Learning to Argue and Arguing to Learn

2746235958_b654118ddb_m
Argument (Flickr) by Benson Kua under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs Generic License

 I hate arguing. So what drew me to read the chapter “Arguing to Learn,” in the latest edition of The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences I do not know.

I am glad I did however, because I found out it is interesting and important reading. Andriessen & Baker (2014) state that learning to argue, not in the traditional oppositional sense, but in the collaborative sense, can actually develop reasoning, reflection, knowledge elaboration and articulation, as well as conceptual understanding. It also helps students learn about argumentative structures and develops social awareness.

The authors tell us that children from a very young age (three) understand the components of an argument. What they do not understand is their opponent. It is in understanding their opponent’s position that they gain the ability to develop complex reasoning and understanding.

Andriessen & Baker (2014) state that, “Many people have trouble arguing productively. They are not good at distinguishing evidence from theory and rarely consider alternative positions” (p. 447). Proof from recent and current elections in both Canada and the U. S. would attest to this fact.

It would seem that being able to argue collaboratively is an important skill for learning, and to this end, learning scientists are developing electronic environments which scaffold students when learning to argue. Even so, framing argumentation as collaborative as opposed to competitive is key. This could be challenging. When I keyed in the term “argument” in Google images, all of the images showed yelling, finger pointing, and even physical altercations.

Developing curriculum  that promotes and teaches collaborative argumentation as a way of deepening learning may be the place to start.

Argument

Live Life Happy (Flickr)  under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License

Andriessen, J. & Baker, M. (2014). Arguing to learn. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (3rd ed.) (pp. 439-460). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

About sandralbecker

An educator who is passionate about the creation of a school Learning Commons, which supports inquiry, critical thinking, and collaboration.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s