Wednesday, 9 June 2010

On dialogue, argumentation and reasoning in small children

Don’t tell me children are not able to reason and argue…
A small selection
Son: about 2 years and a half old. Mother and father: two academics of undefined age (“don’t ask to a lady how old she is!”, how they put it in Italy; I will apply the same rule to my husband, in this case)

Socratic dialogue
« Mammi », why is papa at work ?
‘Cause he needs to earn money to buy things.

For example, mozzarella?

Yes, that’s important. Papa works to buy mozzarella.

And why does he stay in the office all day long? I mean, do you need a lot of money just to buy some mozzarella??

...embarrassed silence.

Babies’ education
Little sister is eating some solid food in which “mammi” had put some Grana cheese. Little sister seems not to appreciate it and tends to spit it out
“Why are you spitting it out? (standpoint) It’s Grana cheese! (argument based on the universally acknowledged endoxon: Grana cheese is tasty”

On definition
“Mammi”, are you going to the mums’ playground, the university?

Family relations.
Husband: “wife, I am going”.
He goes.
Son (to his mother): “wife, you know, your mother is my grandmother”.

On heaven.
Son: Why has he gone to heaven?
Mum: you know, everybody goes to heaven at a certain point. Everyone of us.
Son: I see. But I need to know why.

On wooden ceilings
You know, “mammi”, this ceiling once was a tree.
Who told you?
The grandfather did. Then they cut the tree and made the ceiling.
And what was our house doing when there was a tree on the top of it instead of a ceiling?

On cannons.
I have a cannon “mammi”, now I will shoot you!
The battle starts.
“mammi”: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Are you ok?
No, I am not. I am full of holes now.
And are you feeling well?
Not quite. I think I am dead.
Can you cook while you are dead?
No, I suppose I can’t. People do not do things while they are dead, unfortunately.
Let me help you…

Recent metaphors and similes (produced this week).
(1) < “Mammi” goes to pick him up at the nursery. She waits out of the door, which is a decorated opaque glass>.
You know “mammi”, I have seen you out of the door. You looked like a BIG OMELETTE

(2) Young boy drinks water from a bottle that had stayed for some time out of the fridge. It is a very hot day. The water is warm
“mammi”: Oh sorry, it is warm, let me change it!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A new site (Tim van Gelder) on argument mapping

Following a workshop on argument mapping for university-level educators, Tim van Gelder has opened a new website (ARGUMENT MAPPING IN YOUR SUBJECT):

I quote from his description:
"Rather than creating a standard paper handout, I created a small website, Argument Mapping in Your Subject. [..] The website is a kind of portal to resources which might be helpful for educators seeking to better understand argument mapping and how to integrate into the subject they teach, whatever that may be. Mostly the website just links to resources already available elsewhere, but does provide some useful original content including, in particular, some case studies of how educators have incorporated argument mapping into their subjects, one in Economics, and another in Computer Science."