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I'm not so sure that you can lay the blame to visual, auditory, or
kinesthetic modes of learning. Likewise, I'm not arguing that they don't
play a role, but I would challenge whether there is evidence that they play
a dominant role. Instead there are several questions that I have and then
some suggestions.

1. Is there a clear set of learning objectives? Not teaching objectives that
are written for the teacher in organizing their work, but learning
objectives that are designed not only to tell the student what they must
learn, but how they should think about what they must learn.
2. Is the professor doing the concept map for them or is he having them
participate in its construction? Concept maps work best for the person
constructing them. Watching them be constructed isn't as effective in
training the mind to think integratively and critically.
3. Is sufficient use of logical fallacies being taught first? These are fun
and relevant and could serve as the bridge to more involved theory.

Now for some suggestions. These come from a chapter on stress management in
by book for medical students on learning style that is based on
psychological type. In brief, the fourth or least used function as described
in each person's psychological type becomes a weak point in dealing with
stress. In this chapter I have a list of recommendations for each of the
four functions to develop that mode of thinking through recreation, the
strategy being that recreation is a less threatening setting. The following
recommendations are preceded with the admonition to keep one's mind off of
human implications and values and focus on what makes logical sense. Also,
it is helpful to do these things with a friend who is a thinking type.

1. Take turns with your friends pointing out and analyzing the emotional
arguments in political speeches and in advertisements
2. Learn to play chess or bridge or other games of strategy. The necessity
to follow logical rules in order to compete will develop your thinking
skills. (This incidentally also develops perceptual skills that are an
integral part of logical thinking)
3. Try to discover the most efficient way to do different tasks in different
situations such as at home or at school. Discuss with your spouse or
roommate how to arrange your home or apartment to be more efficient. Try not
to offend anybody while you are doing this!
4. Take turns with your friends trying to determine the logical long-range
outcomes of front-page stories in the newspaper.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. I did not intend to assume the
philosophy professor had not thought of innovative approaches. But, I have
come to appreciate that being too close to a subject can create problems. We
may have our content updated and relevant, but often we don't see the
subtleties of information processing that have become second nature to us,
yet are still new to the student.

my best,

john


John W. Pelley, Ph.D.  mailto:[log in to unmask]
Texas Tech Univ. HSC, Lubbock, TX 79430
voice: 806-743-2543 /FAX: 806-743-2990
http://www.ttuhsc.edu/success/

 -----Original Message-----
From:   Steven Runge [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent:   Monday, October 25, 1999 11:25 AM
To:     [log in to unmask]
Subject:        logic problem

I am in need of ideas.

A philosophy professor teaching a course in Reasoning (logic) has just
had some tremendously disheartening exams. I've seen some students'
notes and exercises, and it seems to me he's done some really
interesting stuff with visual learning--he uses something like a concept
map to help teach syllogistic reasoning. IOW, he's certainly no
dinosaur.

Still, there is always a population of students who just can't seem to
get it. (And that holds true for my own experience trying to teach logic
in composition courses: some students always seem to be utterly baffled,
and it's not for lack of trying.) This problem baffles me: logic should,
to some extent, be easy to grasp. After all, is it so utterly alien to
commonsense thinking?

I'd like to believe there must be some way to reach the students that
his methods aren't reaching. Has anyone out there found some workable
approaches to teaching logic? I'm thinking that there must be some
method more adaptable to aural or kinesthetic (or other) learners.

Steve (peacenik) Runge
St. Lawrence U.
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