Symposium on Better Learning through Argumentation

Authors

ŠVAŘÍČEK Roman ŠEĎOVÁ Klára

Type Conference
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description We would like to focus our upcoming symposium on student argumentation as a key feature of classroom discourse. We consider it essential since it is through argumentation that new knowledge is created (Leitao, 2000; Sfard, 2008; Reznitskaya, 2009; Asterhan, & Schwarz, 2016). Engaging students in argumentation is often perceived as the answer to many pressing educational questions, which inquire into how to achieve such goals as increasing the quality of teaching in natural sciences (Zimmerman, 2007; Osborne, 2010; Lehesvuori et al., 2017), developing students’ metacognitive skills (Kuhn et al., 2013), strengthening democratic citizenship education (Alexander, 2008; Segal et al., 2017; Schuitema et al., 2017), and providing students with “new survival skills” for the 21st century (Wagner, 2008). Yet, it is also apparent that fostering such skills in day-to-day teaching is not easy. Therefore, we believe that problems associated with the theoretical underpinning of argumentative discourse, the implementation of argumentative dialogue, and empirical research on argumentative moves are worthy topics for focused discussion at the symposium. We would like to divide our discussion into three thematic areas. First, we are interested in the philosophical and epistemological consequences for teacher and student argumentation. Since philosophy is the preeminent discipline examining rational thinking, reasoning, and argumentation, it can aid our understanding of meta-linguistic features of argumentation (such as claims, theses, proofs, arguments, and counterarguments). Can we classify student arguments in relation to their difficulty and quality? How do students learn to use their inborn intuition for logical reasoning about justice in their particular culture (Haidt, 2013)? Second, we would like to address argumentation in teaching. How are students socialised into “a culture of argumentation” (Resnick et al., 2015)? What is the role of peer argumentation in teaching? How can we teach students not to fear argumentation and not to consider disagreement as a negative evaluation of them? How can we enhance the quality of argumentation? How are students taught to argue about fundamental philosophical categories such as justice, duty, authority, and truth? Third, we are interested in the influences of argumentative discourse. How can student argumentation influence students’ conceptual learning? In which subjects can students achieve better grades using argumentation? How can we empirically prove the effectivity of teaching steeped in argumentation? Which methodological problems resist being overcome on our journey to better understanding classroom discourse and student achievement?
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