Friday, March 9, 2012

The Art of Argument - Review

The Art of Argument
An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies

Web Site 
Age: Middle School
Cost:  $88.95 - Basic Bundle

My family loves to argue.  No, not in the derogatory way (most of the time), but we love to debate and make our points.  Argument is something that allows us to not only express our opinions but also to work our logic skills.

My youngest has been told several times that he should be a lawyer when he grows up.  He is quickly becoming quite skilled at the art of negotiation and the ability to make his point through logical argument. 

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review The Art of Argument  from Classical Academic Press because I thought it would be right up his alley.  I have to say – it has not disappointed.  I love this curriculum! 

The Art of Argument is setup in a way that middle school or even high school students can learn the different types of logical fallacies and recognize them in the media around them. 

I received the student text, teacher’s text and a DVD with lessons for all six chapters.

Student Text

The student’s text is excellent – especially for a creatively minded child like mine.  Twenty-eight fallacies are introduced textually, but then supplemented using a discussion format between Socrates and various students.  This approach is very engaging as the student can follow along with the dialogue and put him/herself into the shoes of the student talking with Socrates.  The tone is often quite humorous.

Throughout the student text, advertisements are used to demonstrate the various types of fallacies.  Fake political arguments, for example, demonstrate the ad hominem or personal attack type fallacy.  Or fake medication advertisements demonstrate how we are often subjected to Illegitimate Authority ploys.  This visual approach helps the student realize that daily the media uses fallacies to sell consumers products or influence public opinion.  We have a good time identifying the different fallacies we see on billboards, in magazines, and in this political climate, on TV.  This is very appealing because it demonstrates the real-world, lifelong application for learning logic.

Finally, each chapter includes vocabulary and worksheets that ask the student to take what he/she has learned and apply it to scenarios or to demonstrate their understanding.  Wonderful!  To view sample pages - click here.

Teacher’s Edition

One thing I really like about the teacher’s edition is that it includes the entire student text.  You can follow along with your student and guide them as they learn about the Art of Argument.  Included in the teacher’s edition are the answers to all of the worksheet and review questions along with tests and answer keys for each chapter and unit.  There is a lot of information to take in learning twenty-eight fallacies.  Having quizzes each chapter (or on occasion two per chapter) helps the parent evaluate the student’s understanding.  You can re-cover any information that has not been fully understood.

To view sample pages from the Teacher's Edition - click here.

DVD Lessons

Adding lessons to help explain to the student what the content of each chapter is teaching is a great idea.  However, my son didn’t find the videos to be very engaging.  The format is essentially a small group discussing each argument.  It does have a classroom feel.   For parents with auditory learners, this approach might prove strong.  Here is an example video from the DVD.

I could see this DVD being very helpful in a co-op setting where the video could be paused and the students in the class engaged in the discussion as well.
As stated, I am thrilled with this product.  Having taught Ancient Rhetoric at the college level, I know that logic is not something that should be overlooked in middle and high school.  The fallacies taught not only help the student recognize the fallacies they are bombarded with daily in the media, but they help him/her discern when he is using fallacies in his own writing.

To see what other TOS Homeschool Crew members thought of this product, click here.

*** I received this curriculum free of charge as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know Noah was good at debate.. interesting!


Thank you for commenting - I love to hear your thoughts!