Good Thinking

Teaching Argument, Persuasion, and Reasoning

A large part of our everyday communication involves argumentation and reasoning—for example, when we want to persuade others, make good purchasing decisions, or analyze the messages we receive from advertisers and politicians. But how well do we prepare students for these tasks? Can they critically evaluate a speaker’s point of view?

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In his new book, Good Thinking, Erik Palmer shows teachers of all subject matters how to transform the activities they already use into openings for improving student thinking. Building on his previous work in Well Spoken (Stenhouse 2011) and Digitally Speaking (Stenhouse 2014), he reveals how all students, not just those in advanced classes, can begin developing sophisticated reasoning skills that will improve their oral and written communications.

Blending theory with practice, Palmer shares a wide range of classroom-tested lessons, including ways to understand argument in paintings and images, address ad hominem attacks using a traveling debate, create a class comedy club, write syllogisms, analyze character and plot development, and teach logic through a class Booger Patrol. He explains complex concepts in simple, practical language that gives teachers a deft understanding of the principles of good arguments, proper use of evidence, persuasive techniques, and rhetorical tricks.

“Once you start looking, you’ll see arguments everywhere,” Palmer writes. “All of them are opportunities to teach good thinking.”

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Good Thinking is a great read. In addition to being easy to digest, it’s also immediately usable. I read this book and took away several ideas to use right away. This book is written for classroom teachers who are strapped for time but want to help their students be successful human beings.

Jennifer Gonzalez
Cult of Pedagogy blog

About the Author(s)

Erik Palmer is an educational consultant based in Denver, Colorado. He didn't start out as an educational consultant, however. Erik left law school and entered the commodity brokerage business. He managed a retail brokerage firm, ultimately incorporated a trading company, and took it public.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introducing Good Thinking

Chapter 2: Thinking in the Standards

Chapter 3: That Seems Logical

Chapter 4: Evaluating Arguments

Chapter 5: Prove It!

Chapter 6: From Argument to Persuasion

Chapter 7: That Seems Reasonable

Chapter 8: Activities to Develop Reasoning



Product Details

Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Media: 152 pp/paper
Year: 2016
Item No: 1064
ISBN: 978-1-62531-064-4
Hashtag: #goodthinkingbook