primary school. How to perform critical thinking, how a critical thinking will be brought to students and which phases to be followed to achieve this should be included in curriculums. In order to raise generations who think critically and realize critical learning, first of all, our teachers should have a critical understanding. It is not possible for a teacher who was raised within a traditional, rote-learning based education system to raise individuals who are thinking critically, questioning, scrutinizing and have cognitive flexibility and readiness. Therefore it is important that our teachers also have critical thinking skill and received education in this field. Individuals who think with a critical understanding have the constant curiosity of investigation and examination. They have the skill of questioning on the incidents and situations that they read, saw, listened, or experience through the questions of “what, how, why”. They have thinking structure which is open-minded, unprejudiced, transparent, reasonable, and logical. They have an understanding which implements the knowledge in their lives, support the ideas with pieces of evidence, able to solve the problems, use the verbal and written language efficiently, respectful to other opinions, yet questioning.
 
In this framework, teachers have important responsivities. Teachers who support critical thinking in their classrooms contribute to students’ scientific development and enhance the positive attitude towards critical thinking. When critical thinking skills are used regularly in the lectures, the participation of students in the critical thinking process demonstrates a tendency to increase (Seferoğlu and Akbıyık, 2006). Wilks (2005) indicates that students who think critically are more participative, do not avoid discussion, make assumptions and inferences, come up with alternatives, develop different meanings from the opinions, and argue that teachers that will educate students who have the aforementioned characteristics should also gain these competencies.   Furthermore,  in  the  “Teacher  Behavior Supporting Critical Thinking Inventory” conducted by Alkın (2012), it was stated that teachers should possess the behaviors of being open-minded, questioning the accuracy and credibility of the information, searching for reason-evidence, advanced level of questioning and openness, and included the sub-dimensions. Qian (2007) states that education improves the life of an individual in every aspect and indicates that education aims at raising individuals who think critically and possess the required knowledge to solve problems. Forrester (2008) argues that the skills, which are presented in the following, should be taught as the first step to improve students’ high-level thinking skills.
 
(1) Considering and assessing different perspectives
(2) Open-mindedness
(3) Developing logical arguments through appropriate evidence
(4) Identifying the strong and weak aspects of an argument
(5) Identifying the prejudice of oneself and others
(6) Identifying priorities and importance
(7) Analyzing the features of sources
(8) Synthesizing from different sources
(9) Questioning from the general to the specific
(10) Questioning from the specific to the general
(11) Problem-solving
(12) Developing standards for evaluation
(13) Evaluating self-decision making process
(14) Evaluating self-work and other’s work
(15) Making a purposeful and reflective judgement
(16) Self-control
 
A teacher who aims at enhancing critical thinking skills of students should consider the following points: 
 
(1) Applying instruction methods that will help students to think multi-dimensionally in their lectures,
(2) Bringing their students the skill of approaching what is read, listened, experienced or seen with, briefly any incident or situation that they experience in life, with a questioning and investigative approach,
(3) Providing a democratic environment that students can express their thoughts freely during lectures and activities,
(4) Setting students with homework, responsibilities and duties that will improve their skills of examination and reaching information,
(5) Providing opportunities that will develop students personal initiative skills both in classroom and out-of-class,
(6) Creating learning areas that students will realize exchange of opinions in co-operation with their friends,
(7) Going beyond curriculums and textbooks if it is necessary to reveal their students’ personal skills,
(8) Being fair among their students,
(9) Not imposing their truth on students, not using an imposing tone, and reflecting this feeling to students,
(10) Giving students time for thinking, making independent decisions etc.,
(11) Creating spaces that students use the knowledge they obtained in life,
(12) Providing a classroom environment that students discuss any issue freely and conveniently,
(13) Providing an opportunity for students to interact through interactive methods,
(14) Asking incongruous questions to reveal the creative side of students and demand them to make research on the answers,
(15) Believing that there can be other truths besides theirs and develop this opinion in students as well,
(16) Following a method that allows students to reach different opinions by asking open-ended questions
(17) Listening to their students with interest and respect even they are inaccurate,
(18) Performing implementations that ensure students’ cognitive development,
(19) Creating a free lecture environment that students can produce new ideas.
 
