The Philosophical, Political, and the Practical Dimensions of English for Academic Purposes Education: A Focus on Critical Thinking
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AbstractThis paper focuses on the philosophical, political, and the practical dimensions of implementing an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) curriculum in the university. First, the paper discusses issues surrounding its key concept, critical thinking from 1970s to the present. This review draws upon research conducted within and outside the field of Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) that addresses the definability of critical thinking, the arguments raised by researchers about the compatibility of critical thinking to “Asian” cultures, and the pedagogy of teaching critical thinking including its social and political implications. Then, the paper outlines how some institutions have incorporated the teaching of critical thinking into curriculum goals. Finally, to offer a perspective on the concerns often voiced by teachers about the teachability of critical thinking in the context of higher education in Japan, the paper reviews relevant studies conducted in Japan. The summation of the findings of these studies together with points for consideration including a critique of available commercial materials to teach EAP that follow should be relevant for university educators interested in curriculum development or program review.