Deanna Kuhn

Deanna Kuhn
Columbia University | CU · Teachers College

About

207
Publications
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18,935
Citations
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July 1980 - present
Columbia University
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (207)
Book
Full-text available
Building Our Best Future by Deanna Kuhn (author of Education for Thinking, Harvard University Press) offers a text written directly to middle and secondary students. It engages them in a method of well-documented effectiveness, using peer dialog to develop verbal and written skills of argument and critical thinking. Simultaneously it engages them i...
Article
Full-text available
Why does discourse so often seem shallow, with people arguing past one another more than with one another? Might contributing causes be individual and logical rather than only dialogical? We consider here whether there exist errors in reasoning that could be particularly damaging in their effects on argumentive discourse. In particular, we examine...
Article
The potential of individualization to transform learning that new technology makes possible has generated wide interest. We ask here whether individualization has been exploited to its maximum advantage. We explore its potential to provide individualized scaffolding at the meta-level of students’ reflection on their own thinking as they engaged in...
Book
Why not get English-language learners involved in authentic conversations with one another about issues that matter, ones that are worth talking about? This book describes a way to do it.
Chapter
Full-text available
The prevailing US culture is one explanation for a widespread devaluing of serious discourse. Among the numerous potential contributors, factors at the level of the individual have received less attention. Several kinds of evidence are described suggesting that most individuals think simplistically about complex issues. In particular, they do not c...
Article
Full-text available
Schooling traditionally affords students more experience in learning and practicing procedures than in identifying what a situation calls for. When asked to choose appropriate numerical data to support their causal claims, college students perform surprisingly poorly. In one case we describe, almost all chose limited, inconclusive data as sufficien...
Article
The construct of metacognition appears in an ever increasing number and range of contexts in educational, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Can it retain its status as a useful construct in the face of such diverse application? Or is it merely an umbrella term for diverse mental phenomena that are loosely if at all connected? Here I argue fo...
Article
Sixty college students either read a script of a dialog between two individuals holding contrasting positions on the issue of US immigration or read texts containing their two individual position statements on the issue, expressing their same respective views. With this material removed from view, participants expressed in writing their own views o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Schooling traditionally affords students more experience in learning and practicing procedures than in identifying what a situation calls for. When asked to choose appropriate numerical data to support their causal claims, college students perform surprisingly poorly. In one case we describe, almost all chose limited, inconclusive data as sufficien...
Article
Agreement has become widespread that students’ peer-to-peer argumentation should play a central role in science classrooms. Coordinating evidence with claims lies at the heart of a skilled argument. Yet evidence takes numerous forms that pose different interpretational challenges. Might cognitive limitations on the part of the individual student in...
Chapter
Full-text available
Contemporary researchers who study the development of cognitive strategies address a distinctly different set of issues than did those who approached the topic in its infancy in the 1970s. The evolution in study of this topic can be traced from early assumptions that the capacity to behave strategically did not develop until later in childhood to t...
Article
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Student-to-Student Discourse in an Online Environment: Giving students the opportunity to engage intellectually with their peers Association for Middle Level Education Newsletter, Sept. 2020 Online learning has quickly assumed a front-and-center position. Rather than being resigned to putting their intellectual development on hold, we can nurture...
Article
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The discourse of small groups of 3–4 adults enrolled in a graduate business course was audio-recorded as they participated in a computer-supported simulation in which the group represented a firm and worked over a series of eight sessions in making a series of decisions. Discourse transcripts were analyzed using a coding scheme that classified utte...
Chapter
Full-text available
How can we encourage adolescents to ask the most effective questions? Several different lines of research design children’s and adolescents’ learning environments in ways that capitalize on self- initiated, largely self-directed question-asking and answer-seeking. We describe a number of studies indicating that such contexts yield effective outcome...
Article
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Is it important to hear positions opposing one’s own from others who genuinely believe them? We examine whether the thinking of those who engage in discourse with peers who hold an opposing view benefit by hearing arguments favoring the opposing position expressed by individuals known to hold this position. We report on 131 young adolescents who we...
Article
Reconciling divergent accounts is a metacognitive task of a high order. It entails deep thinking about the thought processes of other people, as represented in multiple accounts that may be at odds with one another and with one’s own ideas. Here I emphasize the epistemological foundations of such attempts to understand other people’s thinking as we...
Article
Less than it is an individual ability or skill, critical thinking is a dialogic practice people engage in and commit to, initially interactively and then in interiorized form with the other only implicit. An argument depends for its meaning on how others respond (Gergen, 2015). In advancing arguments, well-practiced thinkers anticipate their defeas...
Article
The thinking underlying people’s positions on complex issues is often of limited scope or complexity, yet changing minds is notoriously difficult. We investigated the thinking underlying people’s positions on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Rather than seek to influence their thinking by engaging them in considering alternative...
Article
Full-text available
Can argumentation practice simultaneously promote knowledge acquisition while advancing skill in the practice itself? We examine the effectiveness of a dialog-based argument curriculum in fostering middle-school students' knowledge acquisition as well as dialogic and written argumentation skill with respect to a content-rich, socially significant t...
Article
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How better can we prepare students for the roles awaiting them as citizens than by engaging them in addressing challenging issues of the day? We describe our experience as a researcher–practitioner partnership with this objective in a yearlong program involving academically low-performing urban middle schoolers and a student-centered instructional...
Article