Erdamar and Alpan (2017) identified the characteristics that a teacher who thinks critically should possess and presented the given conclusions: should respect student opinions; should be a role model for students in terms of critical thinking; should establish a democratic and safe learning environment; should keep up with the innovations in the field; should listen to students; should be open to criticism, should be unprejudiced, and should appeal to the individual differences of students by using different techniques.


 FOUR BASIC CRITICAL THINKING-BASED LEARNING DOMAINS

Language instruction is a major step for a society to become a contemporary society both in science and social life. Individuals who realize language instruction completely, raise as successful individuals and serve to the society they live in. Rafi (2011) indicates that critical thinking broadens students learning experiences and gives a more meaningful shape to the language for them. Language instruction which is provided from the first years of primary school is included in curriculums as the main point of both academic success and starting the life as a healthy and happy individual with advanced social skills. One of the most important components of language instruction is critical thinking. The Turkish language course curriculums that have been created in recent years have been created by taking critical thinking skills as the baseline. In the latest Turkish Language Course Curriculum, the fact that thinking and critical  thinking  are the main philosophies of the curriculum has been emphasized by the expression given as “raising individuals who understand what they listen, watch, and read; expressing their feelings, thoughts and dreams; think critically and creatively, take responsibility; entrepreneurial; coherent with the environment; make investigation, criticizing and interpretation of incidents, situations and information a habit starting from their accumulation of knowledge” (MEB, 2006: 3). In curriculums, the concept of ‘critical’ is given a wide place. The relationship between each learning domain related to basic learning domains and the concept of “critical” has been underlined. The domains of reading, listening, speaking and writing have been included extensively, and it was aimed to improve critical thinking skills while these learning domains are being discussed. 
 
Critical reading
 
The reading skill which is a complex cognitive process the interpretation of signs and symbols that are perceived with the help of an eye after certain cognitive processes. Ülper (2010) defines reading as a repetitive interpretation process with an emotional aspect actualized by individuals who recognize the semantic and grammatical features of the language that the written text is produced, by analyzing codes and using a set of strategies in accordance with certain objectives. Ferah (2005) states that reading is a cognitive activity arises as a result of the cooperation and collaboration of the sense organs and voice devices with the purpose of interpreting and inferring pressed or written signs. Güneş (2007) asserts that reading is an active process that an individual produces new meanings by associating and integrating his/her pre-knowledge with the information in the text. Starting from these definitions, we can state that reading is an interpretation process. In other words, it is the process of interpretation and reconstruction of voices in the brain after certain cognitive processes.
 
On the other hand, critical reading is approaching to a text with a questioning and sceptical approach, interpreting the text accurately, comprehending the feelings and thoughts that are tried to be expressed in the text effectively, and to have a command on the text from every aspect. An individual who consider the action of reading with a critical understating acquire the skill of reading and interpreting a text more in detail, sensitively and multi-dimensionally. Before interpreting and reconstructing each test that is read in the mind, cognitive processes as questioning, interpreting and thinking on alternative opinions are performed. After these processes, reconstruction of the text is completed in the mind. The accuracy of the information given in the text is investigated, a comparison is made between the previous knowledge, inferences on  the  text are made, the internal consistency of the text is checked, the relationship between the thoughts located in the text is examined in detail, and an assessment is made. After the evaluations on the text are made, the interpretation and reconstruction process of the text starts in mind. Critical reading is important as it provides individuals with the competence of reading more accurately and in detail. Therefore, various actives and practices towards critical reading in terms of both skills and methods should be performed within the Turkish language course, in order to improve the critical reading skill of individuals.
 
A reader who read texts with a critical understanding examines the formal structure of the text and have a command on the whole formal structure, from the order of sentence to the array of paragraphs. Also examines the top and bottom association judgements of the text from part to whole and from whole to part. Make comments and assessments on the semantic and formal integrity between the units. Examining the text formally is also a part of critical reading.
 
