Библиографическое описание:

Кобзева Н. А. Cultivating students’ thinking skills at English Classes // Молодой ученый. — 2011. — №4. Т.2. — С. 95-97.

The article presents a practical experience of using language Board Game Scrabble for the cultivating students’ thinking skills at English Classes.
Key words: thinking skills, effective teaching technology, Board Game Scrabble.
Nowadays a very important goal of rapidly developing modern engineering education is to help students learn how to think more productively, generate and evaluate ideas. Thinking skills became important because the well taught ‘basics’ subjects in education, however, are not adequate to meet the demands of the modern labour market. Countries across the world are recognising that a broad range of competencies are needed to prepare future engineers for an unpredictable future. Certainly, thinking skills are required in engineering activities in addition to basic skills, because specialists cannot ‘store’ respective knowledge in their memories for future use.
Thus, thinking skills are essential for well-educated modern engineers. Using thinking skills across the curriculum can be an effective way to boost learning English Foreign Language. The study describes the authors’ experience of developing thinking skills activities as teaching approach.
After trying to optimize that, the author outlines the way of forming thinking skills with Board Game Scrabble within the process of English Foreign Language classes.
The goal of the Board Game Scrabble is to involve students in active producing and analyzing the language; focusing on grammatical categories; spatial relationship, thinking process, social and personal cross-cultural communication.
One most important rule of mastering something fast is to have a pleasure in it. This same rule is equally valid for English Foreign Language (EFL) Teaching and Learning. Word Game Scrabble is an effective method. According to the author’s practice within the system of higher technical education in Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) Scrabble is a very powerful intellectual game which focuses on thinking logic and analytical skills. Being recognized as innovative technology of language learning, Board Game Scrabble is successfully implemented in the process of educational environment in TPU.
In recent years the amount of information available through modern technology is massive. Moreover, this information explosion is likely to continue in the future. Students need a guide to choose the information they really use and not just passively accept it. Thinking is essential for effective functioning in the modern world. Students need to develop and apply thinking skills to their academic studies, to the complex problems that they face, and to the critical choices they will be forced to make as a result of the information explosion and other rapid technological changes.
Thinking combines the related structures and processes of perception, memory, forming ideas, language and use of symbols - the basic cognitive skills which underlie the ability to reason, learn and solve problems. “Thought and thinking are mental forms and processes, respectively ("thought" is both). Thinking allows beings to model the world and to deal with it according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires’’ [1].
Students can be taught thinking skills strategies that allow them to process information more efficaciously. They can also learn to demonstrate habits of mind or thinking behaviors in their daily activities. The need to teach thinking skills is not a recent one. In every course, as well as in the course of EFL, students should be taught to think logically, analyze and compare, question to master English as a university subject.
This means hard work for the teachers. It's much easier to teach students to memorize vocabulary and grammar and then assess them with multiple-choice tests. In a course that emphasizes thinking, objectives must include application and analysis, divergent thinking, and opportunities to organize ideas and support value judgments. Faculties and university’s programs strive for graduate individuals to be experienced and adept at l thinking.
The EFL Syllabus of English Language and Technical Communication Department of Tomsk Polytechnic University stresses that when students use thinking skills they focus on 'knowing how' to learn as well as 'knowing what' to learn.
The teaching experience of TPU Chairs – Institute of High-Technology Physics and Institute of Non-Destructive Testing and Institute of Power Engineering made it possible to conclude on the necessity of teaching tools and methods selection for the mentioned student’s thinking skills.
Moreover, English teaching may use effective technologies in forming and developing thinking as well as professional and language competences. One of these technologies is Board Game Scrabble. Scrabble is a useful supplement to a broad program that is alive with authentic, interesting and stimulating learning opportunities.
Doubtless, grammar is a key feature of language, but learning English grammar is often difficult for students. By integrating Scrabble the learners can focus both on meaning and word forms. In addition, they won’t notice how much they’re learning because playing Scrabble is so much fun. Beside grammar, Board Game Scrabble boosts a lot of skill areas, as well as thinking, social and personal skills. Spatial relationship skills develop as students plan words to fit available spaces on the board for getting the highest score. The act of manipulating tiles creates a hands-on connection between concepts and objects, reinforcing students’ abilities to concentrate on spatial relationships developing their thinking skills and creativity.
Thinking skills also expand in the exciting team atmosphere of word play, fostering unique opportunities for creative and critical thinking without fear of judgment or poor grades. Imagining, planning, evaluating options and decision-making are some of the skills essential to team success. Playing Scrabble, students involve in brainstorming exercises, think of as many ways as they can to accomplish a specific goal [2].
Board Game Scrabble develops board geometry, strategic decision making, probability and chance. But nearly every player loves the language part, too, the aesthetics of the letters and letter combinations, the quirky definitions, the sheer breadth and beauty of English. “Scrabble is not only a game of word knowledge, but also a game of mathematics and probabilities” [3].
For future engineers, solution-driven competences are very important as well as winning quality, since employers greatly value employees who can identify problems and be relied upon to come up with viable solutions. Word Board Game Scrabble plays a significant role in the development of logical thinking and abstract concepts from early childhood to adulthood.
The author investigated how playing Scrabble actually benefits students in developing their thinking skills. The students were offered to complete the following evaluation form by giving a feedback on their playing “Scrabble” experience.

I can assess skills formed by Board Game “Scrabble” in the following way:
A – excellent, B – good, C – fair, D – poor


Items of assessment

      1. Grammar and vocabulary skills

      1. Thinking skills

60% of students assessed the Grammar and vocabulary skills as excellent. While 75% of students recognized the “Scrabble” experience as a way of developing thinking skills excellent.
It is indisputable that forming and developing of thinking skills with Board Game Scrabble may be complemented and embedded in the EFL Syllabus as a significant component.
In contemporary field of modern engineering the urgent need to teach thinking skills at university continues. With Board Game Scrabble teachers may create an atmosphere where students are encouraged to learn deeply, call in question, engage in divergent thinking, look for relationships among ideas and grapple with real life issues.
Thus, it is absolutely obvious that pedagogic ideas concerning teaching future engineers thinking skills must be among top priorities in contemporary educational environment.


1. URL: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking

2. URL: http://www2.scrabble-assoc.com/subitem

3. Diane F. Halpern Claremont McKenna College, Jonathan Wai Vanderbilt University/The World of Competitive Scrabble: Novice and Expert Differences in Visuospatial and Verbal Abilities/Jornal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 2007, Vol. 13, No. 2, 79-94/

URL: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/Peabody/SMPY/Scrabble.pdf



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