The Potential of Argument Mapping as a Tool for Teaching Critical Thinking in Secondary School
Abstract: With our modern deluge of information through social media, news and blogs, the importance of giving our children a better understanding of source criticism and critical thinking has become increasingly clear. In the field of critical thinking, the use of argument mapping software, a visual way of structuring arguments, has been shown to increase the understanding of arguments, and college students using the method score as much as three times higher on critical thinking tests. This thesis presents a simplified digital argument mapping tool, developed in order to explore the feasibility of argument mapping for students in secondary school (aged 13-15). The tool is then tested on two secondary school classes. The thesis shows that the students are proficient at basic argument mapping with the tool, but also that the more complex facets of the method require more instruction in order to be used by the students. Recommendations are presented for further development of the argument mapping tool, as well as further studies of critical thinking using argument mapping in secondary school. The thesis has shown the argument mapping has potential for use in secondary school, and should be further studied.
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