Critical reading is a type of reading that an individual is not distracted and focused on the text. The thinking process emerges during reading includes cognitive processes as; attentive-reading, questioning, selecting, classifying, associating, comparison and assessing. The reader has a constant questioning suspicion against the text. He/She examines the general structure of the text, language and expression features. Because, critical reading is not only about reading the text, yet scrutinizing and examining the text from both semantic and formal aspects, and making an assessment of the text.
 
When the acquisitions in Turkish language course curriculums settle and develop in the individual with a critical understanding, students find an opportunity to reaching more logical conclusions, making more accurate assessments, establishing more positive communication with the content of the text, and reconstructing the text in a more integrative manner with their pre-knowledge. Due to the fact that critical understanding requires more detailed questioning from students about the text, students also attain the competencies of collecting all of the components included in the texts they read without distraction, realizing what is the purpose of the writing, locating words in the text by considering the central meanings, connotations and figurative meanings, interpreting the semantic relations between the main idea and secondary thoughts, comparing the different meanings given in the text, reasoning between these, and in this way, reconstructing the text as a whole.  
 
Critical thinking has eight main components, they are: identifying the purpose of reading, attentive reading, skeptical reading, reading by thinking, asking questions by thinking, perceiving the logical connection between thoughts, having a command on the text semantically, making comparisons with previous knowledge, and producing new knowledge.
 
Critical reading requires a student to approach the text with an entirely independent perspective. The reader should only perceive the purpose of the writer for writing text and should put an effort to understand the text. Because reading is just about the perception of visual indicators and interpretation entirely based on the text. The reader should not go beyond the meanings given in the text and contribute self-interpretations. The comments and assessment should adhere to the root of the text as well. The visible and nonvisible meanings are also revealed by adhering to the text. The critical reader also gains the ability to expose the new meanings that are hidden by the writer in words, sentences and paragraphs by going beyond the visible meaning of the text by communicating with the writer over the text through the high-level thinking skills. In today’s world that thousands of publications find a place on the shelves every day whether they are scientific or not, individuals can be protected from the informatics ignorance and being affected from the pieces that are written with malicious intentions depend on individuals’ possession of critical thinking skills and acquisitions of questioning- critical reading skills.
 
Therefore, it is important that individuals make healthy readings, and perform reading activities that will improve them and contribute to their academic, cognitive and intellectual development. The importance of critical reading comes to the fore more clearly in this process.
 
Critical listening
 
Listening learning domain is one of the learning domains that individuals access information at most. Unfortunately, we live in an era that individuals read less yet are exposed to listening in a constant manner. We are in an age that media is all-pervasive through communication mediums such as the internet, radio and smart devices, and have a constant impact on us. Every moment that we live, we confront a propaganda, a trailer, a political speech or an advertisement through these mediums. In the face of these discourses that are presented to us with or without our will, having a critical listening skill will ensure us to make more accurate decisions in life. Every day, the most private spheres of our lives are exposed to thousands of commercial product advertisements, political propaganda discourses and movies. Our children grow up with these discourses. Therefore, embedding the critical listening understanding in our children from the early ages will help them to make more accurate decisions in the following years both as a choice of life and in general sense. An individual with a critical listening skill will question what is listened, filter them with truth, examine them profoundly and make comparisons with previous learnings when he/she listens to all of the concepts and thoughts that he/she  hear  with  or  without consent during the circle of life with a ‘critical’ understanding, and in this wat will be able to decide on accuracy or inaccuracy of them. When listening turns into a qualification, the individuals will have the skill to make healthier assessments.
 
An individual with a critical listening skill gives healthier response after processing the listened information with cognitive processes which are in line with the critical understanding. When a listener obtains a critical reading skill, she/he sets listening objectives, make assumptions on the issue before listening, and asks detailed questions to the speaker during listening. In this way, the listener also provides a skill to the speaker to respond with a stronger evidence. Because listening to the given information with a questioning understanding, also allows the individual to activate the previous knowledge in mind and to give an accurate response to the speaker based on this previous knowledge.
 
