ERIC Number: ED281206
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Dialectical Reasoning on Civic Issues.
Parker, Walter C.; And Others
Twenty-four eleventh grade students attending a month-long, summer civic-leadership institute in a Pacific Northwest city participated in a study that examined their dialectical reasoning on civic issues. This reasoning was elicited through written scaffolding, with students guided explicitly to compose essays arguing for or against a position on a given issue. The essays were organized so that the second and third paragraphs were related dialectically, while the first and fourth were a knowledge summary and conclusion, respectively. Scaffolding within paragraphs was less explicit. The essays were analyzed to discover use of six categories of dialectical reasoning: value claims, lines of support, relevant counterarguments, empathic counterarguments, lines of counterargument, and dialectical conclusions. Results indicated (1) that most students argued both for and against their position, (2) that most summarized what they knew about the issue without apparent interference from their own bias about it, (3) that most used only one line of reasoning, (4) that most wrote an empathic paragraph about the other side of the issue, (5) that most argued against their position using just one line of reasoning, and (6) that most did not show even incipient dialectical reasoning in the concluding paragraph. (Copies of four student essays and an extensive list of references are appended.) (FL)
Descriptors: Abstract Reasoning, Citizenship, Civics, Content Analysis, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Critical Thinking, Educational Research, Essays, Grade 11, High School Students, High Schools, Learning Strategies, Metacognition, Persuasive Discourse, Political Issues, Public Policy, Scaffolding (Teaching Technique), Social Problems, Social Studies, Writing Instruction, Writing Skills
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Washington, DC, April 20-24, 1987).