1st Edition

Good Thinking Teaching Argument, Persuasion, and Reasoning

By Erik Palmer Copyright 2016

    Our daily communication involves argumentation and reasoning, but how well do we prepare students for these tasks? Are they able to persuade others, make solid purchasing decisions, or analyze the messages in the media? In his new book, Good Thinking: Teaching Argument, Persuasion, and Reasoning, Erik Palmer shows teachers of all subject matters how to transform the activities they already use into openings for improving student thinking. He demonstrates how to critically evaluate a point of view, understand rhetorical devises, apply logic, and build an effective argument, written or oral. Blending theory with practice, Palmer shares a wide range of classroom-tested lessons, including:How to understand argument in paintings and images Addressing ad hominem attacks using a traveling debate Creating a class comedy club, where students write syllogisms and analyze character and plot development Teaching logic through a class 'Booger Patrol' Palmer explains complex concepts in simple, practical language that gives teachers a deft understanding of the principles of good arguments, proper use of evidence, persuasive techniques, and rhetorical tricks. He reveals how all students, not just those in advanced classes, can begin developing sophisticated reasoning skills that will improve their oral and written communications, both in and outside of the classroom. '

    Chapter 1: Introducing Good Thinking; Chapter 2: Thinking in the Standards; Chapter 3: That Seems Logical; Chapter 4: Evaluating Arguments; Chapter 5: Prove It!; Chapter 6: From Argument to Persuasion; Chapter 7: That Seems Reasonable; Chapter 8: Activities to Develop Reasoning; Afterword


    Erik Palmer is an educational consultant based in Denver, Colorado. He didn't start out as an educational consultant, however. Erik left law school and entered the commodity brokerage business. He managed a retail brokerage firm, ultimately incorporated a trading company, and took it public. He bought a seat on the floor of the Mid-America Commodity Exchange in Chicago and spent some time as a floor broker. All of those ventures required strong verbal skills, and those experiences solidified my belief in the need to develop speaking skills, Erik explains. When his children were born, Erik left the brokerage world and entered the education world, but he took with him the beliefs that education has to be relevant well beyond the classroom. How much of what we teach will be forgotten or discarded once students leave school? As a teacher he constantly challenged lessons being taught that did not have real-world relevance, and he sought to keep his teaching current and significant. In all subject areas he taught, he emphasized the importance of speaking well because he saw the positive impact it had in his classroom and because it is a life-long skill. When I had opportunities to use new technologies available in the classroom, I embraced them, says Erik. They helped me connect to the students, increase 'with-it-ness,' foster relevance, and improve instruction. Now as a consultant, I work with teachers to share the successes I have had in those areas.Erik received his bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and his master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado. He was a classroom teacher for twenty-one years before becoming a consultant. His areas of specialty include improving oral communication and updating instruction to incorporate twenty-first-century tools.In his free time, Erik plays baseball and likes to ride his bike. He has two sons and three step-children. His wife teaches fourth grade.