It means not taking what you hear or read at face value, but using your critical faculties to weigh up the evidence, and considering the implications and conclusions of what the writer is saying. On the first, you are on a country walk and you come across a notice which tells you not to attempt to climb a fence because of risk of electrocution.
Would you pause to consider before obeying this instruction?
This is an activity I tried with my students a day before Christmas holidays.
I asked them to read the instructions and use their devices to plan the holiday.
On the other hand, suppose you were to receive a letter from a local farmer announcing that he proposed to put up an electric fence to protect a certain field.
In this case, would you not be more likely to think about his reasons for doing so and what the implications would be for you and your family?
This is because academic discourse is based according to key principles which are described as follows by Northedge (2005): Critical and analytical thinking should be applied at all points in academic study - to selecting information, reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Of these, learning to read and evaluate information critically is perhaps the most important skill, which if acquired can then be applied to other areas.
For example one of them presented the advertisement of a convertible with the following slogan:" Men talk about women, sports and cars. It was a good opportunity to talk about stereotypes even though their lexical resources are limited. The other that they should search for any Brad Pitt film to be released soon about WW2.
A pupil asked me if they could take a snapshot of the photo with their devices but I refused and asked them to use their mind and key words in their search.