Learning to Argue Through Dialogue: a Review of Instructional Approaches

Chrysi Rapanta, Mark K. Felton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Over the past 20 years, a broad and diverse research literature has emerged to address how students learn to argue through dialogue in educational contexts. However, the variety of approaches used to study this phenomenon makes it challenging to find coherence in what may otherwise seem to be disparate fields of study. In this integrative review, we propose looking at how learning to argue (LTA) has been operationalized thus far in educational research, focusing on how different scholars have framed and fostered argumentative dialogue, assessed its gains, and applied it in different learning contexts. In total, 143 studies from the broad literature on educational dialogue and argumentation were analysed, including all educational levels (from primary to university). The following patterns for studying how dialogue fosters LTA emerged: whole-class ‘low structure’ framing with a goal of dialogue, small-group ‘high structure’ framing with varied argumentative goals, and studies with one-to-one dialectic framing with a goal of persuasive deliberation. The affordances and limitations of these different instructional approaches to LTA research and practice are discussed. We conclude with a discussion of complementarity of the approaches that emerged from our analysis in terms of the pedagogical methods and conditions that promote productive and/or constructive classroom interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477–509
Number of pages33
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Argumentation
  • Dialogue
  • Instructional approach
  • Learning to argue
  • Patterns
  • Review


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