Journal of Religious Education
Nigel Fancourt & Liam Guilfoyle
The importance of developing students’ argumentation skills is well established across the curriculum: students should grasp how claims are made and supported in different disciplines. One challenge is to follow and thereby agree with or critique the arguments of others, which requires perspective-taking, in tracing these other reasons and reasoning. This challenge is increased when disciplines construct argumentation and perspective-taking differently. Here, we consider the role of perspective-taking in argumentation within and between science education and pluralistic religious education, where the former aims at the justification of scientific claims and the latter at both an empathetic understanding of different religions and worldviews, and personal reasoning. We interpretively analyze student data to identify salient features of students’ strategies to perspective-taking within argumentation. Data from 324 pupils across nine schools are explored in relation to students’ challenges in perspective-taking, strategies for perspective-taking within argumentation, and the use of perspective-taking to construct personal argumentation. The analysis shows some barriers to perspective-taking within argumentation, the range of students’ perspective-taking strategies within argumentation, and how personal argumentation could hermeneutically build upon perspective-taking strategies. The importance and implications of perspective-taking within argumentation across the curriculum are considered highlighting challenges in the etic/emic shift, both within the individual subject as well as across them, and some reflections on how this provides a fresh pedagogical perspective on the science/religions debate are made. To end, we conclude with the wider challenges for disciplines and perspective-taking across schooling and university.
Full article available, open access: Interdisciplinary perspective-taking within argumentation: students’ strategies across science and religious education | SpringerLink