Indonesian EFL Learners’ Critical Thinking in Reading: Bridging the Gap between Declarative, Procedural and Conditional Knowledge

Concilianus Laos Mbato(1*)

(1) English Education Study Program/Master's Program in English Education, Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta
(*) Corresponding Author


Critical thinking is explicitly mentioned in many school and university curricula around the world including in the Indonesian education curriculum but it is rarely promoted inside the classrooms. Lack of agreement on its definition and clarity of instruction in the curriculum, the unfavourable culture and the teacher-centered teaching arguably prevent critical thinking to grow. Therefore, more research needs to be undertaken on students’ understanding of and engagement in critical thinking in reading. To fll the gap, this study was conducted, which aimed to investigate Indonesian learners’ critical thinking in reading. One research question was postulated, i.e., How critical are Indonesian EFL learners’ thinking in reading? To answer the question, a mixed method approach was undertaken. The participants of this study were 55 semesters four students enrolled in two classes of Critical Reading and Writing II (CRW2) of the English Education Study Program, Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta in the even semester of 2014. The instruments employed were a Likert-scale questionnaire and students’ reflections. Results from both quantitative and qualitative data analyses suggest that most of the students had sufficient declarative knowledge of critical thinking in reading. However, their procedural and conditional knowledge about critical thinking in reading were insufficient. Overall, students indicated some level of critical thinking in reading, but to become critical, they need to be in a learning environment where their critical thinking in reading could be regularly and intensively nurtured. The findings of the research are expected to inform English teachers, lecturers and researchers in Indonesia and other parts of the world about the importance of designing and carrying out the teaching-learning processes that can enhance learners’ declarative, procedural and conditional knowledge about critical thinking in reading.


critical thinking; reading; metacognitive strategies; declarative; procedural; conditional

Full Text:



Bailin, S., Roland, C., Coombs, J.R. & Daniels, L.B. (1999). Conceptualising critical thinking. Curriculum Studies. 31(3), 285-302.

Brown, A. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation, and other more mysterious mechanisms. In F. E. Weinert & R. H. Kluwe (Eds.). Metacognition, motivation, and understanding, (pp. 65-116). Hinsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Chamot, A. U., & O'Malley, J. (1994). The CALLA handbook: Implementing cognitive academic language learning approach. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Chamot, A. U., Barnhardt, S., El-Dinary, P., & Robbins, J. (1999). The learning strategies handbook. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley Longman.

Cottrell, S. (2005). Critical thinking skills. Developing effective analysis and argument (2nd ed). Hamsphire, NY: Palgrave McMillan.

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Downing, D., Kwong, T., Chan, S.W., Lam, T.F., Downing, W.K. (2009). Problem-based learning and the development of metacognition. Higher Education, 57(5), 609-621. DOI:

Fisher, R. (2008). Teaching thinking: Philosophical enquiry in the classroom (3rd ed.). London: Continuum.

Fisher, D. & Frey. N. (2015). Contingency teaching during close reading. The Reading Teacher, 68(4).

Griffith, P. L., & Ruan, J. (2005). What is metacognition and what should be its role in literacy instruction? In S. E. Israel, C. C. Block, K. L. Bauserman & K. K. Welsch (Eds.), Metacognition in literacy learning: Theory, assessment, instruction and professional development (pp. 3-18). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Hove, G. (2011). Developing critical thinking skills in the high school English classroom. A Research Paper. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Ilyas, H.P. (2016). Infusing critical thinking into English course books. Journal of ELT Research, 1(1), 113-134

Indah, R.N. & Kusuma, A.W. (2016). Factors affecting the development of critical thinking of Indonesian learners of English language. Journal Of Humanities And Social Science, 21(6), 86-94.

Indah, R.N. (2017). Critical thinking, writing performance and topic familiarity of Indonesian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 8(2), 229-236. DOI:

Kuhn, D. (1999). A developmental model of critical thinking. Educational Researcher, 28(2), 16-25 and 46.

Lamb, M. (2004). 'It depends on the students themselves': Independent language learning at an Indonesian state school. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 17(3), 229-245.

Marcellino, M. (2008). English language teaching in Indonesia: A continuous challenge in education and cultural diversity. TEFLIN Journal, 19(1), 57-69.

Mbato, C.L. (2013). Facilitating EFL learners' self-regulation in reading: Implementing a metacognitive approach in a higher education context. Dissertation: Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia.

Neuman, W. L. (2006). Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Johnson, R. B., & Collins, K. M. T. (2009). Call for mixed analysis: A philosophical framework for combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 2(2), 114-139.

Park, Y. (2011). Using news articles to build a critical literacy classroom in an EFL setting. TESOL Journal, 2(1), 24-51.

Paul, R. (1990). Critical thinking. Rohnert Park, CA: Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique, Sonoma State University.

Paul, R. (2005), The state of critical thinking today. New Directions for Community Colleges, 27-38. DOI:10.1002/cc.193.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2008). The miniature guide to critical thinking: Concepts and tools. Retrieved on May 18, 2018 from

Rachmajanti, S. (2017). Building cultural awareness and critical thinking skills through project-based task: a workshop for Indonesian context. The 4th International Conference on Language, Society and Culture in Asian Contexts, KnE Social Sciences, 498–504. DOI: 10.18502/kss.v1i3.772.

Stapleton, P. (2011). A survey of attitudes towards critical thinking among Hong Kong secondary school teachers: Implications for policy change. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 6(1), 14-23. DOI:10.1016/j.tsc.2010.11.002.

Wallace, C. (2003). Critical reading in language education. London: Palgrave McMillan.

Wallace, M., & Poulson, L. (2005). Critical reading for self-critical writing. In A. Goodwyn & A. Stables (Eds.), Learning to read critically in language and literacy (pp. 3-38). Newcastle: Sage Publications.

Walters, K.S. (1990). Critical thinking, rationality, and the vulcanisation of students. Journal of Higher Education, 61(4), 448-467.

Weinstein, C. E., Husman, J., & Dierking, D. R. (2000). Self-regulation interventions with a focus on learning strategies. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp.
San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Yang, Y. C., Gamble, J. Hung, Y.W., & Lin, T.Y. (2013). An online adaptive learning environment for critical-thinking-infused English literacy instruction. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(4), 727-747. DOI:10.1111/bjet.12080


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 6193 | views : 4218


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Humaniora

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

free web stats Web Stats

ISSN 2302-9269 (online); ISSN 0852-0801 (print)
Copyright © 2022 Humaniora, Office of Journal & Publishing, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada