Symposium on Better Learning through Argumentation

26 Jun 2018

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Symposium on Better Learning through Argumentation

Monday 11th February 2019, Brno

We would like to focus our upcoming symposium on student argumentation as a key feature of classroom discourse. We consider it essential since it is through argumentation that new knowledge is created (Leitão, 2000; Sfard, 2008; Reznitskaya, 2009; Asterhan, & Schwarz, 2016). Engaging students in argumentation is often perceived as the answer to many pressing educational questions, which inquire into how to achieve such goals as increasing the quality of teaching in natural sciences (Zimmerman, 2007; Osborne, 2010; Lehesvuori et al., 2017), developing students’ metacognitive skills (Kuhn et al., 2013), strengthening democratic citizenship education (Alexander, 2008; Segal et al., 2017; Schuitema et al., 2017), and providing students with “new survival skills” for the 21st century (Wagner, 2008). Yet, it is also apparent that fostering such skills in day-to-day teaching is not easy. Therefore, we believe that problems associated with the theoretical underpinning of argumentative discourse, the implementation of argumentative dialogue, and empirical research on argumentative moves are worthy topics for focused discussion at the symposium.

We would like to divide our discussion into three thematic areas. First, we are interested in the philosophical and epistemological consequences for teacher and student argumentation. Since philosophy is the preeminent discipline examining rational thinking, reasoning, and argumentation, it can aid our understanding of meta-linguistic features of argumentation (such as claims, theses, proofs, arguments, and counterarguments). Can we classify student arguments in relation to their difficulty and quality? How do students learn to use their inborn intuition for logical reasoning about justice in their particular culture (Haidt, 2013)?

Second, we would like to address argumentation in teaching. How are students socialised into “a culture of argumentation” (Resnick et al., 2015)? What is the role of peer argumentation in teaching? How can we teach students not to fear argumentation and not to consider disagreement as a negative evaluation of them? How can we enhance the quality of argumentation? How are students taught to argue about fundamental philosophical categories such as justice, duty, authority, and truth?

Third, we are interested in the influences of argumentative discourse. How can student argumentation influence students’ conceptual learning? In which subjects can students achieve better grades using argumentation? How can we empirically prove the effectivity of teaching steeped in argumentation? Which methodological problems resist being overcome on our journey to better understanding classroom discourse and student achievement?

About the Symposium

The symposium is open for academics and researchers engaged within the fields of education, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and anthropology who would focus on classroom discourse, dialogic teaching and student achievement. We would like to discuss the above in a friendly and open atmosphere. The language of the symposium is English. The symposium will last one day and each participant will be given 30 minutes. Approximately 12 participants are expected to participate in the symposium. There will be a symposium dinner.

All accepted papers will be sent to participants a month before the symposium so that the participants can spend the 30-minute sessions discussing research findings, methodology, and further issues related to individual papers.

Abstract Submission

Abstracts for the symposium between 300-500 words are to be submitted to Roman Švaříček ( by Friday 31st August 2018. If an abstract is accepted for the symposium, a working paper (5 pages) should be submitted by Sunday 20th January 2019. All participants will have to read all papers in advance.

Monothematic Issue of Studia Paedagogica

The theme of the forthcoming monothematic issue of Studia paedagogica4/2019 is Better Learning through Argumentation. Selected papers will be part of the monothematic issue of Studia paedagogica, SCOPUS indexed journal. Papers will be submitted to a peer-review process that will enable the editors to select papers for publication. The editors of this issue are Alina Reznitskaya (Montclair State University) and Roman Švaříček (Masaryk University). This monothematic issue will be published in English in December 2019. The deadline for abstracts is February 28, 2019, the deadline for full texts is April 30, 2019.


The symposium will be held at the Department of Educational Sciences, at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University. The Department of Educational Sciences is conveniently located in the city centre.

Symposium fees: Participants pay for the lodging and travel.


Roman Švaříček, Klára Šeďová

Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Educational Sciences


Works Cited  

Alexander, R. 2008. Essays on Pedagogy. London: Routledge.

Asterhan, C. S. C., & Schwarz, B. B. (2016). Argumentation for Learning: Well-Trodden Paths and Unexplored Territories. Educational Psychologist, 51(2), 164–187.

Haidt, J. (2013). The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion. New York: Vintage Books.

Kuhn, D., Zillmer, N., Crowell, A., & Zavala, J. (2013). Developing norms of argumentation: Metacognitive, epistemological, and social dimensions of developing argumentive competence. Cognition and Instruction, 31(4), 456–496.

Lehesvuori, S., Hähkiöniemi, M., Jokiranta, K., Nieminen, P., Hiltunen, J., & Viiri, J. (2018). Enhancing Dialogic Argumentation in Mathematics and Science. Studia Paedagogica, 22(4), 55–76.

Leitão, S. (2000). The Potential of Argument in Knowledge Building. Human Development, 43(6), 332–360.

Kuhn, D., Zillmer, N., Crowell, A., & Zavala, J. (2013). Developing norms of argumentation: Metacognitive, epistemological, and social dimensions of developing argumentive competence. Cognition and Instruction, 31(4), 456–496.

Resnick, L.B., Asterhan, C.S.C. and Clarke, S.N. (2015). ‘Talk, learning and teaching’. In L.B.Resnick, C.S.C.Asterhan, and S.N.Clarke (eds). Socializing Intelligence Through Academic Talk and Dialogue. Washington: AERA, 1-12.

Reznitskaya, A., Kuo, L. jen, Glina, M., & Anderson, R. C. (2009). Measuring argumentative reasoning: What’s behind the numbers? Learning and Individual Differences, 19(2), 219–224.

Segal, A., Pollak, I., & Lefstein, A. (2017). Democracy, voice and dialogic pedagogy: the struggle to be heard and heeded. Language and Education, 31(1), 6–25.

Sfard, A. (2008). Thinking as communicating. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schuitema, J., Radstake, H., van de Pol, J., & Veugelers, W. (2017). Guiding classroom discussions for democratic citizenship education. Educational Studies, 1–31.

Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap: why even our best schools don't teach the new survival skills our children need--and what we can do about it. New York: Basic Books.

Zimmerman, C. (2007). The development of scientific thinking skills in elementary and middle school. Developmental Review, 27, 172–223.

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