A large part of our everyday communication involves argumentation and reasoning-for example, when we want to persuade others, make good purchasing decisions, or analyze the messages we receive from advertisers and politicians.
But how well do we prepare students for these tasks?
Can they critically evaluate a speaker's point of view?
Understand rhetorical devices? Apply logic? Build an effective argument, whether written or spoken?In his new book, Good Thinking, Erik Palmer shows teachers of all subject matters how to transform the activities they already use into openings for improving student thinking.
Building on his previous work in Well Spoken (Stenhouse, 2011) and Digitally Speaking (Stenhouse, 2014), he reveals how all students, not just those in advanced classes, can begin developing sophisticated reasoning skills that will improve their oral and written communications. Blending theory with practice, Palmer shares a wide range of classroom-tested lessons, including ways to understand argument in paintings and images, address ad hominem attacks using a traveling debate, create a class comedy club, write syllogisms, analyze character and plot development, and teach logic through a class Booger Patrol.
He explains complex concepts in simple, practical language that gives teachers a deft understanding of the principles of good arguments, proper use of evidence, persuasive techniques, and rhetorical tricks. "Once you start looking, you'll see arguments everywhere," Palmer writes. "All of them are opportunities to teach good thinking."