Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alex's Reading Comprehension / Applied Critical Reasoning Practice



Song:  White Angel

Composer:  Florian Bur





Alex studies this guide everyday.

After his normal school homework...
and his advanced Math studies...
Alex studies this guide to improve his Reading Comprehension and Expressive Writing.


Alex composing his essay using the same time allotted at real SATs.


I then grade his essays.

After he completes all of his scheduled work...
I have just added one more daily area of study.

We both sit on the sofa for a relaxed session of 
structured argumentation and rational discussion.

I have him pick out an SAT article or essay...
we both read it, and then I have him synopsize it.

Afterwards, I ask him his views of it...
and we then enter into a debate on the concept of the article.

We started this daily practice last night.

Alex did well for his first time.





I had explained the formal argumentation process...
the basic rules of debating.

I then illustrated a debate by taking both sides of an argument...
pretending to be Alex (half of the time) so he could see the process as a whole.

I had explained how it is a mental fencing match...
that when the opponent thrusts...
you parry it and you may then make a counter thrust...
or a whole new line of attack.

As Alex already knows many of the basic fallacies of logic...
and he is familiar with Statistics...
he will be able to see false lines of attack and he will be able to effectively counter
once he gets familiar with the debating process.

As we will finish his daily studies with this every evening...
it is something we both look forward to.

It allows for the creative, and the rational, to meld into a single entity.

It is applied Critical Reasoning on the fly.

I call it Liquid Logic...
as it allows the person to...

set logic traps to ensnare the opponent...

to adapt to the opponents thought process 
to be able to anticipate their lines of attack...

 mentally bob and weave using forethought...
thereby setting up a counter before the attack is made.


To be able to effectively debate an issue...
foreknowledge of the issue...
or a firm grasp of the concept...
is necessary.

By making it a competition (formal debate)...
it stimulates the reader to more fully comprehend what has been read.

The full understanding of the article
(reading comprehension)
is, in essence...
the arming of the combatants prior to 
the arena of Intellectual Combat.


This type of exercise stimulates Reading Comprehension...
and exercises Critical Reasoning...
in one highly stimulating daily bout.

I look forward to seeing Alex steadily improve in both areas...
and to be able to see his thought process mature.


This type of exercise also teaches how to engage in a rational discussion
with others...to be able to support one's position with a sound rationale 
and/or the citation of empirical evidence...
all without the commonly used fallacies of logic...
without the emotionally based / subjective arguments.

As part of the debate process...
 he would have to come up with ways to improve a situation...
or to engineer his own solution to a similar problem.

This will engage his creative side...
and will allow him to realize that to defeat an unsound idea...
is still no closer to a solution...
that to deflect blows but to strike no mortal blows of his own...
is still...but a draw.

This will get him into the proper mode of problem resolution.

Once a child starts thinking in this manner...
it becomes automatic.

When this happens...
he then becomes part of the solution...
and on the path to becoming a leader.


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