Book Study of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”, Term Paper Example
Words: 5839Term Paper
The project undertaken for the present independent reading class included two key components for learning – getting acquainted with the novel of John Steinbeck “Of Mice and Men”, and comprehending a new literacy aspect of written and oral argument/counterargument construction process. The theoretical basis for the present independent reading class was compiled through a detailed review of the literature dedicated to teaching argumentation, explaining why efficient argumentative skills are needed for students, and making them familiar with the basics of argumentation construction. The application for the theoretical skills of argument construction was designed on the example of the novel “of Mice and Men”, which is an in-depth and argument-rich work of John Steinbeck offering a fertile ground for training in argument construction in various aspects of literary analysis.
The novel “Of Mice and Men” has several key messages, and explores a variety of themes such as friendship, isolation, innocence, dreams and plans, the context of the Great Depression, and the emotional burden and trauma of people living in that period. As in other works of John Steinbeck, all characters in “Of Mice and Men” are complex, multi-aspect, and multi-layer personages who present a variety of material for analysis and argumentation. Some features presented in their behavior and actions are ambiguous, while others are clearly delineated. Hence, there is a realm of opportunities to structure the planned book study classes in way so that to enhance structuring of sound arguments and counter-arguments by students.
Taking into account the fact that reasoning and argumentation are strategically essential skills of students that may provide them with substantial aid in professional career and further studies, communicating their point to others, public speaking, persuasiveness, etc., there should be more attention paid to teaching students argumentation and conducting structured arguments. The best way of training these skills is to structure arguments around some multi-perspective issues the opinions about which are numerous, and each of them deserves the right for existence. Analysis of an in-depth classical literary text is one of the best ways of structuring the arguments, since it equips the organizer and students with a finite amount of information to process (i.e., the text of the novel), but at the same time provides virtually boundless space for interpretation and opinion formation. Such arguments in pairs, individually, and in groups are considered as facilitating the mastering of argumentation skills because they resemble the conventional communication patterns, so students are likely not to have the feeling of awkwardness with a new type of activity.
The independent reading class was separated into four classes; one class was preliminary, and familiarized the participants with the basic concepts involved in the study of argument and counterargument. The class also included several exercises constructed for the sake of showing to the students how to conduct argument construction, how to evaluate the arguments for strengths and weaknesses, and how to perform assessment at every stage of argumentation. After these preliminary tasks have been finished, three classes were dedicated to certain aspects of “Of Mice and Men” analysis. The second class was the introductory class about Steinbeck’s novel, and students were asked to perform the message and theme analysis. The third class was dedicated to plot analysis, while the fourth class aimed at helping students to learn to perform character analysis with the help of a structured argument.
It is essential to note that the instructor informed the students about the flaws of effective argument construction during the introductory lessons, and made them familiar with such issues as false confidence, logical fallacy, etc. Hence, the role of the instructor during the subsequent three lessons was to provide the constructive feedback to students on the quality of argument construction that they achieved, and the flaws they still made during their argumentation. Another way of facilitating the outcomes of the lessons was to involve students in both written and oral work on argumentation construction. Moreover, they were involved in peer evaluation and instructor-guided studies, which diversified their learning experience and enabled them to construct their arguments and counter-arguments in various settings, with various interlocutors, in written and oral forms, and under the close guidance of the instructor. All handouts and visuals complementing the theory of argument/counterargument construction and literary analysis have also been distributed to students for their personal use and learning in future reading and literacy classes. The expected learning outcomes of the present book study and literacy class include the improved understanding of the argument’s structure, the ability for flexible and quick construction of argumentation, and the in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men”.
The ability to construct a valid and strong argument and counter-argument is a strategically important and necessary skill of every student, especially in the later grades when the preparation for college and university takes place, and literacy and reading classes should go much far beyond the issues of plain textual comprehension. As Marttunen and Laurinen (2006) admitted, argumentation is considered substantial in cases when the claims made by the individual can be supported from several perspectives, and when the presented arguments relate to the initially made claim meaningfully. Hence, there is a need for every student to be skilful in the generation and presentation of arguments and support their claims for the sake of being successful in both studies and further professional career.