An individual who listens critically also improves high-level thinking skills as the quick-thinking skills are gained. Because in terms of listening, both listening organ and the mind have very active positions. The listener listens the every word of the speaker attentively to the smallest until, and processes the thoughts of the speaker cognitively by considering the all the situations as the purpose of speaking, what is told, why it is told, to whom it is told, by whom it is told and whether the thoughts are consistent or not. The listener is the mood of constant active listening. Therefore, every expression that is made is examined and assessed. After various cognitive processes such as questioning during listening, the consistency of the expression in itself and in terms of the reality of life, creating alternative ideas, comparison, reasoning, interpretation and assessment, the expressed thought is reconstructed through an integration with the previous knowledge. In the listening process, the listener should think very quickly and focus entirely on the speaker during these processes.
 
Critical speaking
 
One of the most important characteristics of individuals with critical thinking skill is to have advanced critical expression skills. These expressions can be verbal or written. The critical expression skills are enhanced in individuals who read and listen critically. Individuals with critical thinking skills are able to express their emotions and feelings in front of audiences in an accurate, complete, clear and effective manner. In the objectives section of the Turkish Language Course Curriculum (2018), the expression of “enabling students to express their feelings and thoughts and their opinions and arguments on a particular issue in a clear and effective manner both in verbal and written forms… enabling them to assess  and  question  what  they  read  with  a  critical understanding” were included. When it is considered from the critical understanding perspective, which is the main component of the program, the main point which is aimed at is the ability of an individual to express what is read, listened, seen or experienced during lifetime, or the incidents or situations with a critical understanding. For this reason, one of the most important skills that an individual will gain in the scope of the Turkish language course should be critical speaking. The critical speaking skill is directly proportionate to the development of language skills and other basic learning domains. In order to bring students the critical thinking skill, it would be useful to include debating, discussion, six hat thinking method, brainstorming, Socratic Method and question and answer method question and answer by the Turkish teacher within the lectures. Because these activities develop both the listening skill of students and bring students the skill to think differently, and accordingly enable them to gain the skill to express themselves with a critical understanding skill.
 
Individuals who can speak critically are individuals who can interpret life, make decisions indecently and freely, establish healthy relations with others, and persuade others with their speeches. They have strong skills to find solutions to problems they confront in life.
 
Critical writing
 
Another important learning domain that is developed by the critical thinking skill is the critical writing. Göçer (2010) defines writing as an expression of the ones who have the power of thinking on their opinions, ideas, feelings, observation, experiments and experiences in the scale of the selected topic, appropriately to the rules of the language. The components such as; having a rich vocabulary, a constant reading skill, a command on the grammar and structure of the language and s skill to order incidents or situations in a consistent and logical manner, are effective in the development of the writing skill which is also defined as writing down the knowledge, opinions, emotions and dreams regular by an individual. 
 
The four learning domains of the Turkish language are very associated to each other very closely. A development in one of them also affects others. In learning and teaching processes, reading, listening, speaking and writing domains develop each other in an integrative manner. The most important domain that has a direct impact on the writing skill is the reading learning domain. The development of the writing, particularly the critical writing skill, is connected with the development of the reading and critical reading skills. An individual who reads has a richer vocabulary, imagination and a broad perspective gains the skill of multi-dimensional thinking about the incidents and situations, has advanced high-level thinking skills such  as  reasoning, questioning etc., and becomes informed about the language and expression characteristics of texts. Therefore, the first step of writing is reading. Therefore we should improve the reading skill in individuals at first in order to improve the writing skill.
 
