Abstract: Definition of the words “argument” and “counterargument” in a case study research with 91 Greek students of 5th and 6th grade present children’s prior knowledge on argumentation and persuasive writing. This study is a part of broader research concerning teaching experimental strategies of an intervention program in Greek public schools with teaching and learning persuasive language, and meaning making in a writing class. The authors discuss the results of this study in evaluation of a questionnaire’s data. The data confirm the existence of cognitive, meta-cognitive and meta-linguistic limitations in their intervention: Children’s pre-existing understanding of concepts and terms, such as “argument”, “counterargument”, “fallacy”, etc., is limited, if not absent. Findings on students’ limited declarative knowledge in defining what an “argument” or a “counterargument” is, indicate the need of a systematic and effective integration of arguments and especially this of counterarguments, as procedural knowledge in teaching argumentative writing with children at the age of 10-12 years.
Key words: definition; argument; counterargument; teaching; writing
An optimum medium for developing abilities such as critical thinking and analysis of an argumentative text down to its components, is the early and systematic training of students in argumentative writing within a school context. An effective way of reaching this goal could be to expose the students to interactive pactives conducive to writing as a social act- able to «address self in society and social relation to self» (Shor, 1987, p. 95). Rhetorical pedagogy is closely related to this effort (freeley and Steinberg, 2009, p.3; Johnson, 1996, p. 46; Strnberg & Spear-Swerling, 1996, pp. 66-8).
Summary: This paper concerns the contribution of imitatio to the argumentative writing of
twenty three 11-years old students of an elementary school (case-study) in the context
of a socially constructed classroom. Through the lecture, listening, analysis and explicit teaching of the argumentative topics and stylistic figures found in a hybrid literary-argumentative text, students were conduced to the mimesis and genesis of multiple persuasive arguments. Imitatio seemed to influence positively the student’s argumentative writing. The qualitative analysis of the final written argumentative texts showed a better awareness of the argumentative genre. Also, the quantification of
data revealed an increased use of the argumentative topics of relations (cause-effect,
antithesis) and of the figure of rhetorical questions.
Key words: imitation, argumentative writing, genre, elementary school
Abstract: This paper aims at presenting the influence of classical, educational principles of rhetoric on the Toastmasters educational program. Toastmasters is an eminent, international organization which aims at instilling communication and leadership skills in its members in a constructionist and pressure-free educational setting. In this context, the ancient theory de ratione dicendi seems to be perfectly applied, interwoven with modern communication theories on public speaking. The research reveals that traditional rhetorical principles and practices continue to be the necessary equipment that each member of Toastmasters should acquire in order to become successful in public speaking. The statistical analysis of the questionnaire given to the active members of the Hellenic Toastmasters Club brings out their profile, their interests and the multiplicity of benefits that are expected to be received in the above educational setting.
Key words: Toastmasters, communication (skills), leadership (skills), public speaking, adult education, lifelong learning