The ability to reason is the fundamental feature of all people; hence, the capacity to reason effectively has always been associated with the ability to express oneself, and to persuade others (Lavery & Hughes, 2008). Possessing strong argumentation skills is of vital importance for any person; as Marttunen and Laurinen (2006) claimed, they
“play an important role in getting one’s voice heard in society. People today are increasingly expected to be able to participate actively in public discussions and to have an influence on political decisions on many, often global, societal issues, such as pollution and the distribution of welfare” (p. 120).
Hence, the large-scale abilities providing people with strategic persuasion skills start from the fundamental argument construction skills’ teaching at school. To be able to participate equally in the argumentative discussions, and to facilitate the critical evaluation of information sources, argumentation skills are vital. Taking into account that reading classes in the 11th grade are mostly focused on the enhancement of students’ abilities to analyze the text, characters, plot, the use of imagery, and the construction of proper argument and counter-argument regarding certain implications and message of the literary work, the piece of literature for the Independent Reading Class was selected among the classical, thought-provoking works.
The novel “Of Mice and Men” was written in 1937 – it is a very complex story in understanding, but at the same time, it may evoke feelings of compassion and friendship in every reader. The critical appraisal of the work may not be confined to analyzing the mental retardation of Lennie, or the dreams and hopes he cherishes with his best friend George – it has a much deeper and more varied complex of items for analysis. However, at the same time, its relatively small size allows completing a data-rich analysis of the plot and characters within three classes. Hence, “Of Mice and Men” has been selected as a work appropriate for holding a meaningful book study directed at the improvement of argument construction and analytical skills of students.
Description of the Project
The project was initiated in the field of reading, since the researcher’s prime professional interest lies within the field of literacy and reading. Taking into account this focus, the project was aimed at an in-depth analysis of a certain literary work, but at the same time, it was designed as a comprehensive and synthetic exercise that would simultaneously make the students familiarized with a new literary work and equip them with some vital literacy and communication skills. As Kuhn (2008) admitted, the majority of middle school and high school teachers emphasize the need to teach students to engage in various discussions so that they would be able to express their opinions, stand their point, and be capable of supporting them with evidence and facts, not by simply stating something. Despite the widely acknowledged need to involve in teaching argument construction, there is also a common understanding that arguments are not in favor for the majority of students; “argument is fine, people may feel, as long as it supports conclusions they like. Otherwise, something’s gone wrong and it’s not to be trusted” (Kuhn, 2008, p. 113). Hence, there is a need to develop a more proactive and informed approach to constructing arguments and counter-arguments, drawing the logical connections and links between premises and conclusions, and equipping students with the power of argumentation in a planned, instructional way. In response to this need, the present project emerged – it is a three-lesson plan for the in-depth book study off Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” preceded by an introductory class on the theory of argument and counter-argument. After being acquainted with the theory of argument construction and practicing on some general exercises, the students receive an opportunity to test their skills at various stages of “Of Mice and Men” analysis, both orally and in writing, both individually and in groups. Hence, the project can be perceived as a two-sided arrangement with dual objectives for gaining literary and communication literacy outcomes.
Set Learning Objectives
- To improve students’ abilities of constructing a logical and thoughtful argument on a certain literary point
- To involve students into in-depth analysis of the plot of the novel “Of Mice and Men”
- To conduct a detailed character analysis of the story “Of Mice and Men”
- To enhance the writing and literacy skills through writing argumentative essays on “Mice and Men”
Participants of the Project
The participants of the project were selected among the 11th grade students available as the audience susceptible to such literacy and reading class objectives and potentially capable of revealing the educational progress through learning to construct the arguments and counter-arguments in a structured and theoretically informed way. The age of all students who participated in the present research is 15-16 years old. The total size of the class that took part in this project is 25 persons; this class includes 14 males and 11 females. The ethnic diversity of the class is also worth mentioning; three students in the class are of Asian origin, one student is African American, and two students are Native Americans. The achievement rates should also be taken into account when assessing the outcomes of the present study; the class includes four low achievers, 3 high achievers, and the rest (18 students) are average achievers.