Critical writing is based on making a research on the topic that will be written on and writing down thoughts, emotions and dreams with a questioning and critical understanding by an individual. In order to develop the critical writing skill in an individual, first of all, the individuals should have the joy of writing and should be informed about the topic that will be written about from all aspects. An individual should have the knowledge accumulation, cultural richness and life experience on the subject that will be criticized, because an individual cannot have the competency of criticizing and questioning the issues which are not known. An individual should be able to write on topics that will inform readers or that will make them enjoyed, to give a logical shape to the incidents and situations while writing, competent on technical issues as spelling rules and grammar, have the confidence for writing, and should be able to consider issues from a different perspective. In addition, the individual should be able to use high-level thinking skills such as questioning, reasoning, producing different alternatives, visualization of what will be written in mind, organization, classification, ordering, making analysis-synthesis and assessments while writing with a critical understanding. Critical writing is a cognitive and intellectual process entirely. It is writing down the emotions and thoughts through cognitive processes. The formation of this textual structure which is written down within the framework of consistency criteria is important in terms of the semantic and formal integrity of the text. The correct use of grammar, spelling, punctuation, language and expression will enhance the impact of the text on readers. 


 DISCUSSION

Recently, the critical thinking skill has stated to be involved in education-instruction processes considerably. The critical thinking skill particularly has a significance in terms of language teaching and teaching students to approach life with a critical and questioning perspective. The research studies conducted on the issue also demonstrate that individuals with advanced thinking skills perform language teaching more easily. It is a well-known fact that students with an advanced critical thinking skill are more successful in reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. Escobar (2017) emphasized that the critical thinking skill is integrated with subjects of various courses, and indicated that the skills of critical reading, critical listening, critical speaking and critical writing are improved   with   critical   content  in  the  curriculum.  The contribution of foreign language education supported by critical thinking skill on the development of students basic language skills such as reading skills (Fahim and Sa’eepour, 2011; Fahim et al., 2012), writing skills (Bayram, 2015; Rafi, 2011; Şenkaya, 2005; Moghaddam and Malekzadeh, 2011), listening skills (Malmir and Shoorcheh, 2012) and speaking skills (Fahim and Koleini, 2014; Khodashenas and Farahani, 2014; Sanavi and Tarighat, 2014; Uğurlu, 2018: 50).
 
In the literature, there are various studies that can support the positive relationship between language skills and critical thinking skill. These studies also have features that also support our study. Çiftçi (2006) focused on the question of how critical reading should be in the article written with the title of critical reading and indicated the characteristics of a critical reader. In this study, Çiftçi reached the result that gaining the habit of reading with a critical understanding is considerably effective and important in individuals’ academic and social lives. Karadüz (2010) also highlights the importance of critical thinking skill in terms of developing language skills in a way to support our study, in the study, carried out under the name of language skills and critical thinking. In addition, the writer reached the result that methods and techniques that will sustain critical thinking skills in a learning environment in order to improve students basic language skills. Furthermore, the writer indicated that the teacher and the approach of the teacher plays an important role in terms of bringing critical thinking skills to students. In the theoretical section of the study that was conducted Söylemez (2015) on the development of basic language skills scales towards secondary school students, it was found out that bringing critical thinking skill to students is important. In the study conducted by İşlekeller (2008) based on the critical thinking skills titled the impact of Turkish language teaching on gain, critical thinking levels and attitudes normal and gifted children, the impact of critical thinking skill on Turkish language teaching was investigated. In the study, the pretest-posttest design among the testing models. As a result of the study, it was found out that curriculums that are prepared with the critical thinking understanding increase students success levels and affect their attitudes towards Turkish language course positively. The study that was carried out by Akdan (2016) which examined the impact of prospective teachers’ critical thinking tendencies on reading skills, it was found out that critical thinking skill contributes to critical thinking in a positive way. Tiryaki (2011) reached to the conclusion that there is a statistically significant and positive correlation between critical thinking and argumentative text writing as a result of the study that was conducted with the purpose of determining the relationship between university students’ argumentative text writing skills, writing anxiety and critical think skills. In addition, Özensoy (2011) found out in  the  study  conducted  to  reveal  the  impact  of  social studies course on the critical reading skill of students with the pretest-posttest control group research design that, the learning approach based on the textbook which is prepared according to critical reading increases the critical thinking skill scores of students significantly in comparison to the instruction based on guidance book activities prepared by the Ministry of National Education. According to the research, it was found out that social studies course delivered based on critical learning makes important contributions to students, and social studies books should be prepared according to critical reading. Tokyürek (2001) stated in the study that was conducted with teachers to identify the question of whether teachers’ attitudes and curriculums have an impact on critical thinking skill that majority of teachers said that children with advanced critical thinking skills will also improve technology, and expressed that despite the fact that teachers mention that they try to provide an environment for critical thinking in their lectures, they are not able to provide the preferred environment due to the difficulties arise following curriculums and official procedure. Furthermore, the writer emphasized in the study that teachers approach students tolerantly in order to develop critical thinking skill in the classroom.
 
