Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 8, Issue 1, Article 5 (June, 2007)
Teaching argumentation through the visual models in a resource-based learning environment

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A total of 38 non-science majors participated in this study, and the participants were all part-time students who work on weekdays and study for Bachelor degree on weekends. The 38 participants all work in the fields of business and management. They joined an eight-weekend logic course (four hours per weekend) from September 2005 to January 2006. The course content was divided into two main parts. In the first part, formal logic/symbolic reasoning was taught for four weekends, and everyday reasoning was for another four weekends. The whole instruction and activity conducted in this study was allocated to the everyday reasoning part, and it took two weekends (a total of 8 hours) for the introduction of the concepts regarding everyday reasoning and visual models of argumentation. Participants' skills of orally presentation were noticed as well.

The steps for implementing this study included the introduction of the concepts regarding everyday reasoning and the previously mentioned three visual models of argumentation. Using the resource-based learning model, participants were asked to search information concerning the GMF issue after class, and choose one of the argumentation models to construct their arguments. Participants needed to provide the reason(s) why they chose this model to construct their arguments and what question(s) they felt interested to explore in a resource-based learning environment concerning GMF. Participants were all requested to present their own ideas and models orally in the class, and could let audiences ask questions during presentation. There was a student guide sheet provided for participants to prepare their presentations and the written reports that were due on the next weekend. The data were analyzed from participants' written reports and researcher's field notes. The guide sheet had seven questions as shown below:

Topic: Will you eat genetically modified food (GMF)?

Q1. Before searching the information regarding GMF, please write down the concept you currently know about GMF.

Q2. What kinds of questions you would like to investigate about GMF?

Q3. Following with Q2, what kinds of resource will you search for answering the questions by you?

Q4. What kind of visual model regarding argumentation would you like to choose for constructing your argument regarding eating GMF or not?

Q5. Following with Q4, why did you not choose the other two models?

Q6. Please present the model of your arguments!

Q7. According to the process while you constructed your argument, have you found any limitation of this model? And have you found any expansion of this model?

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