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Using Argument Maps to Develop Argumentation Skills

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Students’ ability to design and understand their arguments can improve by teaching the relatively simple skills of argument mapping. While dozens of software programs such as Rationale and Augumentative make applying this skill relatively easy, teachers and students can apply simple rules with blank pieces of paper and colored pencils to practice the process of mapping and improve the skills of critical reflection while constructing one’s own or analyzing another’s argument. This workshop will give a brief overview of the history and key ideas behind argument mapping, and will be practically oriented to equip teachers with a useful tool for helping their high school aged students develop critical thinking and argumentation skills. Students working on their senior theses, debate team participants, mock trial participants, and students just trying to write a well-crafted essay will all benefit from practicing with argument maps.