A big component of informal logic are fallacies. A “fallacy is a pattern of poor reasoning which appears to be (and in this sense mimics) a pattern of good reasoning.” There’s a whole slew of logical fallacies and chances are you’re familiar with a few of them: ad hominems , slippery slopes, red herrings. It’s important to be familiar with as many fallacies as possible so a) you don’t use them and thus lose credibility (ethos!) with your audience, and b) you don’t get sucked into arguments with scalawags who use them. We’ll cover fallacies a bit more in depth in a later post. Stay tuned!
You present a persuasive argument for the abandonment of the 5-paragraph essay and suggest a new format for presenting an argument... However, you did not provide much information on what is expected to go in between your introduction and conclusion? You suggested this format opens the essay to compare/contrast, cause/effect, analysis, etc... but how do you suggest students structure an essay with these approaches in practice? Any piece of writing needs some structure and main ideas that are then supported with various pieces of evidence (whether you are writing a historical thesis or a persuasive essay)... If you are abandoning a "main idea followed by supporting evidence" format, what do you propose should take its place? Or perhaps my understanding of the 5-paragraph essay you are speaking of is incorrect?
It may be argued that within schools there are often special programs for children with different abilities. These programs help some, but there are problems. Often children don't want to be put into a special class because it would make them stand out. Many children would rather be confused or bored than stick out among their peers. They will do anything to not stand out, even sit in a classroom and be bored to the point of insanity. There are children who learn to fake their way through school just so that they won't have to stand out. The children who are in those programs often have serious problems with self-esteem. The other problem is that many schools are underfunded and the special programs are usually the ones that lose money first. People feel that grades are important because they are our way of measuring how well a child is doing in school, but what exactly is being measured? If grades are meant to reflect how well a child has learned something they are not being implemented correctly. Often things such as tardies, absences, and class participation are part of grades. These things really have nothing to do with how much the child is learning. Being late for class does not seriously impair a child's learning abilities, neither does missing a few classes, as long as they get the information. Class participation is no reflection on how well someone is learning, a child can sit in the back of the room and not say a word the whole class period and still walk away having gained more knowledge than anyone else in the class. Grades also do not measure how much work a child is putting into the class (although they are supposed to). Some students are able to put very little work into a class and receive an A, while other students work very hard and only receive Cs. It is commonly thought that schools give people the knowledge they will need in life. Is this really true, however? How much do students actually gain for life in schools that they couldn't learn in a better way? Wouldn't it be more beneficial if students were taught things in ways that showed them the practical uses of the information? What if students were shown how interesting information is and how to find a use for it? What if they could figure out uses for the knowledge themselves? There has to be a better way of giving information to everyone than through schools. A way that does not turn people away from learning. Schools make learning a chore rather than a pleasure. When someone feels that something is a chore they are more likely to fight against it. There has to be a way to make learning a pleasure, because that's what it should be. Children should be shown how important learning is, and schooling is not the way to do it. Our system of schooling is not set up the way it should be. It was created to enhance learning, to teach children what they needed to know. It has strayed from that purpose. Our school system not only does not teach, but it turns students away from learning. Our children deserve better than this. They deserve to be shown how much fun and how beneficial learning can be. Learning can be what gives our lives value, but we are cheating our children of that. The school system needs to be seriously looked at and changed. The future of our world could be shaped by how well our children are prepared for it. They will be better prepared for it if they are shown how important and how rewarding knowledge and confidence can be. If our children are given these building blocks then they will become stronger adults and they will enhance the structure of the human world.