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Abstract

This study examined the results of promoting Palestinian students’ engagement and fostering their understanding in addition to their inquiry skills through the application of thinking routines. Six teachers teaching fourth and fifth grades participated voluntarily in this action research project during the school year 2014–2015. The researcher videotaped a number of classes, collected and discussed teachers’ and students' reflections, and analyzed classroom observation reports. During the data collection process, the researcher depicted and narrated common themes and issues retrieved from the different sources that were used to collect data. Results revealed that the implementation of visible thinking routines in English language classrooms was a challenge for both the learners and the teachers. For the learners, the challenges were their limited abilities to express themselves using English language, and for the teachers, the challenges were the extra effort that they needed to exert because it was their first experience in implementing such routines. Teachers sometimes found it difficult to decide which thinking routine is appropriate to the activities they wanted to implement. However, teachers asserted that positive changes occurred in English language classrooms and in students’ learning and interaction. Teachers expressed their admiration of how students were more engaged to explore, connect ideas, and delve deeper for better understanding of topics discussed. Classroom activities became more enjoyable, more learning directed and more learners centered. In the light of the research results, Palestinian teachers were recommended to use thinking routines to promote students’ engagement and foster their understanding.

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