Lesson three: Argumentation

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The Debate in the Neighbourhood mentor training programme provides all of the material that you need to begin exploring debate with teaching staff and youth workers in your institution or youth group.

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  • Facilitators begin the presentation by emphasizing that debate topic is central o any debate and it determines not only the quality of arguments and the interaction between the two teams but also the level of interest of both debaters (I.e. how enjoyable the experience it is for the young people) and the audience/judges – how interesting and easy it is for the audience and the judges to follow the arguments presented by the debaters. Facilitators begin by saying that the main characteristic of successful debate is how controversial the topic is and how debatable it is (debatable meaning in this case- how well it lends itself to being debated). Facilitator may give an example of a controversial topic which is debatable: Songs containing violent lyrics should not be played on the radio and TV . Facilitator asks participants whether they think it is a controversial topic ? Following a brief discussion, the facilitator asks whether this topic would make an interesting debate- i.e. whether there is enough room/space for disagreement between both teams. Facilitators then give another example: Marihuana should be legalized in NL and asks what the participants think about this resolution. Participants are most likely to say that it cannot be really debated in the Dutch context since marihuana can be smoked legally in NL. Facilitator then asks how a debate on marihuana can still take place in NL- what needs to be changed in the resolution to make it possible: the possibilities include: Marihuana should be de- legalized in NL, Marihuana should be made legal to minors, etc. Facilitators should mention that for the debate topic to be controversial., it should be contrary to the status quo and include a proposal to change something: for example if marihuana is legal in NL, than making a topic controversial will mean that the topic will propose a de-legalization of marihuana. It will be then the side that defends the resolution that will need to propose a change in the status quo. At this point facilitators may engage participants in a brief discussion concerning the ethics of selecting debate topics- I.e. what can be debated vs. what should be debated. Facilitators may use an example of Geert Wilders : Koran should be banned in NL and initiate the discussion on the limits of free speech and the goal and objectives of the DIN program- treating debate as an instrument to address controversial issues- yet as an instrument to build bridges between people of different ethnic groups rather than as an instrument of division. Facilitators explain that during that session they will present the model of debate most often employed during debates, its structure and most common types of arguments.
  • Before showing the definition of the argument on the slide, facilitator may want to explain that there are many definitions of arguments. The facilitator explains that he/she likes the one which points to the communicative and persuasive aspect of an argument. Facilitator explains that this definition is best illustrated by the following diagram and move to the next slide.
  • Facilitator may explain that argumentation is a tool (one of the tools) with which a persuader (arguer, debater, etc.) uses to move the listener from his/her original position on a given issue to where the persuader wants to take us. A facilitator may use a visual analogy: process of persuasion is like a journey: we begin where are listeners are and we want to move them to accept our point of view. The facilitator may want to remind the participants about the short exercise they have just conducted. Argument is vehicle we use to move the audience to the point where we want them to be.
  • Facilitators may want to expand the previous model with an additional diagram – referring back to the concepts developed by a Greek philosopher Aristotle in his work on rthetoric – Ethos , Logos and Pathos . Facilitators should explain the terms in the context of the definition of argument presented earlier: Ethos relates to the persuader (facilitators should point out that they use the term persuader since many arguments are presented in a written form)- the authority and trust he exudes in the eye’s of his/her audience. This is often an intrinsic part of the speakers personality, function, profession (e.g. we inherently trust doctors when it comes to medical diagnosis, even if we do not understand the medical terms or the impact a given treatment will have on us). In a speaking context, the ethos can be produced through confidence, presentation style, appearance (more will be said about it during the section on presentation). Logos refers to the reasoning and evidence – the content and our understanding of it. Pathos refers to the emotions that our speech can arise in the audience – this is best achieved by speakers through the way they employ language – style (more will be said about it during the session on public speaking).
  • Facilitators present a model of an argument: claim – what we want the audience to accept (using the journey analogy – this is where we want to take our audience). Going back to on of the two exercises conducted at the beginning of the session: assertion are claims – they become arguments the moment they are supported with data. Data is what provides supports to the claim. Reason is what connects the claim to data and makes it stronger. Facilitators may want to mention that this model is based on a model of argument developed by Prof. Toulmin from the University of Oxford. Example will follow on the next slide.
  • The facilitator presents participants with a claim: There is fire. The facilitator tries to elicit response from the participants concerning possible data to support this claim
  • One of the participants will surely say: there is smoke. Now the facilitator tries to elicit a similar response reg. the reason. Facilitator may want to repeat that reason is what binds/connects the claim to the data.
  • One of the participants will surely say: there is smoke. Now the facilitator tries to elicit a similar response reg. the reason. Facilitator may want to repeat that reason is what binds/connects the claim to the data.
  • Facilitators present the main types of arguments and explain that in the following slides they will present each type one by one.
  • Facilitator presents claim and the data and asks participants if they can think of the reason. Argument by example is an inductive type of argument where debater tries to draw a general conclusion from one or few examples. He/she needs to persuade the listeners that the example he/she is using is representative.
  • Facilitator asks the question and elicits responses: making sure that the example is representative, that there are no counter example, that there is a sufficient number of examples, that the example is relevant, etc . Facilitators explain that the argumentation by example is often used in debates with debaters quoting facts and statistics, etc. Facilitators may want to mention at this point that debate should also teach how to critically approach evidence (session on DAY 2 ) and that there are types of logical mistakes (fallacies- the following session) which are caused by improper use of evidence.
  • Analogically to the previous slide facilitators provide a claim and support ( data )- asking participants to provide the reasoning.
  • Once one of the participants provides a correct answer (or approximate) facilitator points out that this type of reasoning is based on comparison between two things, phenomena, etc.
  • Facilitator asks the question and elicits responses: making sure that the two things we compare a sufficiently similar or even better- the same to merit a valid comparison . Facilitators explain that the argumentation by analogy is often used in debates with debaters identifying something they and their audience are sufficiently familiar with and comparing it to a less familiar object and thus trying to prove that if something is true about A it should also be true about B since A and B are so similar. Facilitators may want to mention at this point that there are logical mistakes related to use of analogy (fallacies- the following session) as well as that analogy is often used as a stylistic device- for example at the beginning of the session the facilitators compared argument to a journey to illustrate the point better to the participants or make it more memorable but they did not really try to prove anything about the argument.
  • Facilitators provide a claim and data and ask participants to provide the link – reasoning.
  • Facilitators present the slide after one of the participants suggests a possible answer.
  • Facilitator asks the question and elicits responses: making sure that there is a causal relationship between two phenomena, that there are no other causes that may be equally important (e.g. in this case poverty), etc . Facilitators should emphasize that cause and effect reasoning is relatively difficult to prove – e.g. often things appear in conjunction but it does not mean that one thing causes another, etc. Also facilitators may want to mention that the best strategy in debate is to combine different types of reasoning in order to make arguments stronger. It may be advantageous for somebody advocating a ban on violent rap and hip hop to quote more studies, facts, examples, authorities, etc.
  • Facilitators provide claim and data and ask participants to supply reason
  • Once participants provide answers, facilitators show their suggestion on the slide.
  • Facilitator asks the question and elicits responses: the most important thing with this type of reasoning is assuring that one one thing is in fact an indicator of something else: e.g. higher spending being an indicator of economy improving ,etc. Facilitators may point out to possibilities of mistakes: e.g. ask participants if it is really the case that test results are indicative of improvement in system of education, etc.
  • Facilitators provide a claim and data – participants are asked to supply data.
  • Facilitators provide a claim and data – participants are asked to supply data.
  • Facilitators ask the question and elicits responses: authority should be knowledgeable, recognized by other authorities, view of an authority must be based on some research/study, etc . Facilitator may want to give an example of some claims from advertising when sports celebrities make claims about medicines, etc.
  • Lesson three: Argumentation

