Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Category

Social Sciences/Humanities

Abstract/Artist Statement

The process of learning argumentation skills empowers students to think critically and communicate their ideas in a democratic society. When students can understand how to construct and interpret effective arguments, they can better engage meaningfully with others and with content. Effective argumentation entails both cognitive and social domains, as individuals need to consider both the quality of their reasoning and the nature of their interaction with their audience. While some conceptions of argumentation focus on developing strong arguments, effective argumentation also involves a productive interaction with one’s audience. Prior researchers developed argument schema theory (AST) which posits that engaging in dialogic interactions (group oral argumentation) strengthens individual argumentation. Specifically, Collaborative Reasoning (CR), a model for structuring dialogic interactions, has been studied as an effective instructional implementation of AST. Prior studies have repeatedly found that engaging in a series of CR discussions promotes cognitive and social learning in groups of students. Relative to more standard methods of teaching argumentation (e.g., direct instruction), prior researchers have found that CR produces significant positive differences. However, prior studies have not explored the subtleties of how students are considering effective argumentation after experiencing CR and how those considerations might be shaping their learning. This study will look at student interview responses to three sets of questions asked of all students that had completed a course of Collaborative Reasoning (CR) discussions. These questions were designed to elicit evidence of transfer of skills as a result of CR as well as gather student impressions of the CR experience. Students in three local fourth-grade classrooms (n=76) responded to the same interview prompts after participating in six to eight CR discussion groups. The researchers coded and analyzed aspects of student responses to all three prompts. In particular, researchers were interested in noting which social and/or cognitive elements of argumentation students were most likely to focus on in their responses. Prior researchers using these prompts have tended to focus only on evidence of cognitive development in argumentation. However, given that argumentation, generally, and CR, specifically, always entails an audience, this study seeks to ascertain how students take into account audience in their thinking, bridging both cognitive and social aspects of argumentation. The analysis will utilize NVivo software, spreadsheets, and handwritten notes to discover patterns in student writing. This study will expand on prior research by examining the effects of CR discussions on individuals’ social and cognitive understanding of argumentation. Of particular interest is whether any patterns emerge in how students attend to both the social and cognitive realm of argumentation and the possible ramifications of those patterns. This study is significant in that it will deepen the understanding of the relative importance of considering social and interpersonal dynamics in collaborative learning environments including, but not limited to, the teaching of argumentation.

Mentor Name

Jingjing Sun

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What Does It Mean To Argue Well?

The process of learning argumentation skills empowers students to think critically and communicate their ideas in a democratic society. When students can understand how to construct and interpret effective arguments, they can better engage meaningfully with others and with content. Effective argumentation entails both cognitive and social domains, as individuals need to consider both the quality of their reasoning and the nature of their interaction with their audience. While some conceptions of argumentation focus on developing strong arguments, effective argumentation also involves a productive interaction with one’s audience. Prior researchers developed argument schema theory (AST) which posits that engaging in dialogic interactions (group oral argumentation) strengthens individual argumentation. Specifically, Collaborative Reasoning (CR), a model for structuring dialogic interactions, has been studied as an effective instructional implementation of AST. Prior studies have repeatedly found that engaging in a series of CR discussions promotes cognitive and social learning in groups of students. Relative to more standard methods of teaching argumentation (e.g., direct instruction), prior researchers have found that CR produces significant positive differences. However, prior studies have not explored the subtleties of how students are considering effective argumentation after experiencing CR and how those considerations might be shaping their learning. This study will look at student interview responses to three sets of questions asked of all students that had completed a course of Collaborative Reasoning (CR) discussions. These questions were designed to elicit evidence of transfer of skills as a result of CR as well as gather student impressions of the CR experience. Students in three local fourth-grade classrooms (n=76) responded to the same interview prompts after participating in six to eight CR discussion groups. The researchers coded and analyzed aspects of student responses to all three prompts. In particular, researchers were interested in noting which social and/or cognitive elements of argumentation students were most likely to focus on in their responses. Prior researchers using these prompts have tended to focus only on evidence of cognitive development in argumentation. However, given that argumentation, generally, and CR, specifically, always entails an audience, this study seeks to ascertain how students take into account audience in their thinking, bridging both cognitive and social aspects of argumentation. The analysis will utilize NVivo software, spreadsheets, and handwritten notes to discover patterns in student writing. This study will expand on prior research by examining the effects of CR discussions on individuals’ social and cognitive understanding of argumentation. Of particular interest is whether any patterns emerge in how students attend to both the social and cognitive realm of argumentation and the possible ramifications of those patterns. This study is significant in that it will deepen the understanding of the relative importance of considering social and interpersonal dynamics in collaborative learning environments including, but not limited to, the teaching of argumentation.