We worked recently with a partner school’s Global Studies course and their Ancient China unit. The outcome: an argument-based small group discussion project on Confucianism and Daoism.
The post below includes resources which focus on the way that arguments can be made about the desirability of certain systems of thought and the values they inscript. The project also uses a format of discussion that is looser and less rules-based than a debate (though, of course, rules have their utility and place, when striving to reach certain levels of rigor in a scaffolded academic setting). Finally, this project is an example of the way that an argument-centered approach has the agility to incorporate varied curricular resources — in this instance, some SHEG (Stanford History Education Group) document excerpts and background information.
In the first part of this two-part post, we looked carefully at some of pedagogical ideas and political context impelling us to design our Synthesis Solution Protocol, along with this instructional method’s objectives and implementation stages. This post will demonstrate what the five stages of this Protocol look like in a representative implementation scenario. The debatable issue for this demonstration is a common one in U.S. History or world studies classes, in a unit on World War II (1939 – 1945).
A significant portion of all of the argumentation done in K-12 education today is rooted in the Toulmin model of argument. Every time you see claim – evidence – reasoning in the curriculum, in any of its multifarious guises, you are in the presence of a descendant of Toulmin. Few curriculum writers or teachers – and even fewer students – have a grounding in Toulmin’s argumentative theory. Because Argument-Centered Education draws on his thinking in our argument-centered resources and pedagogy we believe that it is important to dig a little deeper here.
This is Part 2 of my introduction of the Observation of Argument-Centered Instructional Capacity Inventory, an instrument that helps teachers and administrators know what proficient and masterful incorporation of argumentation and critical thinking throughout curriculum, instruction, and classroom culture specifically looks and sounds like. This allow teachers to take stock of what they are doing well already, and where they want to grow as professionals. And it enables administrators to monitor and support the process of professional capacity building, toward a school that provides authentic college preparation for every student.
Part 1 of this introduction can be found here. Part 2 will pick up with a close examination of the eight items in each of the domains after Curriculum – namely, Instruction and Culture. Then we will discuss the utility of the Form used to tabulate and collect ratings and comments, which formalizes the inventory (whether it is self-performed or not) of current professional capacities.
About five years ago, when we got started with the work we are doing now – first calling it curricular debate, then argument-centered instruction – partner school teachers and administrators asked us two simple but important questions: what are the specific professional capacities that Argument-Centered Education will develop and how will we know that they have, indeed, developed? We undertook the kind of inquiry-driven, analytical process that we try to build into the curriculum that we design with partners on our own argument pedagogy, and we produced the Observation of Argument-Centered Instructional Capacity (OACIC) Inventory.