Informal Reasoning and Education

Informal Reasoning and Education

Informal Reasoning and Education

Informal Reasoning and Education

Synopsis

Based on extensive reasoning acquisition research, this volume provides theoretical and empirical considerations of the reasoning that occurs during the course of everyday personal and professional activities. Of particular interest is the text's focus on the question of how such reasoning takes place during school activities and how students acquire reasoning skills.

Excerpt

Reasoning has long been considered one of the highest forms of mental activity. Indeed, it plays an important role in virtually all areas of life, including the vocational, the civic, the social, and the academic. People who are good reasoners generally excel, or so it is believed.

Although reasoning has always been held in high esteem, many would argue that it is even more important to success in daily life now than ever before. We live in a highly complex and rapidly changing technological environment. Information about complicated issues fill the pages of our newspapers, demanding a high level of reasoning proficiency on the part of all citizens. The workplace is also changing in ways that place greater demands on reasoning. Recent trend data suggest that, in the economy of the future, a substantially larger segment of the workforce can expect to encounter challenging reasoning requirements than do so today. Offering evidence in support of this point, the Hudson Institute (1987) reported that the fastest growing occupations in the United States require a high level of proficiency in reasoning. By contrast, occupations that are declining in size require a low level of proficiency. Using current economic statistics to predict the skill requirements of the labor force in the year 2000, occupations that are now in the middle of the skill requirement distribution for mathematics, language, and reasoning proficiency will become the least skilled occupations of the future.

Because reasoning plays such an important role in our lives, it is not surprising that educators have always aimed to teach children how to reason. The . . .

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