Critical Thinking In Teaching Writing Free Composition Education Essay

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1.0 Introduction:

The word "composition" may mean different things in different circumstances. It could be a personal narrative, a short work of fiction or prose, an essay, a dramatic work or a poem. Each of these works has its own set of rules and characteristics. It is presumed that students starting writing free composition pieces will already have had a thorough training in elementary, intermediate, or outlined controlled composition work. The purpose of the previous types of composition techniques in writing, as I assumed above, is supposed to help the students to write on any topic introduced by their teachers. Moreover, they can perform well in examinations provided with materials, which they can use to express themselves clearly, effectively and systematically on any subject, which an ordinary person is expected to know something about it. It is of consensus that writing is a continuing process of discovering how to find the most effective language for communicating one's thoughts and feelings. It can be challenging, whether writing in one's native language or in a second language. As learners put their thoughts on paper, see their ideas in handwriting or print, and share them with others, they find that they develop a powerful voice in their new culture. There is a very simple and important reason to write besides communicating with each other: writing helps our students learn. By writing, learners reinforce grammatical structures, idioms, and vocabulary they have been learning. In addition, when they write they have the chance to be more adventurous with the language, they can go beyond what they have just learned to say, they take risks. Finally, when they write, they become involved with the new language; they work hard to express their ideas and the constant use of eye, brain, and hand is a unique way to reinforce learning. For these reasons, this research is going to address this topic (Teaching Writing Free Composition and how it will be thriven if implemented through Critical Thinking) and in details, tries to evolve all experienced techniques that contribute in success. So, after precise and thorough study to the topic "Writing Free Composition" and what is known as "Critical Thinking (Informal Logic)," appeared that the later is the most progressive way to be explored for teaching writing free composition successfully. This would be more obvious after understanding the definitions of the two. Since writing free composition could be defined as the level of understanding that writing is a critical area of the school curriculum, a complex activity that includes the mechanics of writing, including handwriting (or keyboarding, using an adaptive device), spelling, and the basics of language knowledge (i.e., word morphology, syntax, and vocabulary). In addition, it includes the following cognitive, meta-cognitive, self-regulatory, and motivational aspects including: (generating ideas to put into handwriting or print, planning what to say and how to say it, organizing the ideas into a coherent whole , recognizing the needs of readers and how to meet those needs, translating these plans into a written text, including a style of writing and word choice appropriate to the writing task and projected readers, remembering all of the components that need to be included in producing the composition, self-monitoring the process and reviewing the content, organization, and mechanics and then editing as needed possessing the cognitive capacity to deal with all of these aspects of complexity ,possessing the confidence, motivation, and perseverance to engage in the hard work needed to create a well written product). In addition, writing is an important part of students' lives after school, where many employers insist that employees should possess well-developed communication skills including writing skills - a variety of other purposes are served by writing and developing writing capability. There are several ways that writing is important in our lives:

As a contribution to the development of a person, no matter what that person's background and talents are, writing is a highly complex act that demands the analysis and synthesis of many levels of thinking.

Writing develops initiatives. In reading, everything is provided. In writing, the learner must supply everything: the right relationship between sounds and letters, the order of the letters and their form on the page, the topic, information, questions, answers, and order.

Writing develops courage. At no point is the learner more vulnerable than in writing and /or speaking.

Writing, more than any other subject, can lead to personal breakthroughs in learning.

Writing can contribute to reading from the first day of school. Writing, some say, is active, whereas reading is passive.

Writing contributes strongly to reading comprehension, as children grow up. The ability to revise writing for greater power and economy is one of the higher forms of reading.

