Philosophy: Phenomenology and Logical Forms

Title: Doing Phenomenology
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Philosophy
Authors: Eric Kraemer, Ken Maly, Sheri Ross, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Submission Date: January 24, 2006

Objective: Introduce Phenomenology as a Philosophical Method

Student Learning Outcomes:

a) students will have noticed the perspectival nature of attention/perception
b) students will become aware of how language and words bring something to the perception and how lived experience is historical and part of what we bring to perception.
c) students will note how structured absence makes us aware of the objects as perceived and aware of meaningful engagement in the world.


We found a great benefit to the discussing the lesson and revising it. The students were very able to grasp the perspectival nature of attention. More examples would have helped the students understand that lived experience is historical and part of what we bring to perception, and that language and words bring something to the perception. It is not clear exactly how this exercise could be modified in our to show the social constructed-ness of parts of our experience and the concepts we use to describe our experience. The final section of the class, where the students had to draw what they took to be the relation between their “mind” and the “object perceived” helped students understand a key sub-discipline of philosophy, i.e., philosophy of mind. The last observation we had was that it is difficult to quantify for the purposes of rigorous study the understanding of this feature of philosophy.

Philosophy Lesson Study: Doing Phenomenology

English: Teaching Logical Fallacies

Title: Teaching Logical Fallacies in the English Composition Classroom
Discipline(s) or Field(s): English
Authors: Mialisa Moline, Elizabeth Schneider-Rebozo, Robyne Tiedeman, University of Wisconsin – River Falls
Submission Date: June 8, 2008

Executive Summary:  Sound argumentation is the foundation of rigorous critical thinking and ethical writing. This lesson study analyzes ways to improve student awareness and understanding of logical fallacies, and makes explicit the connection between logic and argumentation. Our lesson study team had two main goals in mind: first, to provide students with the critical thinking tools to support them in identifying logical fallacies when they encounter them and, second, to foster student sensitivity in their own rhetoric and writing to the distinction between sound logic and fallacious logic, valid arguments and invalid arguments. The final lesson design incorporated team findings to make substantive changes to virtually every aspect of the lesson. The lesson in its final version includes four parts: a brief introduction including a two-minute comic video clip of the Monty Python skit known as “The Argument Clinic,” a small-group analysis of a short student-authored argumentative reading containing multiple fallacies (the “Death” essay, which discusses the death penalty), an interactive PowerPoint to alternate between small- and large-group discussion of five common logical fallacies, and a final individual or small-group worksheet that asks students to label examples of logical fallacies. Our team felt that the logical fallacies lesson study was enormously successful; by the end of the second iteration of the lesson, we all felt that student learning was significantly improved. While students of the first iteration responded courteously and expressed positive feelings about the lesson in post-lesson free-write responses, they also revealed a notable amount of confusion about lesson content and purpose. In the second iteration, students demonstrated greater clarity about the underlying purpose of the lesson, and exhibited greater engagement and a higher rate of success in identifying the commonalities and articulating the logical disjunctions in the examples included in the lesson. Overall, students responded much more positively to the second iteration of the lesson, and we attribute this change to improved content, formatting, and delivery.

Below are links to the materials used to teach it.

Communication: Unconventional Lessons in Logic

Title: Unconventional Lessons in Logic
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Public Speaking, Persuasion
Authors: Nancy Norris, Stephanie Rolain-Jacobs, Susan Kirkham, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Submission Date: May 2, 2008

Executive Summary: Three colleagues who teach the basic speech course at the same university found themselves at the same Lesson Study seminar in the spring of 2006 asking the question: Why aren’t my students’ persuasive speeches very persuasive? The answer was the students did not understand the importance of reasoning, or logos, in a persuasive argument. This report explores the systematic process taken to achieve the following short-term lesson study goal: to develop students’ abilities to effectively construct a convincing and ethical argument for a persuasive speech that contains a well-articulated claim/problem and valid and reliable evidence. The specific learning goals for the lesson include the following:

  1. Define and identify the categories of reasoning as they pertain to persuasion.
  2. Name and identify the different types of fallacies associated with the categories of reasoning.
  3. Integrate this knowledge in order to critically assess persuasive messages in printed media and to make a choice based on reasoned argument, on the validity and reliability of the evidence.
  4. Apply this knowledge to effectively construct a convincing persuasive speech. 

After developing new lecture material and an article analysis activity to allow students to reflect on how persuasion works, an improvement was witnessed in the persuasiveness of their students’ speeches. An unforeseen benefit of the Lesson study was that these colleagues gained a better understanding of not only the subject matter and how their students learn, but of the importance of collegiality and lesson sharing.