Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Communication and Language in Virtual Spaces, January 2023     Pp.189-205 

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Effects of Critical Thinking Disposition on Foreign Language Proficiency in Foreign
Language Learning: Evidence from C

Ling Xu
Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia;
School of Intercultural Studies, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang, China
Corresponding Author:

Tina Abdullah
Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Qian Liu
School of Foreign Languages, Zaozhuang University, Zaozhuang, China

Nur ‘Ain Mohd Shahroom
Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia


Received:10/23/2022         Accepted:12/12/2022                 Published:01/20/2023


Critical thinking is among the variables that have recently become increasingly prominent in foreign language learning. However, there is a biased research focus on the role of CT skills, and empirical evidence on the relationships between CT disposition and foreign language learning is scant. This cross-sectional study aimed to bridge this gap by examining the effects of overall CT disposition as well as its sub-constructs (open-mindedness, perseverance, reflectiveness, inquisitiveness, and self-confidence) on foreign language proficiency. The study mainly discussed the research questions of how CT disposition was related to and to what extent it could predict learners’ foreign language proficiency. This research employed Pearson correlation analysis, regression analysis, and one-way ANOVA to analyze the data collected from a sample of 391 Chinese foreign language learners at Jiangxi Normal University and Zaozhuang University. The instrument adopted to assess the participants’ CT disposition was newly proposed in Chinese in the current study. The results demonstrated that both overall and sub-constructs of CT disposition were positively related to learners’ foreign language proficiency. Foreign language learners embracing different levels of CT disposition displayed significant differences in their foreign language proficiency. Except for perseverance, the other four dispositional traits (open-mindedness, reflectiveness, inquisitiveness, and self-confidence) toward CT were found to be significantly positive predictors of learners’ foreign language proficiency in the Chinese context. The positive impacts of CT disposition triggered in foreign language learning in the present research give an empirical grounding to the cultivation of foreign language learners’ CT dispositional factors to facilitate their foreign language development. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future exploration and research were also discussed.
Keywords: Critical thinking disposition, Chinese EFL learners, language achievement, foreign language proficiency, relationship, scale

Cite as:  Xu, L., Abdullah, T., Liu, Q., & Shahroom, N. A. (2023). The Effects of Critical Thinking Disposition on Foreign Language Proficiency in Foreign Language Learning: Evidence from China.  Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Communication and Language in Virtual Spaces. January 2023:189-205.


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Received: 10/23/2022
Accepted: 12/12/2022
Published: 01/20/2023   

Ling Xu is a teacher in Jiangxi Normal university, China. She has been teaching English as a foreign language for more than ten years. She is also a PhD candidate specializing in Applied Linguistics at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Her research interests are in foreign language learning, foreign language teaching, and critical thinking.u

Dr. Tina Abdullah is an associate professor at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. She has been teaching for 29 years. She is also a supervisor for undergraduate and postgraduate learners who has supervised various dissertations. Her professional interests include Literature, ELT, Meaning Making, and Materials Development.

Qian Liu is an English teacher in Zaozhuang University, China. She is now doing her PhD candidate specializing in Applied Linguistics at Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Her areas of interests include translation studies, and translation teachingr

Nur ‘Ain Mohd Shahroom currently works at the Language Academy, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. She does research in Language Education, Language & Communication in Media, Arts, Digital Culture, and Sociolinguistics.