Teaching approaches: Argumentation

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Teaching Approaches

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'Argumentation' sometimes comes with negative connotations, but teaching children how to engage dialogue skills, to reason together is an important part of learning and development. You may find that your students find it helpful to use writing frames, or other language prompts to help them, or perhaps some visualisation tools such as brainstorming or argument mapping materials. The approaches linked from this paragraph offer more detail on each aspect.

Relevant resources


Argumentation Starting an Argument in Science
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Strategies to get discussion going
This resource provides a table of useful activities and effective prompts to stimulate reasoning(ta) argumentation(ta) and discussion(ta) in science teaching.
Contemporary issues Teaching the Science of Contemporary Issues
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Find lesson inspiration aplenty from news clips and stories.
This longer (32 page) resource provides useful guidance, examples, and CPD activities for exploring contemporary issues in science, particularly to stimulate effective group talk(ta) and discussion(ta), and provoke pupil's interest in science.
Discussion The Environment for Group Talk in Science
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"Ask questions rather than provide answers: ‘What’s the strength of his or her point?’ ‘How you could check that out?’ "
This resource contains a set of activities and examples to discuss and work through based around maintaining group talk(ta) in whole class(ta) and group work(ta) settings, including setting up Ground Rules, and creating appropriate environments (physical and 'class rule' based) for argumentation(ta) and discussion(ta)
Ethics Designer Babies
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When does life actually begin?
By using an informative web tutorial, this resource aims to stimulate discussion(ta) on the ethics(topic) of modern biology. A worksheet asks students where they stand and reassures them that their response might be kept private. You might also consider using a blog, chat room or other ICT tool to record the questioning(ta) and reasoning(ta) around this topic. A teaching section offers guidance on 'teaching argument' using 'Toulmin’s model of argument' and 'The IDEAS project'.
Group talk Group Talk & Argument in Science Teaching
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Activities and practical examples to use group talk in science lessons
This Teacher Education resource covers background information, practical activities, and practical examples for engaging dialogue(ta) in the context of group work(ta) and whole class(ta) work effectively in the classroom, in particular to ensure high quality reasoning(ta). The resource encourages teachers to think about situations and prompts for argumentation(ta) and how these might be used to support the science curriculum.