Truth Matters: Teaching Young Students to Search for the Most Reasonable Answer

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Review Article

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Learning how to formulate, comprehend, and evaluate arguments is an essential part of helping students develop the ability to make better, more reasonable judgments. The Common Core identified argumentation as a fundamental life skill that is broadly important for the literate person. According to the authors, having students engage in an inquiry dialogue oriented toward finding the most reasonable answer is key to developing the skills of argumentation. Inquiry dialogue starts with a contestable, big question that is relevant to student interests and addresses a central issue raised in a text. Such questions invite students to take part in a genuine quest for truth and allow them to develop more reasonable and personally meaningful judgments. Inquiry dialogue is neither teacher-centered nor student-centered; rather, it is truth-centered. In a recent three-year project, the authors worked with elementary school teachers to learn how to support the use of such dialogue-intensive instruction in language arts classrooms.



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