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Article of Volume 2, Issue 2-3, September 2007

Argumentation in a changing world

Authors: Baruch B. Schwarz, Reuma De Groot

Abstract: Critical reasoning has been recognized as a valuable educational goal since the end of the nineteenth century. However, the educational programs to reach this goal have changed dramatically during the twentieth century and moved to a dialogic approach. The shift to dialogism in programs to promote critical reasoning brings challenges concerning evaluation. We depict such a program here. This program is based on the use of graphic tools for argumentation in e-discussions. We focus on one history teacher who implemented the program in his class during a period of 7 months. In a design-based research cycle, we investigate the process of finding proper criteria to evaluate the program and to improve it. We show that the criteria of coherence, decisiveness and openness are appropriate for evaluating the program as they stem from pedagogical principles (autonomy, collaboration, commitment to reasoning, ethical communication, procedural mediation, etc.) that are central to a dialogic approach for critical reasoning education. We show that the history course was successful according to those criteria, but not successful according to other more traditional criteria. We discuss whether these differential performances suggest new standards for critical reasoning, actions to improve the program, or both.

Keywords: Argumentation, Dialogism, Critical reasoning

Citation: Schwarz, B. B. & De Groot, R. (2007) Argumentation in a changing world. ijcscl 2 (2-3)

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-007-9020-6

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF schwarz_2_2.pdf

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