DEVELOPING STUDENTS’ THINKING SKILLS through the non-language arts elective modules

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through the non-language arts elective modules



How do you promote thinking skills in your classes?



To understand the concept of higher order thinking skills and how to promote these in the non-language arts classroom.

To consider ways of approaching the teaching of generic skills in an integrated way.

To take part in and reflect on lesson demonstrations that promote an integrative use of generic skills.


Part 1 Introduction to the Module



Workshop Schedule


Practical Demonstration 1 – Plastic Ocean

Break – 15 minutes

Practical Demonstration 2 – Sport in Hong Kong

Designing Tasks to Promote Holistic Thinking



Non-Language Arts

Learning English through Sports Communication Learning English through Debating

Learning English through Social Issues

Learning English through Workplace Communication

Provide learners with opportunities to apply subject knowledge and skills (i.e. the four skills, grammar, communicative functions, vocabulary and text types) through following a particular approach or exploring a particular topic which may or may not be covered in the Compulsory Part.

Enhance the further development of generic skills such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration.



Non-Language Arts - Integrating Elective Modules


Explore a social issue then debate the issue

Sport as a social issue – writing an article/doing a survey/surveyreport

Issues in the workplace – debate the issue

Researching an organisation focused on a specific issue (e.g. NGOs , charities)



Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is drawing out meaning from available data or statements, examining and questioning their accuracy and credibility, in order to establish one’s views and evaluate the arguments put forward by oneself and others.


Creativity is manifested in new ideas, acts, or products. It emerges spontaneously or through deliberate processes of divergent and convergent thinking. It involves the integration of general or domain-specific knowledge for a meaningful purpose.

Creativity brings in changes or transformations.

Problem Solving Skills

Problem solving involves using various skills to resolve a difficulty. The process

includes investigating the problem, synthesizing information and generating ideas to determine the best course of action. Learners need to adjust and evaluate strategies, as well as consolidate experience for knowledge construction.



When planning the whole-school curriculum and KLA curricula, schools are advised to provide meaningful contexts for the development of these skills in a holistic manner whereby the grouping/cluster of skills would be

suitably and effectively applied and developed through classroom activities and learning experiences.

Ongoing Renewal of the School Curriculum – Focusing, Deepening and Sustaining Updating the English Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum (Primary 1 to Secondary 6)




Remembering Understanding






Higher order thinking skills and lower order thinking skills.

1.When did the characters meet? LOT (remembering)

2.Where did the characters decide to go? LOT (remembering)

3.Can you remember three things they did there? LOT (remembering) 4.Why do you think the characters went to this place? HOT (analysing) 5.What do you think will happen next? LOT (understanding)

6.What are the strengths and weaknesses of the story? HOT (evaluating) 7.Can you think of a better ending? What and Why? HOT (creating)


Lesson Demonstrations

PD1 – Environmental Issues (Plastic Ocean) A blend of Social Issues and Debating NLAs

PD2 – Sport in Hong Kong

A blend of Sports Communication and Social Issues NLAs


Plastic Ocean


To understand the issue of plastic waste.

To explore the issue through research and propose some ideas/solutions.

To express personal opinions.

To take part in a mini debate around the issue.


Plastic Ocean


Critical-thinking skills (enquiry phase)

Asking questions, exploring issues, identifying main ideas and clarifying information.


Brainstorming, generating ideas and fine tuning decisions.

Critical-thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Comparing options and solutions, considering from multiple perspectives, developing a plan of action, evaluating and reflecting on the completed task.


Plastic Ocean

Which products made of plastic do you use?

How do you dispose of the plastic?

What happens to the plastic you throw away? Do you know?


Plastic Ocean

Key Vocabulary


Plastic Ocean

First Viewing – Comprehension Task

What is the significance of these numbers?

8 million



Plastic Ocean

Second Viewing – Language

How are opinions stated in the video?

We have to make our life better for our kids' children.

We need a wave of change.


Plastic Ocean

Research Phase – Critical Thinking Headlines

Hong Kong searches for a culprit as garbage piles high on beaches What a mess: Hong Kong to discuss rubbish deluge with

Guangdong authorities

Trash from China swamps Hong Kong beaches!