The procedures involved in the implementation of the present project involved the preliminary class on the key theoretical concepts involved in learning of how to construct the argument and counter-argument, and conducting some training on the construction of argumentation. The materials for the preliminary lesson are included in the set of documents presented at the end of this paper. They encompass the exercises on argument construction, the worksheet on the argument construction, some visuals, and the introductory course containing the definitions of key terms involved in the topic of argument and counter-argument. After these theoretical issues are clarified, the topic is delineated, and all worksheets are discussed, the application of the knowledge on argument and counter-argument construction is planned for lesson 1 on “Of Mice and Men” discussion.
Class 1 on “Of Mice and Men” presupposes the introduction of the project’s structure and plan, general discussion of the novel and the author, and the delineation of key messages and ideas pursued by Steinbeck in the novel. During Class 1, students are encouraged to communicate their vision of the key message of the novel with proper argumentation and support from the text. For instance, after stating that the core message of “Of Mice and Men” is friendship, hope, dreaming, hopelessness of the times of Depression, isolation, or innocence, the students are welcome to communicate several introductory sentences about whey they regard this theme and message the key idea of “Of Mice and Men”. Students’ ideas on various key messages are recorded on the blackboard for all class to see them, to contrast and compare them, and to generate a more synthetic vision of the novel.
To manage the lesson in the proper direction of argument-counterargument construction, the researcher reminds the basics of proper argument and counter-argument construction to students, and asks them to make the outlines of argumentation on why they consider some ideas on the key message of the novel more appropriate than the others. Looking for the hints at the blackboard where each key message has been accompanied with some bullet points supporting the idea, the students are asked to compose one paragraph for arguing why they think this or that message is the core of “Of Mice and Men”. The students receive 15 minutes of the class time for this purpose; afterwards, several students share their outlines, the organizer helps improve them, and explains the major flaws to the whole class.
The activity on argument construction is thus considered completed. The organizer summarizes the progress of students, and makes notes to each of them regarding their successes and failures. The worksheet with some popular phrases for the construction of arguments and counter-arguments is put to the blackboard as well, and the second part of the lesson is dedicated to the construction of a counter-argument. Students are offered to exchange their paragraphs on the core message with their classmates (the instructor ensures that the students have different opinions), and the students are given another period of 15 minutes to construct a paragraph countering the argument of their classmate. After several students present their counter-arguments, the instructor observes the density and effectiveness with which they use phrases for constructing arguments and counter-arguments, and corrects mistakes if they occur. At the end of the class, the written assignment is given to students for homework: making a short essay on the main topic and message of the novel.
Class 2 is scheduled within one week after Class 1 has taken place to give students enough time to compose their essays, and to memorize the ways in which phrasing and argument construction should be performed. The second lesson has its own topic within the framework of “Of Mice and Men” analysis; plot analysis is undertaken by students. At first, students hand in the written works, and afterwards, they are asked to explain what components of a novel’s plot they know. The organizer puts the key stages of the plot analysis on the blackboard: the visual with the enumeration of such plot elements as initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion is also included in the list of documents attached at the end of the present paper.
During Class 2, students are encouraged by the organizer to make outlines of the plot analysis in several bullet points in their individual workbooks, after which the discussion within the whole class is conducted. Both supportive arguments and counter-arguments are constructed to compose the clear vision of each stage of the “Of Mice and Men” plot. In case a student notes that his or her opinion differs from that of a classmate, he or she is welcome to raise a hand and introduce an alternative argument with reasoning and support. After several alternative viewpoints are presented, there is an opportunity for the rest of the class to take part in the discussion by arguing why they favor this or that viewpoint of their classmate, which is also done in a structured, logical way, with the proper use of argument/counterargument phrasing.
