American Journal of Education and Learning

Volume 3, Number 2 (2018) pp 72-84 doi 10.20448/804. | Research Articles


An Investigation of Critical Thinking Manifested in the Questions of EFL Textbooks for Tertiary-Level English Majors of China

Yidi Wu 1 

Zhengwei Pei 1 ,

1 College of Foreign Studies, Nanjing Agricultural University, P. R. China


This study aimed at investigating to what extent critical thinking (CT) is manifested in the questions of three English textbooks commonly used in Intensive Reading course for undergraduate English majors of China. For this purpose, the after-text reading comprehension questions in English Through Culture, Contemporary College English and Think English were coded and classified based on Bloom et al. (1956). Two major findings have emerged. First, as far as the simple questions are concerned, the lower-order questions are more prevalent in the EFL textbooks, but a gradual increase in compilers’ awareness of incorporating CT cultivation into textbooks is observed over time, with higher-order questions outnumbering their counterparts in Think English. As regards the composite questions, Think English has the highest percentages of upward questions, wavy questions and upward waveform questions, three types of composite questions most beneficial to CT cultivation. Therefore, the recently published Think English satisfactorily fulfills the educational objective of fostering English majors’ CT skills in terms of its questioning design. The study concludes by discussing its implications and suggestions for future avenues of research.


Critical thinking skills Bloom’s taxonomy Reading comprehension questions English majors Chinese universities.


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