Developing critical thinking in academic writing through a metaphor elicitation technique

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While there appears to be a broad consensus about the value of metaphor as an effective means of helping participants think critically about their educational practices, little attention has been paid to its potential for cultivating critical thinking skills relating to academic literacy, and particularly to writing in a second or foreign language (L2) context. The present study introduced an innovative metaphor-oriented activity, where each of three data collection cycles during an academic year involved group discussions and sharing of personal academic writing experiences by a small group of ESL graduate (MA) students, based around a ‘think-of-one or more metaphors’ task, requiring participants to think critically concerning their personal writing beliefs and related writing practices. The study investigated the effect of engaging participants in the set of metaphor-based activities on the development of their critical thinking skills, and discusses how and in what ways the sort of activities might have helped improve their academic writing.


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