Informal Logic: The Art of Argument
Term: Yearlong 2018–19, September 4–May 24
Target Grade Levels: Grades 7–9; 10th–12th graders welcome (see placement details below)
Schedule: 2x / week, 60–75 min.
Course Sections (Choose One)
Section 1: M/W 11:00 a.m. EST with Mrs. Gerard
Section 2: T/Th 12:30 p.m. EST with Mr. Schambach
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 twenty-eight 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 takes 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 ways 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.
Placement: There are no formal prerequisites for this course. When considering whether this course is a good fit for your student, please consider that in addition to readiness for the course content, students should be developmentally prepared to engage in a 7th- to 9th-grade corporate learning environment as well as the online classroom dynamic. 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 (2018-19 course syllabus coming soon!)
“I appreciate that the instructors challenge students to think without just teaching facts and processes. They are more concerned with understanding than with simple repetition for the sake of the assignments.” — Scholé Academy Parent
The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
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.
Emily Gerard is a graduate of Gordon College (BA, political science and philosophy) and The Johns Hopkins University (MA, government). She has taught philosophy, rhetoric, and Latin for the past five years, most recently at a classical school in downtown York, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Gerard currently lives in York with her husband, their young daughter, and a border collie.
Jimmy Schambach holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University, and a BA in Theology and Philosophy from Evangel University. Currently, he works as the Executive Director of a faith-based, non-profit organization called M28 Ministry, which operates out of Harrisburg, PA. In his past, Jimmy worked as a Youth and Young Adult Pastor at a large church in Indianapolis, IN. Since his time in college, Jimmy has grown in his love for Philosophy, Logic, and Theology. He as taught in many settings over the years and looks forward to teaching as part of Scholé Academy. Jimmy and his wife, Tristin, live in Camp Hill, PA, where they are expecting their first child in March 2018.
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.
from Classical Academic Press
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