Recently, the development of critical thinking and language skills has started to gain more and more importance. One of the important phases of the upbringing of a child with necessary equipment in the face of changing and developing information and technologies is raising individuals with advanced reading, listening, speaking and writing skills, which are the basic language skills, in the framework of critical understanding. Kelly (2001) states that individuals with critical thinking skill are honest and modest, have intellectual courage, patient, conscious and at the same time they have a socially active character. Connerly (2006) indicates that individuals with critical thinking skill alter their perspectives towards the problems confronted in life, and develop appropriate solutions. This situation demonstrates that individuals with critical thinking skill contribute to their societies. 
 
Advancement of societies and possession of contemporary valued differ according to the quality of individuals they raise. Societies that can raise individuals who are equipped from every aspect take their place among the modern civilizations (Epçaçan, 2012: 3). Bringing the critical thinking skills to all individuals in order to obtain the features that to keep up with the recent age, and which are required by the age have started to gain vital importance. Language skills and critical thinking skills are concepts that affect each other in a positive and direct way. A development in one has a positive reflection on the other. Only the generation that assesses what they read listened, seen or experienced with a critical understanding; criticize, question, perceive, and investigate  and  produce  knowledge   can  compete with the world and carry societies to further. The development of basic language skills and critical thinking skills included in the Turkish language course curriculums are considered as important and required skills from the spheres of individuals’ academic and life- success. Supporting reading listening, speaking and writing skills of individuals with a critical understanding; and provision of education from students from the early years of formal education with critical equipment, not only in the Turkish language course but in all courses, will enable to realize themselves. When a human being has a command on the specifics of his/her mother language, the thinking skills also improve. In today’s world that information transforms quickly, individuals who produce knowledge contribute value to the societies they live in. The main way of producing knowledge is developing reading, listening, speaking and writing skills with a critical understanding. Therefore, language domains in Turkish language courses should be developed with a critical understanding with the purpose of developing these four learning domains. Students’ critical and questioning approach to the courses that they take in the scope of formal education, and to the incidents and situations that they confront in life will be the main principle for success. Students’ use of instructional methods and approaches that enable them to think multi-dimensionally, support their authenticity, encourage them and enable them to produce new knowledge will also enhance their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. The key to being a modern society is to raise such a generation.


 SUGGESTIONS

Parents and teachers have great responsibilities in terms of the development of individuals’ critical thinking skills and basic language skills such as reading, listening, speaking and writing.
 
(1) Teachers should teach about critical reading, critical listening, critical speaking and critical writing methods/techniques in lectures and ensure that students gain these skills. Activities should be performed for developing these four main learning domains with a critical understanding. 
(2) In order to develop the critical thinking skill, a democratic background should be set in the school, home and social environment, the idea that tolerance should be shown to individuals with different opinions should be given to students from early ages, and environments that enable individuals to express feelings and thoughts freely should be created.
(3) In-service seminars/trainings should be provided to teachers on the subject of teaching the critical thinking skill
(4) Individuals with different, controversial, authentic and creative opinions should be encouraged, their ideas should not be underestimated and received with tolerance.
(5) In curriculums that will be prepared, activities and practices which improve critical thinking should be given more place.

 


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.

 



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