Informal Logic: The Art of Argument (Section 1)
with Mrs. Joelle Hodge
Term: Yearlong 2017–18, September 5–May 18
Instructor: Joelle Hodge
Grade Level: Grades 7–12
Schedule: Mondays & Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. (ET), 60–75 min.
Middle and high school students will argue (and sometimes quarrel), but they won’t argue well without good training. Students who complete this course will know how to reason with clarity, relevance, and purpose . . . and have fun along the way! They will study and master 28 logical fallacies, which will provide an essential lifetime framework for filtering good and bad reasoning as well as writing and speaking effectively. This mastery of informal logic is a foundational subject by which other subjects are evaluated, assessed, and learned.
In this course junior high and high school students study how reasoning goes wrong. It take students through the most common fallacies, classified in three major groups: 1) fallacies of relevance, 2) fallacies of presupposition, and 3) fallacies of clarity. Studying with the award-winning text The Art of Argument, students trace the way fallacies creep into (and sometimes infest) advertising, news reporting, political debate and discussion, and debate about every topic imaginable. After completing the text, students go on to apply their understanding to current events through writing and a final project. The course seeks to impart to students a kind of “logical judo” that helps them detect fallacious reasoning and protect themselves from rampant propaganda.
For a closer look at the text used in this course, please follow this link and click “Look Inside”: The Art of Argument.
Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this course. Please see the course syllabus (below) for a detailed description of student expectations for this course.
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in composition, speech and debate, or logic.
Course Syllabus: Informal Logic Syllabus 2017-18
“Mrs. Hodge is passionate about logic! She is respectful to the students and, in turn, creates an environment where they respect her. She is conscientious and moves through the material at a proper pace, while allowing time for students to ask questions. Mrs. Hodge provides an environment where my students look forward to class, enjoy stimulating discussion, and are challenged to think.”
—Scholé Academy Parent
The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Papers and essays will be submitted using basic MLA formatting guides. This handbook may be a helpful resource.
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
Joelle Hodge holds a BA in history/political science from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She began her career as a staffer to United States Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa) before finding her professional home in the world of classical education in 1999.
She has more than eighteen years of logic-teaching experience—many of which were spent at a classical school in Harrisburg, PA. There she also developed much of their logic and rhetoric curricula. She has coauthored two logic books, The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies and The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic, both published by Classical Academic Press.
Currently, Classical Academic Press hosts Joelle’s consultant offerings, where she engages with educators across the country, tailoring workshops for classical schools and co-ops that seek to train their teachers in the fundamentals of dialectic and rhetoric-stage pedagogy. Through Scholé Academy, she continues to offer online courses in logic and rhetoric, as well as summer tutorials in mathematics and student-skills development. Beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, she will also serve as Senior Teacher for Scholé Academy, where she will not only continue to offer courses, but also assist other SA teachers in developing their most productive and inspiring classrooms. Concurrently, Joelle provides year-round, private, multidiscipline tutoring services to a classically educated family living abroad.
from Classical Academic Press
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