Argumentation strategies in the classroom

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The importance of argumentation as a teaching and learning method has gained increased attention through the K-12 curriculum over the globe. The reason is simple, i.e. through argumentation the so-much-desired critical thinking skills are developed; nonetheless, how to teach through the use of reasoning is not simple at all, as Deanna Kuhn observed in her pioneering works. The first difficulty lies in the search for dialogicality in students and teachers reasoning, as “any reasoned or rhetorical argument in support of an assertion implicitly contains a full dialogical argument” (Kuhn, 1992; 157). The second difficulty relates to the use of pseudoevidence instead of valid evidence which is a natural tendency of the majority of us to use a description of the causal sequence of a phenomenon as a way of explaining it; such causal explanations are not sufficient to respond to questions such as “‘How do you know that this is so?’ or ‘What evidence would you give to try to show this’” (Kuhn, 1991; p. 66). The third difficulty has to do with teaching as argument, and thus to its relation with knowledge and the learning process: “only if knowledge is seen as the product of a continuing process of examination, comparison, evaluation, and judgment of different, sometimes competing, explanations and perspectives, does argument become the foundation upon which knowing rests” (Kuhn, 1991; p. 202).
Given these major difficulties, on one hand, and the unquestionable relationship between argumentation practice and effective learning, on the other, the need to investigate the role of teachers in promoting argumentation in their classrooms emerges as a twofold demand: for researchers, as per findings ways to support such promotion, and for practitioners, as per advancing in their learning and implementation of the so-called argumentation strategies. Even though a considerable number of tools and techniques that promote argumentation in the K-12 classroom exists, their strategic use and implementation is not straightforward. This specific objective is what we endeavor to address, by making explicit some relations that still remain implicit in the current literature but are necessary for teachers to be able to apply argumentation effectively in their day-to-day classes.
Currently several teachers professional development efforts focusing on argumentation exist, confirming the importance of the issue worldwide. What these efforts lack is: universality, interdisciplinarity, and transferability of contents. This book overpasses existing limitations by focusing on generic aspects of argumentation and argumentative reasoning where different persons, disciplinary areas and cultures may meet.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWilmington
PublisherVernon Press
Number of pages145
ISBN (Print)978-1-62273-313-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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