After the discussion is over, and the agreement on all points of the “Of Mice and Men” plot has been achieved and recorded on the blackboard, the students receive the literacy improvement assignment for homework. To students’ surprise, the essays they handed in at the beginning of the lesson are not graded by the organizer, but are given out to other students for studying them and composing a structured, well-reasoned counter-argument essay on the point that their classmates were trying to argue. One of the most important conditions to be voiced at the end of this class is that a student may agree with the opinion voiced in his or her classmate’s work; however, they still have to construct an alternative argument intentionally even if they do not hold an alternative opinion.
Class 3 is held in one week after Class 2; this lesson is dedicated to the character analysis of the main characters in the novel “Of Mice and Men”. Students are encouraged to choose one or two characters, and make outlines of their analysis in several bullet points characterizing the personalities of characters under analysis; after they make outlines, they speak out on each character, and the teacher records the named characteristics of each character on the blackboard. The characters chosen for the analysis during the class are as follows (some minor characters are not included):
- George Milton
- Lennie Small
- Curley’s wife
After the character analysis stage, the organizer asks students about whether they changed their opinion about the main idea/message of the novel, and a final discussion takes place. The organizer gives an assignment to write an argumentative essay on either the key message of the novel or one character of “Of Mice and Men”.
Theoretical Basis for Learning Procedures
Reasoning, as it has already been stated, is the basis of communication among all human beings; hence, the ability to construct sound reasoning is at the center of any speaking endeavor, be it aimed at informing, inviting, or persuading other people in or about something (Griffin, 2008). People are considered to share their knowledge and views in the most effective manner in case they reason with their listeners; when reasoning, people usually use logos, ethos, and pathos, the three elements of logical reasoning (according to Aristotle) to justify connections between evidence and claims they make. Moreover, one has to keep in mind that the reasoning applied by the speaker enables the audience to make inferences, which is important for accepting or countering the presented argument (Griffin, 2008).
The nature of the argument as such involves two concepts – a claim and the support for that claim (Tittle, 2011). In this context, the claim may be understood as a statement or a piece of data on which opinion (or conclusion) is expressed. The support for this claim involves “evidence or reasons related to the claim in such a way as to endorse it or make it acceptable” (Tittle, 2011, p. 23). Such evidence is also called the premise for the conclusion stated by the producer of a certain argument. Hence, the conclusion has to be the logical consequence of the premise to fulfill the requirements for a valid argument.
Lavery and Hughes (2008) emphasized the fact that people are not always involved in conscious reasoning; hence, understanding the way in which reasoning takes place, and learning to control it is inevitably connected with the revelation of the ways in which it is reflected in the human speech. For instance, the active reasoning process is termed “inference” that involves the comprehension of a special relationship between different thoughts. People infer one idea from another one when they believe that the former supports the latter, or makes it reasonable to believe the latter (Lavery & Hughes, 2008). Some inference indicators people use to construct the inference include such words as
- It follows that
- Given that (Lavery & Hughes, 2008, p. 18)
Counter-arguing has been defined by Morreale, Spitzberg, and Barge (2007) as “the ability to identify and construct persuasive discourse against the text and subtexts of media messages – that is, to argue against what the message is arguing for” (p. 441). The authors suggested that an effective way of constructing the counter-argument is to use the data, warrants, and claims that one wants to make as a substitute for the claims presented by the argument creator. Warrants here denote the reasons and justifications using which the counter-argument constructor can prove that the data on which the argument is based are invalid or inaccurately interpreted. Claims represent the conclusions made from the warrants and data and including the counter-argument (Morreale et al., 2007).
