The Effect of Debate Training on Argumentation Skills: The Developmental Process for Japanese College Students
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How do students acquire argumentation skills through debating? Although attempts have long been made to answer this question, a common limitation of previous studies is the tendency to ignore the potential of college students who learn how to argue in a community of practice. Cultural difference is also an important theme in argumentation studies, as individuals and a community co-construct the quality of their arguments. In Japanese education, argument is rarely taught in classes. Nakano (2007) pointed out that Japanese students tend to hesitate when arguing with friends, and are low in approach argumentativeness and high in avoidance argumentativeness, compared to other Asian countries. Parliamentary Debate (PD) is most popular and is effective for novice learners of argument (Inoue & Nakano, 2006). Every stage of debating, such as preparation, debate rounds, reflection and so on, forms a cyclic learning system, and this functions as an ideal community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). The present study aims at exploring how members of a community acquire argumentation skills through debating. First, we identify patterns of argument produced in the community during a session. Second, we analyse transitional patterns, focusing on individual differences. In order to teach reasoning and persuasion to those who are especially unwilling to oppose someone, we need to have them realize their improvement with confidence by reducing their mental blocks.
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