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June 2019 - Year 21 - Issue 3

ISSN 1755-9715

Empowering HOTS in EFL Settings: A Lesson on Child Prostitution

Yomaira Angélica Herreño Contreras holds a B.A in Modern Languages from Universidad Surcolombiana and an M.A in Compared Literature and Literary Translation from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Currently, she is an English Professor and researcher at Universidad Santo Tomás (Colombia). Her professional interests include ESP, HOTS, problematizing pedagogy, literary translation and poetry. Email:

Jhonathan Alexander Huertas Torres holds a B.A in Spanish, English and French from Universidad de la Salle, an M.A in English Language Teaching for Self-Directed Learning from Universidad de La Sabana and a TESOL Diploma from Anaheim University.  Currently, he is an International Exam tutor at Universidad de La Sabana (Colombia). His professional interests include CLIL, EFL, self-directed learning, standardized tests and SMART goal-setting. Email:



This paper is intended to display the key features of a lesson plan which emerged from the implementation of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives as a guide to foster HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) along with an elaborate speaking performance within EFL settings. Thus, HOTS constitute the pedagogical path to enhance oral production.



Language teaching and learning have frequently been reduced to the achievement of communicative competence at the expense of other factors such as: citizenship, social awareness or critical thinking. Thus, in this field people are usually educated to become chatterboxes rather than outside-the-box thinkers and problem solvers. One way to go beyond mere communicative aims and nurture communication along with thinking is to foster the involvement of HOTS within the English classes, in this case, English speaking lessons.

Bearing in mind the taxonomy of educational objectives, Higher Order Thinking “involves breaking down complex material into parts, detecting relationships, combining new and familiar information creatively within limits set by the context, and combining and using all previous levels in evaluating or making judgments” (King, Goodson & Rohani, n.d, p. 20).

In addition to contributing to ameliorate speaking skills by encouraging students to go beyond the threshold of conversations concerning light topics, the alignment between HOTS and English speaking lessons is prone to enhancing “the construction of deeper, conceptually-driven understanding” (Schraw & Robinson, 2011, p. 2) as HOTS comprise skills to analyze, evaluate and create which presuppose the development of reasoning, argumentation, problem-solving, critical thinking and metacognition.

This lesson plan is part of a research project aimed at fostering HOTS in speaking lessons, conducted with Law students at a Colombian university, and structured taking into consideration HOTS sequence from analyzing to creating.  Accordingly, it emerged from the idea of fostering students’ speaking skills and guiding them towards meaningful paths to become more than competent speakers, but also creative and critical citizens capable of using language in their current reality affairs and generate an impact on their context. This lesson plan was designed for an intermediate English course intended to students who are interested in pursuing a career in the legal profession.  They were expected to propose legislative provisions or alternatives to fight against child prostitution.

Materials: worksheets, reading about child prostitution,  three youtube videos concerning child prostitution in Brazil, Colombia and The Philippines, wifi to access online dictionaries if required.

Audience:  adult (+18), intermediate English students or those enrolled in ESP courses (Legal English).

Objectives: Students will learn specific vocabulary related to child prostitution, participate in appropriate classroom discussions, read texts and make oral reports on facts pertaining to child prostitution, do listening comprehension exercises to finally provide legislative provisions or alternatives to fight against child prostitution.

Outcome: students will be involved in various activities to encourage the development of HOTS and a more elaborate oral performance on controversial issues.

Duration: Times vary based on contextual circumstances and proficiency levels. Approximately 3 hours for  reflecting on child memories,  getting acquainted with new vocabulary and develop reading and reporting activities,  2 hours for comparing and contrasting two cases of child prostitution (videos),  2 hours for working collaboratively on the final project. 


Lesson preparation

The instructor should design a suitable worksheet to meet the goals of fostering HOTS while practicing speaking (Appendix). It is quite relevant to get conversant with activities intended to promote the development of HOTS and set a path to achieve the proper alignment between thinking and speaking skills. On the net, there is a myriad of available resources which give account of the correlation between HOTS and concrete in-class descriptors.


Lesson plan

First stage. Warm-up

Students will reflect on what is required to provide legislative provisions or alternatives to fight against child prostitution in terms of specific steps they self-set to accomplish the intended lesson goal.  In this case, the lesson plan aims at helping students to become acquainted with the legal procedures implemented to prosecute pimps, and analyze the causes and consequences derived from child prostitution.

Second stage. Analyzing

  1. Relating. In this stage, participants reflect on their own childhood memories and tell their classmates some anecdotes or important facts they remember about their early years.  On the worksheet, they write some ideas to guide their thoughts and oral performance.
  2. Matching. Students are presented a list of activities, they decide if those correspond to having a normal childhood or a prostituted childhood. Afterward, they are invited to socialize and justify their responses.