Kuhn (2009) claimed that the best and most productive way of developing argument skills is to learn them through the dialogic argument. The main reason for this lies in its closer resemblance to the familiar context of an everyday conservation, which is considered much more productive and effective than the writing or verbal argument can be. The format is familiar to all participants of the learning process, the participants of the dialogue attend to what their partners are saying, and make meaning from those statements (Kuhn, 2009).
One of the essential aspects that the instructor teaching students to construct arguments and counterarguments is to overcome the challenge of students’ comprehension of the argument’s epistemological underpinnings (Kuhn, 2008). As the author claimed, sometimes students may find it hard to understand why they need to argue their points, since there is a much higher prevalence of the choice made for silent agreement instead of involving in a healthy argument to stand one’s point. Hence, Kuhn (2008) offered an extended activity that may communicate the value of argument to students, to help them obtain a rationale of involving into the dense practice of argument, and allowing them to see the advantages thereof in their daily practice and improvement of argumentative skills. The experimentation of Kuhn (2008) implied that continuous practicing helped students complicate their argumentation strategies, and involve in argumentation and counter-argumentation with the use of more enhanced tools than at the beginning of the experiments, which shows how confident the people with strong argument skills feel in a conversation.
It is also necessary to keep in mind that there are some challenges to constructing a sound, clear argument that should be targeted by the instructor both during the process of lesson planning, and during the lesson process. One of such issues requiring dealing with is the false confidence of the argument constructor (Lavery & Hughes, 2008). The concept of false confidence implies that “people are often willing to accept a claim if the speaker presents it with great confidence” (Lavery & Hughes, 2008, p. 251). The confidence aspect is revealed in the choice of words, intonation, the gestures, posture of the speaker, and other features. Presentation of an argument with strong confidence is appropriate in cases when the speaker is absolutely sure about the flawlessness of his or her argument. However, in some cases when questionable claims are presented with false confidence, the audience may be misled by the behavior of the speaker (whose natural leadership skills or strong communicative skills may assist to construct a false but persuasive argumentative message).
Another major challenge of effective argument construction is the logical fallacy. Fallacy means “error”, and the logical fallacy can be referred to as the “mistake in reasoning” taking place when the “argument contains a mistake that makes it invalid” (Shabo, 2010, p. 57). Sternberg, Roediger III, and Halpern (2006) also admitted that the logical fallacies represent misconceptions resulting from faulty reasoning at any point of the reasoning process. As Tittle (2011), Griffin (2008), Kuhn (2009), and other authors repeatedly noted, the construction of an argument should include the understanding of its epistemological underpinnings, which means that the argument should be logical, and the conclusion should flow from its premises. Hence, a logical fallacy is often concealed in an argument, and the choice of wrong premises for making a conclusion, or making a false conclusion from the set of correct premises is the danger that should be avoided in the process of argumentation construction.
Reflecting on the present project’s results, I can say that the major party of my intended learning outcomes and procedures has been successfully implemented in practice. I believe that this happened mainly because of my ability to unite a literacy aspect with the literary learning process. The idea of designing a combined study class that would not only inform the students about a new classical piece and give them additional insights into what Steinbeck wrote about, but would also teach them some practical skill has come to me when I was collecting materials for the class on “Of Mice and Men”. I have recently read the novel, and I was deeply impressed by the ways in which John Steinbeck has managed to create such a short but meaningful, in-depth narrative. I was charmed by his style, and became increasingly interested in the way in which his novel could be explored through a literary analysis class.
However, in the process of data collection, I realized that there is a great amount of critical material on Steinbeck’s works, as on any other classical literary work, and there is a little probability for students to create some new knowledge out of an intensely analyzed and critiqued work of Steinbeck. I am sure that such eternal pieces as Steinbeck’s literature always enable each person reading it to take something unique, something individual from the reading process. Every person makes his or her own conclusions, and remembers such specific pieces. However, I aimed at doing something more than a mere literary class, so I decided to add a challenge to students in the form of making it an unusual literary class.
