Arguing to Find the Middle

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I saw the title for this post, “How to Win Every Argument” and first thought, “This article could be great for the work that I do, often trying to convince people to do something different than they are already doing!”  Then I jumped in, and it was NOTHING like I thought, but so much better.

From the article:

Next time you state your position, formulate an argument for what you claim and honestly ask yourself whether your argument is any good. Next time you talk with someone who takes a stand, ask them to give you a reason for their view. Spell out their argument fully and charitably. Assess its strength impartially. Raise objections and listen carefully to their replies. This method will require effort, but practice will make you better at it.

These tools can help you win every argument—not in the unhelpful sense of beating your opponents but in the better sense of learning about the issues that divide people, learning why they disagree with us and learning to talk and work together with them. If we readjust our view of arguments—from a verbal fight or tennis game to a reasoned exchange through which we all gain mutual respect and understanding—then we change the very nature of what it means to “win” an argument.

This article was a reminder for me, as it should be for all educators, is that when we see arguments as a “win-lose” proposition, this makes little sense when,

a. We are all on the same team.
b. We all serve the learners in front of us.

I have noticed “camps” over the past few years. You have the “kids should create” camp and the “kids should consume” camp, the “researchers” versus the “innovators,” the “traditionalists” versus the “new.”  What we all need to realize is the answer is rarely in the extremes but most often found in the middle.  By focusing more on how we can we truly win every argument as the author describes, we are less likely to implement “my idea” or “your idea” but the “best ideas” which should always be our focus, no matter where they originate.

Source: George Couros

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