The Impact of Practicing van Dijk’s Model of Critical Discourse Analysis on the Improvement of Iranian EFL Undergraduates’ Critical Thinking across Different Proficiency Levels

Document Type: Original Article


1 PhD candidate of TEFL,, Department of English Language, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of English Language, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

3 Faculty of foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Despite the saliency of raising critical thinking not only in ELT but also in other aspects of life, there is still lack of studies in this regard that need to be filled. Previous studies dealt with Faiclough’s model not that of van Dijk, and besides, they weren’t concerned about CDA effects on different proficiency levels. The present study, however, examined the impact of critical discourse analysis (CDA) on EFL undergraduates’ critical thinking (CT) ability across different proficiency levels. To this end, 96 EFL undergraduates in three different proficiency levels of high, mid and low participated in this study to all of whom the “Watson and Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal” (WGCTA) was administered. They received treatment of van Dijk’s model practice over a period of an hour a week and for four weeks, once the model proved to be appropriate through expert judge. The results indicated that CDA has a positive influence on learners’ CT. Besides, the scores for the high group were significantly higher than that of low group, and the high group performed better than the mid-level group, but the difference was not significant for the mid and low proficiency level groups. The findings demonstrated that language proficiency has a positive mediating role in the extent to which a CDA model awareness can improve learners’ critical thinking ability.