Friday, August 6, 2010

Logical Fallacies

I was looking through the state's GLE (grade level expections) for my daughter's grade level and came upon one that had me shaking my head.  Here's the GLE:

3.2.2 Analyzes and selects language appropriate for specific audiences and purposes.
  • Selects and uses precise and specialized language in content writing (e.g., hypothesis in both science and social studies, hydration in health and fitness).
  • Selects and uses persuasive techniques (e.g., testimonials, bandwagon).
  • Selects and uses literary devices (e.g., simile, metaphor, and personification).
  • Selects and uses poetic devices (e.g., repetition, rhythm, rhyme schemes).
  • Searches for alternatives to commonly used words, particularly in persuasive writing and poetry.

The bullet point that particularly interested me  was the second one.  The examples given of testimonials and bandwagon  are specifically addressed in our Fallacy Detective book as logical fallacies.  Now why, oh why, are the schools teaching our kids to use logical fallacies rather than logical arguments?

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Dana said...

I think that is the difference between persuasive writing and informative writing. It really depends on how they're teaching it, but I remember lessons like that in school and they were very interesting and informative, making you really think more about what your read and hear, especially in commercials.

And who knows, maybe someday your child will want to write ad copy for a living? :)

JoAnn said...

If I were teaching persuasive writing, I'd want my students to use logical arguments to persuade though. "You should use Acme detergent because scientific studies have proven it to remove 50% more dirt than other detergents, making your clothes appear and smell cleaner" is a much better argument than "you should use Acme detergent because Michael Jordan says it's the greatest" or "eighty percent of Americans use Acme detergent, and you should too".

Michelle said...

That should have read "Identifies" persuasive writing techniques. That would make sense.

My seven year old makes a game of watching commercials and shouting "Hey, they're lying!" every time she sees fine print. No they're not always lying, but I've taught her to read the fine print and ignore the shiny celebrity.

Rebecca K. said...

i wonder if that's a mistake, that doesn't even make sense!

JoAnn said...

I think that they actually meant it. Persuasive writing is a style of writing that should be taught. However, one should use logical arguments rather than fallacies to support your argument.