Development of Critical Thinking Skills through Writing Tasks: Challenges Facing Maritime English Students at Aqaba College, AlBalqa Applied University, Jordan

Ali Odeh Hammoud Alidmat, Mohamed Ayed Ayassrah


Teaching English for Special Purposes (ESP) in a context where English is taught as a Foreign Language (EFL) is no easy task. There is in fact extensive research reporting on challenges facing both teacher and student in the Foreign Language classroom where language skills must be learnt outside their usual context. Even more challenging is teaching or learning a conceptual skill like critical thinking through writing in an EFL context. The objective of this paper is to identify and describe writing tasks contained in the ESP programme with a view to examine the correspondence between the tasks and the critical thinking skills. To this end, the study examines self-reported perceptions, experiences and opinions by Maritime English students of Aqaba College in Jordan who take an ESP course and who are supposed to develop their critical thinking skills through carefully selected writing tasks in English. The study applies the qualitative procedure of in-depth interview and explores a sample of 10 finalist undergraduate informants on issues related to their writing tasks in English. Findings of the study revealed, among other things, that there is low correspondence between writing tasks contained in the ESP programme and critical thinking skills, and that writing tasks featured in the programme pursue more mechanical writing than thinking.

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International Journal of Higher Education
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