Since the group in which I performed the reading class was familiar to me, I knew that they are all fine students, and each of them always has something to speak about, some opinion on the literary pieces assigned for reading. Nevertheless, I wanted to improve their self-expression and communication skills, and help them enhance their arguments by giving them an informed approach to argumentation. In the majority of literature classes, students are closely guided by the teacher who asks questions and offers points for discussion, refuses from weak points, and emphasizes strong points. Some students are silent for the whole class, while others have much to say. However, one tendency was common – students spoke the way they felt they should do that, and they rarely made their points structured, leaving the role of an interpreter to the teacher who explicated and clarified their ideas to move on along the debate. I decided to break that vicious circle, and to involve everyone in an informed, conscious argument.
Making the preliminary lesson on the theory of argumentation was the decision made not at once. Initially, I planned to make one lesson to accomplish the study of “Of Mice and Men”; later, after the consultation with my supervisor, I understood that the great variety of textual and analytical information associated with reading ‘Of Mice and Men” is virtually impossible to insert into one school lesson. Hence, I changed the lesson plan to three lessons, and divided the plan into one lesson of theme and message analysis, the second lesson – for plot analysis, and the third lesson – for character analysis. Nevertheless, I understood that argument construction, namely the explicit, structured, and conscious one, was a new activity for the group, and many students could experience problems with arguments, thus preferring not to participate in a discussion not to show their awkwardness. The present tactic could have reduced the activity at the lesson substantially, so I decided to introduce an additional, fourth lesson during which students would manage to train their argument construction skills, solve all issues related to argument construction, try their forces and get their mistakes corrected, which would equip them and make them ready for the next class.
My doubts and fears unfortunately came true, and there was still a significant portion of students who did not manage to grasp the technique of argument construction and apply it in the discussion of “Of Mice and Men” during three subsequent lessons. When the first class was held, and all attention and effort were directed at argument and counter-argument construction, students were focused and made significant progress in all activities. Nevertheless, when the time of the second class came, the focus was shifted to the plot of “Of Mice and Men” and not argument construction. During the first two lessons, students were good in one of the two things – either keeping track of their argument construction process, or giving meaningful commentaries on “Of Mice and Men”. Deriving evidence from this observation, I have concluded that applying the structured argument construction technique, as well as any other communicative or literacy skill in the literature class is impossible in case students are not well acquainted and comfortable with it. The majority of students apply their literacy skills unconsciously after they have spent a sufficient amount of time on training them. Consequently, after only one week has passed upon introducing the materials on argument and counterargument construction, I could not have expected that they would have already developed the automatic skills and comprehension thereof to perform both the argument construction and “Of Mice and Men” analysis simultaneously without allocating significant mental efforts to the words they say and the structures they use in their speech.
Notwithstanding the fact that the first several lessons were tougher and slower than I had initially presupposed, the last lesson on character analysis went on much better, which signaled about the fact that students have already got accustomed to using the structured argument worksheets, they were able to strengthen their own arguments, to counter the arguments of their classmates, and to see the structure of the class’s argumentation process. The progress was evident, and I was glad to see that the knowledge was instilled in their communication in a month after the initial acquaintance with the argument and counterargument as they are. I believe that each skill in communication, both written and oral, has to be trained repeatedly and without pressure – in case we worked on argument construction detached from “Of Mice and Men” analysis for a month, there would be too much conscious focus on the argument/counterargument concepts, and the application of the acquired communicative skills would be slower and more complicated than in the present case when the analysis of Steinbeck’s novel primarily served as a helpful tool for structuring the arguments.