Hong Kong school children urge McDonalds to stop serving drinks in plastic bags


Plastic Ocean

Research Phase – Critical Thinking

Recent video from Sky news (January 31st 2017):


Plastic Ocean

What’s your opinion?

Scan the QR code and type your opinion on the padlet wall.

We need to…. Why don’t we…..

We have to…. We should….

We ought to…. We could…..


Plastic Ocean

Rank the solutions.

Which do you think will be most effective?

Collect the plastic and make artworks out of it.

Urge companies to use recycled plastic e.g. Watsons water.

Coordinated government action between Hong Kong and China.

Set up a special ‘Trash Police’ that can fine on the spot.

Start a campaign to limit single use plastic items.


Plastic Ocean

Different perspectives

How might the following react if the solutions are implemented/not implemented?

The Police


Restaurant owners

The Plastics Industry

The Government


Plastic Ocean

Presenting your ideas

What are the best actions to take?

Solution Reason Impact


Plastic Ocean

Presenting your ideas

You may want to give your students the option to present their ideas using apps/media.

Let’s watch this example using sonicpics.


Plastic Ocean


This house believes that most trash on beaches is a result of irresponsible members of the public and they should clean it up.

For or Against Let’s debate!


Plastic Ocean

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: student evaluation and reflection

Task accomplishment – quality of outcomes.

Invite and evaluate feedback from peers.

Process the feedback to improve the solutions presented.


Plastic Ocean

Reflection Questions

1. Which language skills did the lesson develop?

2. How did this lesson develop holistic thinking skills?

3. What other impacts on learning does the lesson have?


Plastic Ocean

Reflection Questions – Feedback

1.Learners are engaged in purposeful tasks requiring their integrative use of different language skills (e.g. listening, reading, speaking, and writing).

2. Learners apply generic skills in an integrative manner and develop holistic

thinking skills through: exploring a complex social issue; synthesising ideas from different sources of information; brainstorming possible solutions, considering new possibilities and unconventional ideas; analysing and comparing the cost and

benefit of different solutions anticipating stakeholders’ responses; and fine-tuning the suggested solutions.

3. Learners make effective use of IT skills to locate, evaluate, extract, organise and present information.



15 minutes


Sport in Hong Kong


• To develop a better understanding of the place of sport in the community.

• To understand the process of conducting a survey.

• To analyse, organize and present the survey results in a report/article.


Sport in Hong Kong


Critical-thinking skills (enquiry phase)

Asking questions, exploring issues, identifying main ideas and clarifying information, considering from multiple perspectives.


Brainstorming, generating ideas and fine tuning decisions.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Developing a plan of action, evaluating data and reflecting on the completed task.


Sport in Hong Kong


How important is sport:

In your school?

In your community?

In your city?


Sport in Hong Kong

In the 2016 Rio Olympics Team GB won 67 medals.

This sparked a lot of comment here in Hong Kong:

‘Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying wants to nurture young potential Olympians in schools modeled after the winning Team Great Britain……….

Leung said Hong Kong can learn from the UK, which surpassed China and was ranked second in the gold medal tally with 27, in terms of how the government can cooperate with schools to promote sports.’ Flora Chung Aug 24, 2016


Sport in Hong Kong

Different perspectives

‘…however, while promotion at schools has been a factor, it would be misleading to overplay this factor. The major component was funding.

……is he prepared to fork out HK$51 million for each Olympic medal - which is Britain's estimated cost for these Games?

Sports development in Britain is funded by the national lottery, so that it's

unaffected by budgetary changes. Today, 75 percent of Britain's Olympic funding is paid through the lottery. As it prepared for Rio, related funding had soared to

HK$3.6 billion.’ Editorial Aug 25, 2016


Sport in Hong Kong

Different perspectives

‘Hong Kong has to decide if it is serious about sport and follow a successful model like Great Britain’s or continue in a fragmented and half-hearted way, leading

sports administrator Mark Sutcliffe says.’ mark-sutcliffe-he

Staff Reporter Sunday, 28 August, 2016


Sport in Hong Kong


Establish a Governmental Agency or NGO with specific responsibility for all sport across Hong Kong (like UK Sport).

