Transactional reading in EFL learning: a path to promoting critical thinking through urban legends

La lectura transaccional en el aprendizaje del inglés: una ruta para promover el pensamiento crítico mediante las leyendas urbanas

  • Mariela Leal Hernández Colegio El Cortijo-Vianey IEDBogotá
  • Luis Fernando Gómez Rodríguez Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Colombia
Keywords: critical thinking skills, critical learners, EFL learning, urban legends, transactional approach. (en_US)
Keywords: habilidades de pensamiento crítico, aprendizaje del inglés, estudiantes críticos, leyendas urbanas, enfoque de lectura transaccional (es_ES)

Abstract (en_US)

This article reports an action-research study3 that attempted to develop EFL4 eleventh graders’ critical thinking through the transactional reading approach. Since learners were used to taking grammar-oriented English classes and had negative attitudes towards reading, they were encouraged to do reading transactions with the support of urban legends. These legends inspired them to discuss social conflicts (loss of values, drug consumption, alcoholism, risky lifestyles, etc.) that related to the problems of the insecure and vulnerable neighborhood in which they lived in Bogotá. Data were collected from teachers’ observations, interviews with students, and worksheets (artifacts) in a pedagogical intervention. Through the grounded approach analysis, it was found that learners fostered critical thinking as they criticized human behaviors, generated solutions to correct questionable behaviors, and produced knowledge based on previous information in the foreign language.

Abstract (es_ES)

Se reporta un estudio de investigación acción cuyo objetivo fue desarrollar el pensamiento crítico de un grupo de estudiantes de inglés a través del enfoque de lectura transaccional. Debido a que los estudiantes estaban acostumbrados a clases de inglés con un énfasis gramatical y tenían actitudes negativas hacia la lectura, fueron incentivados a hacer transacciones de lectura con el apoyo de varias leyendas urbanas. Estas leyendas los inspiraron a discutir conflictos sociales (la pérdida de valores, el consumo de drogas, el alcoholismo, estilos de vida riesgosos, etc.) que de alguna manera se relacionaban con los problemas de la localidad insegura y vulnerable donde vivían en Bogotá. Se recogieron datos por medio de las observaciones de los profesores, las entrevistas a estudiantes y de talleres hechos en la intervención. Mediante el método de análisis fundamentado en los datos, se halló que los estudiantes construyeron pensamiento crítico al lograr criticar comportamientos humanos, generar la solución de conflictos personales y sociales y planear y producir nuevo conocimiento a partir de información previa. Otro hallazgo importante es que fueron críticos expresando sus opiniones en la lengua extranjera.


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Author Biographies

Mariela Leal Hernández, Colegio El Cortijo-Vianey IEDBogotá

Mariela Leal holds a M. A. in the Teaching of Foreign Languages and a B. A. degree in English and Spanish from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN). She is an English teacher at Colegio El Cortijo-Vianey IED in Bogotá. Her main research interests are critical thinking and reading skills development in EFL education.

Luis Fernando Gómez Rodríguez, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Colombia

Luis Fernando Gomez R. holds Ph.D. in English Studies from Illinois State University, USA, a M. A. in education from Carthage College, USA, and a B. A. degree in English and Spanish from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN). He is an associate teacher at UPN.  He has published articles in several indexed journals. His main research interests are intercultural competence, critical issues, and the teaching of literature in EFL education.


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How to Cite
Leal Hernández, M., & Gómez Rodríguez, L. F. (2015). Transactional reading in EFL learning: a path to promoting critical thinking through urban legends. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 17(2), 229-245.
Published: 2015-10-23
Research Articles