To appreciate the connection between good thinking and good writing, the student needs to see writing as something other than discrete bits of information to be studied and stored in memory (Bean, 1996, p. 17). In other words, students need to learn to think critically about writing and the world, to evaluate information and reach an educated opinion about it, not merely accept it at face value. Students today live in an information-driven society. The challenge for them is to learn how to evaluate and use that information to find the meaning in the knowledge, so that the knowledge can successfully be applied to new situations. When the student writes to learn what he or she thinks, he or she is practicing critical thinking in its basic form. A letter to a relative, a note to a friend, and a diary entry are all examples of the "writing to learn theory" if the student discovers what he or she thinks as he or she is writing. Write to learn assignments capitalize on students' prior knowledge and force them to evaluate that knowledge in order to reach meaningful, personalized conclusions. Hence, such assignments allow students to build on prior knowledge in order to progress to the next cognitive level of maturity. Moreover, write to learn strategies generally utilize Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (1956), specifically the levels of application, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. Critical thinking writing is the coin of the realm here. It permeates the whole atmosphere rather than being compartmentalized into a single course or slapped on as a series of skills. I believe writing is the tool of thinking. The best way to learn to think is to read a lot of good writing and write a lot about what you have read. Writing and the communication of ideas are central to all disciplines whether one is in school or the workplace. One of the most important skills in the digital age is writing, in fact, one of the oldest. On the other hand critical thinking is the process of actively analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information gathered from a variety of sources, using a framework designed to lend structure and clarity to the thinking process, then, nothing is more relevant as an approach for teaching writing free composition than what is worldly renowned as Critical Thinking. Critical writing, at least does not allow word recognition to be difficult, and if it does, students will use too much of their processing capacity to write individual words, which interferes with their ability to comprehend what they have written. Students need to see the teacher modelling the practices for writing. Then they need to be instructed in guided practice, in which the teacher helps, but eventually turns over the modelling to the students, individually and in learning partnerships. This is essential for students to comprehend the topic. They must practice writing skills, using different sources that they like and are of the appropriate level for them. Anyhow, the topic of teaching students to think while writing "critical writing" should be central to any discussion of thinking skills, in part because the writing of any topic plays such a prominent role in the content fields.

1.1 Statement of the Problem:

Many learners and teachers alike have nagged that the format of problems in the classroom, particularly in scientific subjects, bears little resemblance to the way problems look in real life. What is the problem? Where does it lie? How does it happen? Why does it permanently repeat?

The absence of teaching writing free composition critically is one of the obstacles that emerge beyond the answers. In fact, one of the most important practical thinking skills one can acquire from critical writing is to know how to identify and solve a problem. From the time of Greek philosophers to contemporary era, concerns about the need for an educated citizenry and quality workforce, the ability to think critically and to reason well have been regarded as an important and necessary outcome of education. Learning to think is the central purpose of education, because Critical Thinking calls for persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends. It requires an ability to recognize problems, to find ways to tackle those problems, to gather relevant information, to recognize unstated assumptions and values, to comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discrimination, to interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments, to reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience, and to render accurate judgements. Educators are not alone in recognizing the importance of critical thinking. The demands of employment in a global economy, the survival of a democratic way of life and personal decision making in a complex and rapidly changing society, require people who can reason well and make good judgements. As our country is moving towards a technology-based economy facing worldwide competition, employers demand workers that can think flexibly and analytically integrate information from a variety of sources and perspectives, and make profitable decisions. Sudan has a pluralistic society needs citizens who can open-mindedly evaluate the relevance of different perspective on complex problems. For students, workers, and citizens, critical thinking is an essential tool for performing successfully in a complex and rapidly changing world. Teaching critical thinking for both native speakers and foreign learners, manipulate such obstacles by enabling one to examine the factors impinging on a situation, forecast the outcomes of possible courses of action, evaluate those outcomes and weigh them relative to one another and try to choose so as to maximize positive outcomes and minimize negative ones. Furthermore, the beliefs people hold, and consequently the inferences they later make and attitudes they later assume, depend in part on their reasoning about the grounds for those beliefs. Despite widespread expressions of concern about developing critical thinkers, studies have shown that most schools are neither challenging students to think critically about academic subject, nor helping them develop the reasoning abilities needed to deal successfully with complexities of modern life. This because effective instruction for using critical thinking in teaching is not yet occurring on a broad scale although critical thinking is widely lauded as one of the most vital educational goals today.

1.2 Objectives of the Study:

1 - To assess empirically the effectiveness of using critical thinking in teaching writing free composition on students abilities to write critically about every topic issues and on the students dispositions toward critical thinking in general.

2 - To develop abilities needed to write critically to find out about life needs in general, e.g. interpreting and integrating information from different sources and constructing and arguing a case to explain evidence as accepted.

3 - To use those same abilities for everyday written tasks and be able to discuss why writing is so important.

4 -To have an understanding of and be able to use critically the main criteria of good essay writing.

5 -To be aware of the basic technical and stylistic considerations involved in writing. Of all aspects of studying, writing is probably the most challenging. That is because when we write down an account of our ideas for other people to read we have to explain ourselves particularly carefully. We cannot make the mental leaps we do when we are in conversation with others or thinking about something for ourselves.

