One of the last things I ever expected to say to my children is, “let’s argue,” but that is what I encouraged them to do as we reviewed The Art of Argument, An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies. Well, the difference between the typical arguments my children have that drive me crazy and the arguments encouraged by the lessons in the book is logic.
Logic is usually the first thing that “goes out of the window” when people argue and on its foot tails comes emotion running back inside. The Art of Argument seeks to bring clarity, relevance and purpose back in, creating more of a conversation or discussion while sharpening the student’s critical thinking skills. The student uses reasoning, instead of emotion, in favor or against an issue to “argue.”
We received the student book, the teacher’s manual, and a DVD that has an intro and covers the first six fallacies covered in the book. The student book pretty much walks you through the lessons and can be used without the teacher’s manual, but I will say that I liked having the additional resources offered in the teacher’s manual. The teacher’s manual not only includes the answers to the exercises and worksheets, but also has additional quizzes and tests for more practice of the covered material. You can take a look at the teacher’s manual.
There are 28 fallacies that are covered in the lessons. If you’re anything like me, then you may have had to pause to think about the word fallacy – “misleading notion or erroneous belief.”
When arguing, there are three ways people tend to reason poorly and make a mistake in the defense of their argument which include:
Relevance – The point they are making does not relate to the issue.
Presumption – They make unjustified or unnecessary assumptions.
Clarity – The language or the words they use to defend their argument don’t make sense.
The 28 fallacies are broken up to fit into one of those three categories. You can see a sample of the student book and also see how the fallacies are broken up.
I was probably more excited than the children about using this curriculum but after we watched the introduction on the DVD, they knew this was something for them. After all, they like to argue. I may be the cause of that characteristic. This curriculum reminds me a little bit of Forensics.
The lessons cover each fallacy. Students are encouraged to review the fallacies often and even put them to memory with the hope they will recognize them when confronted by them in everyday life.
Although this curriculum is geared towards students in the seventh through ninth grades, I thought River and Lily would do fine working through the material. We have already been including logic in our studies. River and Lily both have already learned a little bit about questioning statements they hear (including mine) and read in advertisement for commercial products, regarding social issues, and recently political issues, especially with the upcoming election.
Logic is an area where many children don’t perform well on standardized tests. The curriculum is classical-based, but you do not have to have that background to learn from the material. It gives a great jump-start for children who are new to studying logic.
The lessons are not only engaging, but the examples they use to explain the use of the fallacies are ones that are relevant to the student in their daily lives. There is a definite effort to include the student in the discussion; to get him thinking and discussing. The student is being taught with instead of taught at. You can watch a portion of some discussion that is included in the DVD set:
Watch this fun video. I love watching the interaction with the kids, once they finally get into the conversation.
Take heed to the warning…”Parents and teachers beware – students may use these skills against you.”
Each item of the curriculum can be purchased separately. The Art of Argument, An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies is available for $21.95, the teacher’s edition is $24.95, then you can purchase that for $24.9, and the DVD set is available for $54.95. You may also purchase all three as a bundle for only $88.95.
|Disclaimer: The product featured in this review was provided to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for a complete and honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.|