The University of Sussex

The design and implementation of classroom activities to teach 7-9 year old children argumentation and listening skills

Lucinda Kerawalla, Darren Pearce, Nicola Yuill, Rosemary Luckin, Amanda Harris

We describe how we designed and implemented classroom activities to encourage 7-9 year old children to practice their collaborative argumentation and decision-making skills. We discuss how the activities provided children with a private space in which they could express and represent their own opinions before comparing it with that of their peer/s. Reasoning and argumentation skills were then used to resource the collaborative process of reaching a final, joint agreement. These activities were to prepare children for their use of a computer interface paradigm – Separate Control Of Shared Space (SCOSS) (see Kerawalla, Pearce, Yuill, Luckin and Harris; under review) , but can also be used independently. We illustrate how the use of physical classroom space, as well as spaces provided on paper, can be used effectively to encourage active participation in constructive argumentation and listening skills.

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