TOS Review: the Art of Argument
Last year, as part of the TOS Crew, I had the opportunity to review Song School Latin from Classical Academic Press. We loved the introductory Latin program so I was really excited to see CAP on the upcoming Vendor list for this Crew year. I was even more excited when I found out it was for the logic program The Art of Argument.
From the Website: “The Art of Argument was designed to teach the argumentative adolescent how to reason with clarity, relevance and purpose at a time when he has a penchant for the "why" and "how". It is designed to equip and sharpen young minds as they live, play, and grow in this highly commercial culture. This course teaches students to recognize and identify twenty-eight informal fallacies, and the eye-catching text includes over sixty slick and clever, “phony advertisements” for items from blue jeans to pick-up trucks, which apply the fallacies to a myriad of real life situations.”
Though targeted for junior high students, this course is appropriate for high school students who have not previously studied logic. I would go so far as to say it is appropriate for adults as well. Though I often recognize when someone is using a logical fallacy, I cannot always identify the fallacy. I am learning right along with my 3 students (7th grade, 9th grade and 11th grade).
I appreciated receiving both the student text and the teacher’s edition. At first I was not sure if having the teacher edition was really necessary but I have decided that I love having it. Along with having the exact student text with answers, the Teacher edition also has chapter quizzes and tests that I can use. Permission is granted to photocopy those for classroom use.
Because I have three students using this program, we are doing more of an oral/discussion approach. Instead of writing out answers, we take turn answering questions and this leads to more discussion. If your students like to write out their answers, you may want to purchase a student book for each participating student.
Along with the Student Text and the Teacher Edition, we received disk 1 of the DVD set to sample. Disk one includes an introduction and the first 6 fallacies. We choose to watch the fallacy discussions after we had our own discussions. All of us concur that the DVD would be very helpful for families where only one student is taking the course but the DVD is not necessary in situations like ours where we have 3 students plus mom working through the course. We are able to have our own lively discussions.
Thoughts from BooBear:"I really really like it. I like learning logical fallacies. I think it will be good life skills and I know that the SAT is a logic thinking testing so I think it will help me there as well. During this political season, I like being able to recognize and identify specific fallacies I see some candidates use. I’m enjoying arguing not just quarrelling with my sisters.”
Thoughts from Turtlegirl:”I enjoy learning about the fallacies but discussions with my sisters can be too much. Our arguments seem to disintegrate into quarrels and I get frustrated, but I really like program. It’s given me the names for things I have recognized. I can now properly identify the fallacy in my sister’s argument.”
Thoughts from Tailorbear:”Not being able to fall for commercials or political things is nice. I guess I like it. It’s nice to be able to practice fallacies and argue with my sisters.”
Classical Academic Press has two other Logic programs as well. We had a small mix up and were sent The Argument Builder by mistake. When we received our copy of The Art of Argument, I received a lovely apology letter. CAP is graciously allowing me to keep The Argument Builder. The letter alone, in my opinion, demonstrates good customer service. Being allowed to keep the wrong material? That goes above and beyond basic customer service. Thank you CAP! When BooBear has finished working through The Art of Argument, she’ll be able to tackle the more mature material of The Argument Builder. Perhaps next year Turtlegirl can use it and in a few more years Tailorbear should be ready to handle the writing requirements.
Update: You may also be interested in my review of Discovery of Deduction.