One more thing I want to note regarding what went wrong in the present project is the way students handled each other’s works that were given to them for counter-argument construction after Class 2. I noted that many students exchanged works and constructed counter-arguments for their own works because their classmates asked them about this, or asked to clarify their points, which shows that some works were poorly or too well written, impeding the understanding of the argumentation. Obviously, I now understand that students were at that moment not ready to compose high-quality, structured arguments, and their classmates could have experienced challenges with interpreting their ideas. Hence, I believe that in future, in case I replicate such a project, I will give the task of peer evaluation and counter-argument construction at the final lesson of the project.
Overall, I would like to note that the project was accomplished successfully, and students helped me much in the process because they were personally interested in acquiring the new skill of argument construction, and in the study of “Of Mice and Men”. I have also found out how useful it is to shift the types of interaction continuously, i.e., individual speeches, dialogues, group work, provision of teacher’s guidance or absence of guidance, etc. Students like to be emotionally and intellectually stimulated, which provides them with additional challenges and academic curiosity. Hence, it is the task of the instructor to detect the weak and strong sides of the class, to keep the whole class alert and working, which will help all students understand the lesson, and compose high-quality, meaningful assignments later at home.
The present project was informative and helpful for both me and the class in which I conducted it in many senses. First, we managed to hold a series of combined classes during which the literary analysis was coupled with practicing literacy skills such as effective argument and counterargument construction. Second, we got familiarized with the novel of Steinbeck “Of Mice and Men”, which appeared a very involving and thought-provoking piece of reading. Hence, I believe that the majority of educational objectives and goals established by me were accomplished, for both my interests, and the pleasure and academic progress of the 11th grade students.
What I clearly understood upon completing this project is that the last grades of high school are strategically important for students because they represent the last chance of the school to contribute to the personal and academic growth of students. At times, the possession of certain communicative and academic skills can determine the further academic success of students – the abilities to communicate and speak clearly, to argument one’s point, to speak in public, to write concisely and logically have always been valued very highly in the universities and colleges. Hence, students who have been taught to argue their points effectively, and to speak and write argumentatively possess better chances for success in their future education and employment. A person who can persuade other people, and who is able to present his or her point of view calmly, reasonably, and with supporting evidence is much more likely to achieve his or her goals, and get the desired. Therefore, I focused on strengthening these communicative skills of students for the sake of their further communicative proficiency and success.
Such projects should be conducted more and more often for the sake of enabling the students to try new, more flexible and more sensitive, approaches to conducting studies and voicing their opinions. The participation in a literary class does not grant a person an excellent mark only because he or she has read the book; the modern student has to be a strong, critically thinking personality able to stand his or her ground and employ evidence supporting it. Assertiveness and sobriety of judgment are the valuable tools through which modern students can continue learning in a self-directed way, which is also a strategically essential tool of modern educational establishments and their attendees. Hence, the task of educators is to equip their students with the abilities and skills of sorting out information, constructing arguments, searching relevant data etc. to enhance their learning skills for their future advancement as personalities and knowledge generators.
Griffin, C. L. (2008). Invitation to Public Speaking. (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Kuhn, D. (2009). Education for Thinking. New York, NY: Harvard University Press.
Lavery, J., & Hughes, W. (2008). Critical Thinking: introduction to Basic Skills. (5th ed.). Buffalo, NY: Broadview Press.
Marttunen, M., & Laurinen, L. (2006). Collaborative Learning through Argument Visualization in Secondary School. In Hogan, S. N. (Eds.), Trends in Learning Research, New York, NY: Nova Publishers.
Morreale, S. P., Spitzberg, B. H., & Barge, J. K. (2007). Human Communication: Motivation, Knowledge, and Skills. (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Shabo, M. (2010). Rhetoric, Logic, and Argumentation: A Guide for Student Writers. Clayton, DE: Prestwick House, Inc.
Sternberg, R. J., Roediger III, H. L., & Halpern, D. F. (2006). Critical Thinking in Psychology. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Tittle, P. (2011). Critical Thinking: An Appeal to Reason. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
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