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Art of Argument: Informal Logic

Middle and high school students will argue (and sometimes quarrel), but they won’t argue well without good training. Students who complete this course will know how to reason with clarity, relevance, and purpose…and have fun along the way!

This course seeks to impart to students a kind of “logical judo” that helps them detect fallacious reasoning and protect themselves from rampant propaganda. As a fundamental text for teaching logic and critical thinking, The Art of Argument will impart to students the skills needed to craft accurate statements and identify the flawed arguments found so frequently in editorials, commercials, newspapers, journals, and every other media—as well as the ability to accurately identify fallacies throughout their course texts, lectures, and other curriculum. The course and text emphasize the practical and real-world application of soundly structured inductive logic.

Using methods such as Socratic dialogue, ample discussion, integration of other subjects, and application to current events, the book is essential for dialectic and rhetoric students.

During the course, students will complete the entire Art of Argument text, learning all 28+ fallacies, identifying them, defining them, and creating them. Students will also be required to write approximately four short essays (4-5 paragraphs) which are intended to highlight specific concepts where students often get stymied.

Visit with instructor, Peter Belfry, about his section of Informal Logic.

There is no prerequisite for enrollment in this course, however it is geared towards rising 7th–12th graders who are able to type and have had some experience writing academic papers, including the following skills: compare/contrast essays, supporting thesis statements with evidence, and MLA formatting.

Image of text book for Art of Argument: Informal Logic

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

Ash White, Lead Logic/Rhetoric Instructor, holds a BA in English and Theatre from Mary Baldwin University, and has taught literature, writing, and logic at the middle and secondary level almost twenty years. Ms. White is passionate about classical education and homeschooling. She and her husband Jon live in the Pittsburgh area, and both are voracious lovers of books and music. If you visit their home, you’ll find it difficult to determine which collection is largest: books or vinyl records!​ awhite.schole@gmail.com

Jimmy Schambach holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University, and a BA in theology and philosophy from Evangel University. Currently, he works as the executive director of a faith-based nonprofit organization called M28 Ministry, which operates out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In his past, Jimmy worked as a youth and young adult pastor at a large church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since his time in college, Jimmy has grown in his love for philosophy, logic, and theology. He has taught in many settings over the years and enjoys his classes at Scholé Academy. Jimmy and his wife, Tristin, live in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, where they have a young daughter named Aviana and a dog named Panda. jschambach.scholeacademy@gmail.com

Peter Belfry has a range of teaching and tutoring experience in a variety of subjects and age levels from kindergarten through to adult education at the college level and has taught at several classical, Christian and public schools. He has enjoyed having the experience of teaching Programming and Logic classes to students, which ties well to his background in philosophy and computer science. In addition to serving as an instructor with Schole, Peter serves as a professor of Computer Science and Video Game Development with Canadore College, teaching courses on Operating Systems and programming languages such as Windows, Linux, HTML, CSS, C++, C#, and Visual Basic as well as Artificial Intelligence, Object Oriented Programming, Mathematics, Business and Workplace Skills. Peter holds an Honors BA from Trent University in History as well as a BA in Education, specializing in History and Computer Science. He holds an MA from Knox Theological Seminary in Classical and Christian studies, which provides him a background for teaching from a classical perspective. For his MA program, he read and reflected on many of the Great Books as well as studied Scripture and church history. Peter has completed a week-long teacher training with the Association of Classical Christian Schools and Rockbridge Academy. His favorite piece of classical literature is Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

In addition to teaching, Peter also has experience serving in a pastoral role and enjoys volunteering to serve in his local church and community. He helps in evangelistic outreach as well as teaching lessons from the Bible. Peter has experience and training as an English as a Second Language instructor as well. He has experience teaching both online and in person. He believes in Scholé’s approach in seeking “restful learning” and believes that education should be life-giving and freeing for the soul as it should acknowledge the Lord Jesus as the source of all that is true, good and beautiful. Peter lives in the North Bay, Ontario area with his wife and twin boys.

Peter provides tutoring services with Scholé Academy and teaches the following classes: The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies, Formal Logic: The Discovery of Deduction, The Logic of Computer Programming, and The Art of Computer Programming. pbelfry.scholeacademy@gmail.com

Weslea Bell holds a MA in English from Mississippi State University and has taught Language Arts courses, including Literature, Composition, Mythology, and Logic, for almost thirty years. She has written for various publications and venues and homeschooled her own children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. She enjoys gardening, coffee dates with friends, training her horse, playing piano, and – most of all – spending time with her husband and two daughters. wbell.scholeacademy@gmail.com

Quarter 1

  1. What is Logic: Critical Thinking as a Way of Life
  2. Formal vs. Informal Logic
  3. Fallacies of Relevance: Ad Fontem Arguments
  4. Fallacies of Relevance: Appeals to Emotion

Quarter 2

  1. Continue Fallacies of Relevance: Appeals to Emotion
  2. Fallacies of Relevance: Red Herrings
  3. Unit 1 Cumulative Fallacy Assessment

Quarter 3

  1. Fallacies of Presupposition
  2. Fallacies of Induction
  3. Unit 2 Cumulative Fallacy Assessment

Quarter 4

  1. Fallacies of Clarity
  2. Unit 3 Cumulative Fallacy Assessment
  3. Final Exam
  4. Final Project

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.

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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.

 

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