Critical thinking practice and development in teacher education: from reported understandings to observed approaches in the context of foreign language teaching

Tam Trang Nguyen, Anna Podorova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This study investigates critical thinking (CT) in two Intitial Teacher Education (ITE) courses. The main research questions explored ITE teachers’ and students’ understandings about CT and their actual approaches to CT practice and development in the context of one Vietnamese university. The conceptual framework used for the analysis was an adaptation of Halonen’s (1995) model of CT (dispositions, cognition and metacognition) and an adaptation of Bredo’s (2000) concept of interactional constructivism. The data consist of 63 questionnaire responses from 22 teachers and 41 students, filmed classroom observations for two speaking courses, semi-structured focus-group interviews, and teaching materials used in two observed classes. The findings indicate that while participants expressed a wide set of beliefs and understandings about the essential features of CT defined and identified in the literature (i.e., dispositions, cognition and metacognition), only a narrow set emerged in their actual classroom practice. Despite the gap between reported understanding and practice, the analysis showed how teacher-generated questions and student-student exploratory talk in the two observed speaking classes, while limited, provided students with opportunities for practicing and developing CT. This study ends with a series of recommendations to build practice in the classroom and for teacher education courses to develop pre-service teachers’ knowledge about CT.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future of Teacher Education
Subtitle of host publicationInnovations across Pedagogies, Technologies and Societies
EditorsPascal Hohaus, Jan-Friso Heeran
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789004678545
ISBN (Print)9789004678521, 9789004678538
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Innovation Education
ISSN (Print)2542-9183


  • teacher education
  • critical thinking
  • teaching English as a foreign language

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