ERIC Number: ED369094
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Theories of Cognitive Development and the Teaching of Argumentation in First-Year Composition.
Understanding the connections between students' levels of intellectual development, their view of the nature of knowledge, and their developing argumentative writing skills is central to helping students learn to write good argumentation. The first researcher to develop a model of intellectual development among college students was William Perry in his study of students at Harvard University in the 1950s. Mary Field Belenky articulated a cognitive-developmental theory based on Perry's work but focused on the intellectual development of women. M. L. Davison and others developed a model of reflective judgment in college students and adults. The newest formulation of a model of adult cognitive development is Michael Basseches's model of dialectical thinking, a stage of cognitive development beyond Piaget's formal operations. Basseches does not address the issue of the influence of dialectical thinking on students' ability to form and write effective arguments, but his research suggests that level of dialectical thinking increases with level of formal education. A college English instructor is carrying out a study to attempt to learn which model of cognitive development best predicts success on an argumentative writing task in first-year composition. The instructor predicts that either the Perry scheme or the reflective judgment stage would more closely correlate with writing effectiveness. The next stage in this line of research would be to determine which curricula and instructional methods would best foster intellectual development and the ability to form effective arguments. (Contains 14 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Writing Contexts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (45th, Nashville, TN, March 16-19, 1994).