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Title: Problems with Argumentation in Philosophy: A Longitudinal Case Study Aimed at Improving our Understanding of Teaching and Learning of Argumentation in Philosophy at A-Level.
Authors: Stephens, Karen A.
Supervisors: Pedder, David
Taysum, Alison
Woodhouse, Joan
Award date: 26-Oct-2018
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: The teaching and acquisition of argumentative writing skills continues to challenge teachers and students. This longitudinal case study examined these challenges within the context of A-Level Philosophy. A systematic literature review explored previous understandings and theory in relation to problems encountered by students, and strategies employed by teachers and students in teaching and learning argumentation skills. A small base of empirical literature aimed at cross-curricular argumentation was identified, exploring various tensions between aspects or types of arguments that students find more or less problematic. Conclusions of this review identify disparities between student performance in narrative and argumentation, and verbal and written argumentation. My case study followed the teaching, learning and progress of two teachers and four students, scrutinising teaching strategies, observations, interviews, questionnaires, students’ and teachers’ reflective diaries and examination scripts over the two-year course. Emergent themes and elements of argumentation were analysed against existing literature to develop understanding of each, together with challenges and successes experienced by teachers and students. The study’s original contribution to knowledge is its analysis of these within an A-Level context plus insights gained into aspects of written argumentation and teaching and learning strategies that were developed and evaluated. Findings showed students experience a range of challenges moving from GCSE-Level expectations and strategies to A-Level study. Suggestions are made to help them make this transition, but the findings also raised questions around students’ study habits, including development and study of approaches designed to encourage students’ independence and responsibility. The study focuses on students’ perspectives, affording insights into their experience, highlighting areas they found particularly problematic. These findings will have significance for teachers of philosophy at all level but will be particularly significant for teachers of philosophy at A-Level. Findings from the study are utilised in providing a general assessment of the new A-Level Philosophy specification.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: EdD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, School of Education

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