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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Critical thinking in the content and language integrated classroom : perceptions of secondary mathematics teachers in overseas Canadian curriculum contexts Li, Tian


This qualitative study explores the impacts of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) on students’ mathematical critical thinking development in Canadian offshore secondary schools. Critical thinking is a necessary ability in modern society. Until now, the relationship between CLIL and mathematical critical thinking has not been fully examined, particularly in Canadian offshore schools. The objective of this study was to examine the impacts of CLIL in secondary mathematics in Canadian offshore schools for students from non-native English speaking backgrounds. The overarching research question for this study was: How do mathematics teachers working in schools using a hybrid Canadian and Chinese curriculum in China perceive the impacts of CLIL on the development of mathematical critical thinking in secondary students? Qualitative methods contributed to a study design that combined an email questionnaire and follow-up interviews to triangulate data for analysis. A constructivist theoretical framework supported the analysis of the data. Data indicated that CLIL could affect students’ mathematical critical thinking development positively and negatively, as well as directly and indirectly. Three prominent themes, with a number of subthemes, were found throughout the data, including critical thinking, CLIL in mathematics classrooms, and critical thinking and CLIL. Participants referred to external and internal factors that could influence critical thinking development in CLIL and their beliefs related to CLIL. Those beliefs had major effects on pedagogical choices and, as a result, could influence the development of critical thinking skills. The results of this study can assist CLIL instructors in seeing what and how various factors affect students’ critical thinking, thus creating better conditions for students to develop mathematical critical thinking. The findings point to future research related to gathering more perspectives and experiences of secondary mathematics teachers at other Canadian offshore schools.

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