Implementing Learning by Arguing

In the classroom, Learning by Arguing is very difficult to implement. Nevertheless, it is an important technique. Teachers need to have one-on-one conversations with each students that will hopefully force the student to defend some position. Students learn from this what constitutes a reasonable argument, how to make a convincing point, and also, along the way, some facts, if the teacher knows some worth knowing. The goal here is to teach reasoning, not facts, but facts will worm their way in nevertheless.

Teachers should be able to adopt multiple points of view. When a student expresses a point of view, a teacher should be able to respond with either an argument supporting that point of view or one undermining it. The teacher should not pose as the ultimate authority, but only as a source the students can turn to in order to sharpen their own ideas.

The intention of this model is to force the student into adopting a position and defending it. Truth is less valued in this model. The goal is mainly to get students to think on their feet, to be critical and analytical, rather than to get at truth. But the discovery and agreement upon basic assumptions and consequences that follow from those assumptions, is part of the goal. Arguing about things forces people to think about them, and thinking about things can serve as real motivation for learning.

Outline Take me to the outline for the book

What Can Be Done?

Give Me Background

Start Over Who Built Engines? Contact EFE Team ILS