Speaker Series 2023 November 17th

Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation & Rhetoric along with the PhD in Argumentation Studies at the University of Windsor invite you to a talk by

Pierre Boulos, Senior CRRAR Fellow, QatarDebate

Enriching Argumentation: The Human Element in Teaching, Learning, and Debate

Abstract: At the heart of argumentation is the notion that one can be persuaded to change their epistemic state in the face of argument. That is, typically arguments are associated as a rational means of persuasion relying on logic (the cognitive domain) and the use of rhetoric (the performative domain). As an epistemological tool, argument has, by and large, been founded in logic and reason rather than emotion, authority, or personality. Arguing and teaching have a great deal in common. Just like arguing, teaching aims at having an impact on a learner's epistemic state-learning involves moving from one belief (or lack of belief) to another and maybe newer belief. The outcomes of this process can be described within the cognitive and performative domains.

Educational developers will be quick to point out that constructively aligned teaching will incorporate authentic assessments which are not only within the cognitive/logic and performative/rhetorical/ethos domains but should have elements building character/affect/pathos. High-Impact Instructional Practices (HIIPs) aim to motivate learning to deeper levels in the learner -- to motivate their learning into the realms of higher-order cognitive and performative shills and, as it turns out, to have impact on attitudes, values, interests, and appreciation of learners. Is there room for attitudes, values, emotions, virtues, etc. in arguments?

This paper, based on a fellowship project funded by QatarDebate, focuses on the simple idea that arguments are not in the claims but in people. Why is this important? There is a growing body of literature that shows that debate and the teaching of debate fosters: (a) learner confidence; b) engagement; (c) critical thinking skills; (d) research, analytical skills, and literacy; e) teamwork and communication; and (f) mental and emotional maturity. My claim is that a framework for arguments in which virtues and emotions are included, can help us understand the teacher-learner relationship.

Argumentation requires arguers to enter the dialogue with vulnerability – “I might be wrong.” This is how our students ought to be considered when submitting their work: they are vulnerable and courageous. To help students reach those lofty graduating attributes, teaching requires compassion and trust. If arguments are not in the claims but in people, then learning is not in the subject matter but in people.


Friday, November 17, 2023

3:00 pm

Chrysler Hall North, 1163

All Welcome