    1. 1. Introduction to argumentation What is an argument ?
    2. 2. Introduction to argumentationArgument - process in communication inwhich reasoning is applied to persuadeothers.
    3. 3. Introduction to argumentationPersuader Argument Audience
    4. 4. Introduction to argumentationPersuader Argument Audience Ethos Logos PathosPersuader’s Reason/evidence Emotions authority
    5. 5. Introduction to argumentationCLAIM DATA REASON
    6. 6. Introduction to argumentationThere is fire. Data? Reason?
    7. 7. Introduction to argumentationThere is fire. There is smoke. Reason?
    8. 8. Introduction to argumentationThere is fire. There is smoke. When there is smoke, there is fire
    9. 9. Introduction to argumentationReasoning by exampleReasoning by analogyReasoning from cause and effectReasoning from signReasoning from authority
    10. 10. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning by exampleFemale students studying in the same A study conducted in UK in 1,000 sex schools achieve better results schools shows that. ?
    11. 11. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning by exampleFemale students studying in the same A study conducted in UK in 1,000 sex schools achieve better results. schools shows that. The 1,000 schools are representative.
    12. 12. Introduction to argumentationReasoning by example: what do we have to remember aboutwhen using this type of argument ?
    13. 13. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning by analogyWomen should be allowed to take up Nobody questions most men’s ability to combat roles in the military. be involved in combat ?
    14. 14. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning by analogyWomen should be allowed to take up Nobody questions most men’s ability to combat roles in the military. be involved in combat Women have the same mental and physical qualities required by the modern warfare
    15. 15. Introduction to argumentationReasoning by analogy: what do we have to remember aboutwhen using this type of argument ?
    16. 16. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning from cause and effectSongs containing violent Crime rate among young people inlyrics should be banned. urban areas is up. ?
    17. 17. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning from cause and effectSongs containing violent Crime rate among young people inlyrics should be banned. urban areas is up. Such songs cause increase in crime.
    18. 18. Introduction to argumentationReasoning from cause and effect: what do we have to rememberabout when using this type of argument ?
    19. 19. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning from signThe system of education Test results are better. has improved. ?
    20. 20. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning from signThe system of education Test results are better. has improved. Test results are a good indicator of improvement in education.
    21. 21. Introduction to argumentationReasoning from sing: what do we have to remember about whenusing this type of argument ?
    22. 22. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning from authoritySchool uniforms are Says Prof. Smith in her study on an equalizer. schools in UK. ?
    23. 23. Introduction to argumentation Reasoning from authoritySchool uniforms are Says Prof. Smith in her study on an equalizer. schools in UK. Prof. Smith knows what she is talking about
    24. 24. Introduction to argumentationReasoning from authority: what do we have to remember aboutwhen using this type of argument ?

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