Third stage. Evaluating

  1. Explaining. The class is divided in small groups. Each group is provided with a piece of a whole article concerning child prostitution in order to extract the main ideas and present them to the class as a short oral report.  These reports are useful to answer the following questions displayed in a chart on the worksheet:
  • What is child prostitution?
  • What causes child prostitution?
  • Who are the people involved?
  • What are the consequences for the child?

2. Comparing and contrasting.  Students watch two videos related to child prostitution. In this case, they display information regarding this problematic in Brazil and Colombia. Nonetheless, some other videos may be selected to encourage students to compare and contrast realities.

Based on both videos, students fill in a chart describing the main facts, knock-on effects and measures taken against child prostitution. Subsequently, they share their answers and provide their ideas and insights on both issues, highlighting similarities and differences.

3. Summarizing ideas. Students are assigned an extra activity on a moodle platform.  They watch another video on the same topic:

Based on it, they write a 150-word summary bearing in mind the following guidelines:

1. Refer to the problem and some of its features in general terms.

2. Make a brief comparison with Colombia's case.

3. Express your own opinion in relation to child prostitution in The Philippines.

Fourth stage. Creating

As a final project students work collaboratively on a case analysis.  They should select a real case of child prostitution worldwide. Based on it, they are requested to analyze the facts, give account of the legal grounds, that is to say, norms, laws and regulations which are enforced by the corresponding authorities, and establish their connection with the case itself.  Finally, as a result of their own research they should provide a solution to the issue, founded upon the information collected and their own premises. The case should be presented to the whole class which has the opportunity to inquire more into the issue by posing questions, counterarguing or stating their own stances.


Food for thought

Lewis and Smith (as cited in Budsankom, Sawangboon, Damrongpanit &  Chuensirimongkol, 2015) claim HOTS is the expertise to achieve target goals by means of diverse forms of thinking processes. It is indispensable for students to learn and strengthen this ability, as to obtain answers, take stances and solve problems. In other words, when learning favors inner human life matters rather than commonplace issues, then meaningful findings might trigger students’ critical thinking by analytically considering different settings, designing and generating possible solutions; leading to a more elaborate world understanding. This is an academic challenge that should be contemplated within the English academic curriculum.

Despite this lesson plan was primarily oriented to Law students at an intermediate level, it constitutes a model to include HOTS in English lessons. In this sense, it may be adapted to meet diverse learning needs and interests.  Language learners and teachers may avail themselves of the wide range of actions and outcomes generated by the implementation of Bloom’s taxonomy in English lessons.  Finally, it is relevant to state that this topic was selected according to the students’ interest in discussing controversial issues in which law plays a significant role.


Appendix worksheet




At the end of this unit, you are expected to come up with legislative provisions or alternatives to fight against child prostitution. What do you need to fulfill this goal?

  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________


SECOND STAGE (Analyzing)


  1. RELATING.  Reflect on the question below

What do you usually relate childhood to?


2. MATCHING. Write if the actions correspond to a NORMAL CHILDHOOD or to a     PROSTITUTED CHILDHOOD

  • Step on puddles. _________________
  • Exploit. _______________
  • Become hooked. ______________
  • Perform prostitution services. _______________
  • Blow bubbles. _______________
  • Play hide and seek. _____________
  • Feed the fix. _____________
  • Play hopscotch. _____________
  • Get pregnant. _____________
  • Play marbles. ____________
  • Traumatize. _____________


THIRD STAGE (Evaluating)



Watch two videos concerning child prostitution in Brazil and Colombia. Fill out the chart below.









Facts (problematic)







Knock-on effects










Measures taken against child prostitution












Watch the video below regarding child prostitution in the Philippines, and write a 150-word summary bearing in mind the following guidelines:

1. Refer to the problem and some of its features in general terms.

2. Make a brief comparison with Colombia's problematic.

3. Express your own opinion in relation to child prostitution in the Philippines.


FOURTH STAGE (creating)     


In groups, you will select a real child prostitution case worldwide.  You should

  1. Analyze and establish the facts.
  2. Give account of the legal grounds (norms, laws, regulations).
  3. Provide your solution to the issue.



Budsankom, P., Sawangboon, T., Damrongpanit, S., & Chuensirimongkol, J. (2015). Factors

affecting higher order thinking skills of students: A meta-analytic structural equation modeling study. Educational Research and Reviews, 10 (19), 2639-2652. doi: 10.5897/ERR2015. 2371

King, FJ., Goodson, L., & Rohani, F.(n.d). Higher Order Thinking Skills. Assessment and

Evaluation Educational Services Program.

Schraw, G., & Robinson, D. (2011). Assessment of Higher Order Thinking Skills. Charlotte:

Information Age Publishing.


Please check the Methodology and Language for Secondary course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Teaching Advanced Students course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the 21st Century Thinking Skills course at Pilgrims website.

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