6 - To make our meaning clear, using only words on a page, we have to work out exactly what we think about the subject. We come to understand it for ourselves in the process of explaining it to others. Therefore, writing makes us really grapple with what we are studying. In other words, it forces us into a very deep and powerful kind of learning. That is what makes it so demanding. When we write we are really putting ideas to use. In writing we have done previously, we may have 'taken in' ideas from books, articles, TV and so on. However, it is only when we can use these ideas to say something for ourselves that we have really 'learned' them. Ideas only become a properly functioning part of our thought-processes when we can call on them as we communicate with other people. It is very valuable to debate issues with other students in discussion groups. Nevertheless, an even more exacting way of using ideas in argument is to do it in writing. A key part of using ideas effectively is to be able to write clearly and persuasively. In our society, this is a very valuable skill. It puts us on a much better footing with other people if we can present our point of view forcefully in writing. Perhaps we started out on our studies with the idea only of learning more about art, music, or history, but we may discover that one of the most valuable things we gain is the ability to write much more effectively. Whether we start with a rather weak writing style or a fairly well developed one, there is always plenty of progress to be made. So writing tends to be both the most demanding and the most rewarding part of any course of study. In addition, because it contributes so much to what we learn, we have to put a lot of our time and energy into it.

7- To distinguish the significant difference between the groups of students who receive critical writing in teaching writing free topics, and those who do not.

8- To reinforce the relationship between the learners and the language by motivating them to do their best to learn it in responding to what the prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) said about learning foreign languages.

1.3 The Significance of the Study

1- The researcher is going to shed some lights on the problems that encounter the students and teachers while writing free composition.

2- Teaching writing free composition throughout critical thinking will provide distinct advantages over more traditional approaches and techniques.

3- This study is for the benefit of both students who suffer from still being only passive receptors in writing free composition and the teachers who are in need to be reminded to explore this way based on the recommendations and findings regarded to the syllabus designers.

1.4 Questions of the Study:

Based on the statement of the problem, this study sought to answer the following questions.

1. Will a group of students who receives explicit teaching in analyzing and interpreting problems according to critical thinking model perform better on a test that requires them to analyze and synthesize a set of primary sources than a group of similar students not receiving such specifications?

2. To what extent will a group of students who receives training and using of critical writing model performs better on a task requiring evaluation of the topic theme than a group of similar students not receiving instruction in critical writing?

3. Will a group of students who receives training in critical writing differ in their attitudes and dispositions towards critical thinking from a group of similar students not receiving explicit instruction in critical writing?

4. Will there be a statistically significant difference in student performance by method of instruction according to age?

5. Will there be a statistically significant difference in student performance by method of instruction according to gender?

6. To what extent is the concept of critical thinking illuminated by those within intellectual history concerned with improving the general quality of the students' thoughts?

7. How can critical thinking be adopted to promote learners language?

1.5 The Study Hypotheses: (modified by Dr. Madani)

There will be a significant difference between the quality of the writing of the students who use critical thinking skills in the process of writing (experimental group) and the quality of the writing of the students who do not use critical thinking skills (control group.) This will be achieved by testing the following research hypotheses:

Teachers think that it is likely that the use of critical thinking skills will stimulate students and improve their thinking and writing (CWC) more than the use of other traditional methods of teaching writing(Non - CWC).

Teachers enjoy the use of critical thinking skills in writing.

Teachers think that the use of critical thinking creates a more relaxing and cooperative atmosphere in the classroom.

Teachers will feel confident, competent and perform well in the classroom as a result of being trained in teaching critical thinking skills.

1.6 The Scope of the Study:

Using critical thinking in teaching writing free composition to Sudanese secondary schools students is the study which will be conducted and done in (Al-Qabbas Diplomatic Secondary School for boys) and (Al-Qabbas Diplomatic Secondary School for girls) by the researcher. The researcher will base the study on his previous experiments and observations in teaching Writing Free Composition in secondary schools in Sudan and Saudi Arabia during the years (1995 - 2009). This study is devoted to the description of the methodology used to investigate the use of Critical Thinking in Teaching Writing Free Composition. The researcher conducted limited experiments during the mentioned above years. Questionnaire, pre-test and post-test are used for data elicitation and analysis. The experimenter himself manipulates the tool narrowly. Students were tested after they have been taught randomly by two different methods (conventional group and experimental group) where Teaching Writing Free Composition critically is used within a narrow scope.

1.7 Terminology of the Study:

CA: Communicative Approach

CT: Critical Thinking

CWC: Critical Writing Classes

CWFC: Critical Writing Free Composition.

ELT: English Language Teaching.

Non-CWC: Non- Critical Writing Classes

TL: Transfer of Language