American educators agreed last year that argumentative reasoning should be taught in schools when those in most states adopted the new Common Core State Standards, a state-led effort to establish educational benchmarks to prepare kindergarten through 12th grade students for college and career. Reaching a similar consensus on how to teach the art of arguing, however, hasn’t been as easy. But a new study published in the journal Psychological Science could offer a solution in the form of dialogue.
Researchers Deanna Kuhn and Amanda Crowell created a new curriculum for teaching reasoning skills that emphasized discussion and tested it on 48 sixth graders. A comparison group of 23 students in a separate class were taught through more traditional, solitary methods of reasoning using techniques such as essay-writing. It turns out that arguing with others is more effective than arguing on paper.
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