Flipping silence to coffeehouse chat: Developing Chinese students’ critical thinking?

Jean Chiu


This paper examines how a flipping approach impacted 45 Chinese EFL learners' critical thinking skills and dispositions in a third-year university advanced reading class in Taiwan. The aim was to push learners away from the silence comfort zone to a Western social constructivist coffeehouse chat style by collaborating with a UK facilitator online. There were three phases in flipping, each with different instructional interventions to provide affective support to first build teacher-student one-on-one relationships, prepare confidence in coffeehouse chat, and finally to support emotionally hurt learners who were challenged and who challenged out of a culturally appropriate zone. Data were collected using the California Critical Thinking Skill Inventory(Facione, 2011) pretest-posttest; questionnaires; and focus groups. The results demonstrated significant critical thinking skills and dispositions as well as mixed perceptions of the Chinese participants. Future recommendations and curriculum implications for pedagogical and affective support are provided.


Flipping approach; Chinese students' silence; social constructivist coffeehouse chat; critical thinking skills; critical thinking disposition; Taiwan

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