Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Young People Need to be Taught How to Argue (??)

While many parents may not think that their children have any difficulty with arguing, researchers have been studying ways to improve argumentation skills.  Making logical arguments is part of the critical thinking process and does not necessarily follow naturally from learning a lot of facts.  This is yet another role that out-of-school time experiences can play - offering students a setting to practice making logical, coherent arguments. 

Education Week article
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I agree with you entirely. I grew up listening to arguments between my father (an MD and a PhD) and his friend (a solar-astrophysicist). I didn’t know that I had learned from their examples how to reason through an argument, how to find evidence to support a claim or dispute one, until I was almost 30.

I was in a university class on the nature of science education with other students who were training to become teachers. A guest speaker PhD Economist came to class and posed some ideas about “sustainability” that didn’t make sense to me. I raised my hand, asked questions and debated with him several times until I was satisfied with his explanation.

It wasn’t until after the class that several students mentioned they were afraid to ask questions because they didn’t want to look stupid. Some said they didn’t know how to argue back or that it was ok to argue.

I was shocked because it had never occurred to me to NOT ask questions. Why was it that my classmates felt they couldn’t ask? And if they are training to be the next teachers, are they going to teach kids not to ask questions as well?