SGEM 2015: Proceedings of the 2nd international multidisciplinary scientific conference on social sciences and arts.
The twenty-first century has brought about a new type of society, the information-based society. Although this type doubtless provides a lot of opportunities for development and self realization, which are the top needs, according to Maslow hierarchy, we cannot but notice the existing downside as well. What is being promoted as a life motto worldwide is the combination of pragmatism and hedonism, which especially appeals to the youth. Such a combination presupposes that young people faced with overload of available information prove to be unwilling to memorize this information or make sure that they understand it, since they can gain access to it whenever and wherever they want or need. On the other hand, the information-based society requires a change in the existing educational paradigm, which means that the main focus of educators is shifting towards the development of higher order thinking skills (HOTS) while ignoring lower order thinking skills (LOTS). The second stage of our ongoing project deals with the distinction between lower order and higher order thinking skills with a special focus on the former . We regard LOTS as an indispensable part of the development of sophisticated thinking. To prove our hypothesis we have conducted a qualitative study. Two groups of second-year bachelor students of the Higher School of Economics, who participated in the first stage of our project devoted to the development of a disposition towards critical thinking, continue to be involved in it. It is vital to note that these students are learning English as their second language. Having received the results of the first phase we thought it necessary to adjust the key concepts emphasizing the significance of LOTS and step-by-step process of developing them. For that purpose, during the first three-month cycle the students of both control and experimental groups worked with the book by John Grisham “The Pelican Brief” while for the second cycle we chose short stories by Alice Munro. The text-based approach was applied to teaching the students of both groups (ex-control and experimental). Special techniques were used to measure the students' level of understanding and the ability to apply the given information. In the course of the experiment we have found out that the more advanced the students' comprehension level became the better their ability to remember new words got. However, in the experimental group LOTS proved to be deeper and more logically developed. Whereas in the control group, despite a significant shift, LOTS remained more shallow and context-based. The development of HOTS and the influence of LOTS on this process will be the focus of the third stage of our project.