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Making L2 learners' reasoning skills visible: The potential of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Environments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mei Lin, Dr Ahmed KharrufaORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper explores the use of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Environments (CSCLE) as multimodal spaces for promoting critical thinking for English as Second Language Learning (L2) education from multiple perspectives (Technology, Thinking Skills and Interaction). The exploration focuses on the use of a multitouch tabletop, and an accompanying application called Digital Mysteries, as affordances in CSCLE's for making reasoning skill-based thinking visible for L2 learning in Higher Education.Despite the worldwide promotion of teaching thinking in L2 education, it is not always easy for teachers to identify the types of thinking skills being targeted in L2 pedagogical tasks. To the authors' knowledge, little empirical interactional evidence is available to demonstrate critical thinking in L2 learner talk during group work. This paper examines interactions among three groups of Chinese English Language learners at a higher education institution in a CSCLE. Video data were collected of students' thinking-in-action whilst engaging in multimodal interactions in the environment. Results show that new technologies can provide innovative and empirically driven ways in which L2 learners' thinking is externalised and how critical reasoning can be tracked, promoted, evaluated and self regulated. The findings suggest that collaborations in a CSCLE can support the completion of tasks embedding high levels of cognitive complexity by L2 learners with effective use of limited cognitive resources. This leads to a number of recommendations about integrating the teaching of critical thinking skills into the L2 classroom using CSCLE technologies. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lin M, Preston A, Kharrufa A, Kong ZR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Thinking Skills and Creativity

Year: 2016

Volume: 22

Pages: 303-322

Print publication date: 01/12/2016

Online publication date: 02/07/2016

Acceptance date: 21/06/2016

Date deposited: 20/03/2017

ISSN (print): 1871-1871

ISSN (electronic): 1878-0423

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.tsc.2016.06.004


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