Prepare a Hong Kong Sports Strategy defining the priorities, objectives and targets. The plan should cover facilities, participation, events,

structures, systems and resources.

Set up specialist sports schools e.g. the Singapore Sports School that helped deliver its first gold medal in swimming in Rio.


Sport in Hong Kong

Research question

How can Hong Kong improve its’ sporting

performance at the Olympic Games?


Sport in Hong Kong

The Survey

Please try the survey created with ‘survey monkey’


Sport in Hong Kong

Survey Questions – Analysis

Are the questions:

Closed questions with finite responses to generate statistical analysis?

Open ended questions which allow the researcher to get a more in depth understanding?


Sport in Hong Kong

Writing survey questions – Grouping Students

Whole class brainstorm on research topic.

Put the students into small groups to brainstorm and write questions - each group writes one question.

Swap the questions and refine in their groups.

Collect all the questions and copy for all the groups.

The groups order and design the questionnaire.


Sport in Hong Kong

Presentation of Data

The survey monkey app/website allows you to present your data in charts straight from the website which you can export and add to your presentation and report.


Sport in Hong Kong

Survey Report Structure

o Introduction.

o Methodology.

o Survey Results.

o Analysis of Survey results.

o Conclusion and recommendations.


Sport in Hong Kong

Language Focus: Analysing and Presenting Results

Tenses used, e.g. the past tense to report survey process and the

present tense to explain findings and conclusions. Passive voice – The survey was conducted in order to…..

Linking words:

- to contrast – whereas, on the other hand, however;

- to add ideas – additionally;

- to show consequences – as a result, consequently, therefore;

- to sum up – in conclusion, finally.

Numerical expressions e.g. percentages to describe data


Sport in Hong Kong

Reflection Questions

1.What stages do students need to go through to produce a survey?

2.What generic skills were developed and how?

3.How would you adapt the procedures to fit your students?


Sport in Hong Kong

Reflection Questions - feedback


Describe the background for the need for research

Develop a research question

Write the survey questions

Trial and edit

Design and administer the survey




A variety of generic skills can be developed in an integrative manner through research;

the formulation of a research question; the writing of survey questions; the analysis of data and the subsequent report and recommendations.


Designing tasks to promote holistic thinking


• To introduce a lesson framework for the planning and development of lessons promoting holistic thinking.

• To review collaboration in the classroom and consider some important factors.


Designing tasks to promote holistic thinking

Key Actions


Generating new ideas and fine tuning decisions.

Critical-thinking skills

Asking questions, rating and selecting, comparing options.

Problem-solving skills

Finding solutions and developing a plan of action.


Designing tasks to promote holistic thinking

Basic Framework

Consider the example lesson plan ‘Hunger’.

1. Order the activities.

2. Match the activities to the generic skills involved.


Designing tasks to promote holistic thinking

How would you approach the lesson(s)?

Let’s look at the lesson(s) plan.

1. Think about the questions you would ask the students. What would you ask?

2. How would you need to scaffold certain parts of the lesson(s)?

3. What materials would you need to make?

4. What e-resources would you use? How would you use these?

5. How much time would you give the students to complete each section/lesson?


Designing tasks to promote holistic thinking

Feedback – Share your ideas.


Designing tasks to promote holistic thinking

Feedback – provide opportunities to:

Express views

Analyse data

Compare different sources

Identify problems

Explore alternatives

Explain solutions


Collaboration in the classroom

Collaboration in the classroom – some important factors.

All members of the group must give input into decision making.

Group members are responsible for the thinking, teaching, and monitoring of all members in the group.

Each member makes an equal contribution to the whole work.

Group members must identify and build on their individual strengths so that everyone makes a significant contribution to the task – everyone has a role.

A variety of communication channels, e.g. Group discussion, chat on apps.



Plastic Ocean News Articles – Plastic waste serving-drinks-plastic-bags drug-phials-medical-waste

News Articles – Hong Kong Sport round-circles-hong-kong-chases soccer-chief-mark-sutcliffe-he


Any questions?


Feedback Forms




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