We describe a dialogic approach to developing argumentive writing whose key components are deep engagement with the topic and extended discourse with peers that provides the activity with both an audience and a purpose. In a dialogic intervention extended over an entire school year, pairs of sixth graders engaged in electronic discourse with peers...
Preprint
Can argumentation practice simultaneously promote knowledge acquisition while advancing skill in the practice itself? We examine the effectiveness of a dialog-based argument curriculum in fostering middle-school students' knowledge acquisition as well as dialogic and written argumentation skill with respect to a content-rich, socially significant t...
Article
Full-text available
Although inquiry learning has increasingly been a topic of empirical research, there has been little investigation of individual differences in this regard. What makes some students more effective inquiry learners than others? We examined two kinds of self-regulation – cognitive regulation and behavior regulation – as possible predictors of individ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The prevailing US culture is one explanation for a widespread devaluing of serious discourse. Among the numerous potential contributors, factors at the level of the individual have received less attention. Several kinds of evidence are described suggesting that most individuals think simplistically about complex issues. In particular, they do not c...
Article
Full-text available
Is there reason to be concerned about what has been seen as an increasing trend for discourse on complex issues to be confined to an “echo chamber” of like-minded individuals? To investigate how thinking regarding an issue changes in form following concentrated discourse with like-minded peers, we undertook a qualitative examination of changes in t...
Article
Full-text available
Deanna Kuhn is a leading figure in the promotion of dialogue to develop students' skills of argument - the foundation of critical thinking and writing. She holds a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in developmental psychology and is professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been editor of t...
Article
Full-text available
We note the development of the widely employed but loosely defined construct of critical thinking from its earliest instantiations as a measure of individual ability to its current status, marked by efforts to better connect the construct to the socially-situated thinking demands of real life. Inquiry and argument are identified as key dimensions i...
Article
Despite its popularity, not enough is known about peer collaboration as a vehicle for cognitive development. We examine 64 early adolescents over several months as they collaborate with same-side and opposing-side peers in argumentation – an activity that requires coordinating own and other perspectives to fulfill a joint goal. Results support the...
Article
Although students in affluent communities most often excel in academic performance, potential downsides of their achievement focus are an increasing concern. Common risk factors in the socio-emotional domain have been identified. Yet less explored is the possibility that such risk extends to intellectual dimensions. In a multi-method study, we admi...
Article
Full-text available
Central to argument are evidence-based claims, requiring coordination of a claim with evidence bearing on it. We advocate a dialogic approach to developing argument skills and in the work reported here examine the further scaffold of prompts that exemplify functions of evidence in relation to a claim. This scaffold was successful in accelerating th...
Article
Full-text available
Young adults received information regarding the platforms of two candidates for mayor of a troubled city. Half constructed a dialogue between advocates of the candidates, and the other half wrote an essay evaluating the candidates’ merits. Both groups then wrote a script for a TV spot favoring their preferred candidate. Results supported our hypoth...
Article
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It is now widely accepted, and indeed emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, that science education should encompass scientific practice as well as science content. By participating in an intellectual community engaged in the broad range of activities that constitute scientific inquiry, rather than simply mastering isolated science pr...
Article
Full-text available
Education for citizenship is more important than ever. The author describes a technology-supported curriculum that engages young teens in electronic discourse with peers on significant personal and societal issues and assists them in decision making on topics ranging from their personal futures to the futures of their communities, nation, and world...
Article
Full-text available
Why are some people more effective learners than others? Despite the centrality of learning to life success, solid, comprehensive answers to this question do not yet exist. Global ability constructs do not provide adequate answers, and the case is made here for the need to go beyond them to closely examine the learning process itself and the multip...
Article
Full-text available
In most assessments of students’ argumentive writing and in most research on the topic, students write on topics for which they have no specific prior preparation. We examined development in the argumentive writing urban middle school students did as part of a two-year dialogic-based intervention in which students engaged deeply with a series of to...
Article
Full-text available
This paper is aimed at combining the advances in argumentation theory with the models used in the field of education to address the issue of improving students’ argumentative behavior by interacting with an expert. The concept of deeper or more sophisticated argumentative strategy is theoretically defined and used to advance two new coding schemes,...
Data
Full-text available
The study presented here examines how interacting with a more capable interlocutor influences use of argumentation strategies in electronic discourse. To address this question, 54 young adolescents participating in an intervention centered on electronic peer dialogs were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control condition. In both cond...
Article
Full-text available
The study presented here examines how interacting with a more capable interlocutor influences use of argumentation strategies in electronic discourse. To address this question, 54 young adolescents participating in an intervention centered on electronic peer dialogs were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control condition. In both cond...
Article
Full-text available
Collaborative intellectual engagement is held in high regard in contemporary educational thought as a pedagogical practice of broad value to K-12 students. To what extent is this enthusiasm warranted? Is the practice uniformly productive, or does variability exist in the contexts in which collaboration is effective, the mechanisms involved, and the...
Article
Full-text available
We report on an extended effort to introduce and evaluate argumentation as a stand-alone component of the middle-school curriculum. The dialogic-focused curriculum continued over two school years and from a research perspective benefitted from the availability of a closely-matched comparison group who participated in a parallel but non-dialogic cur...
Article
Full-text available
Argumentation has been claimed to be ‘the more general human process of which more specific forms of reasoning are a part’. The educational context in which argument is most often practised and assessed is individual expository writing — a skill that teachers routinely report as their most challenging to teach and one in which students typically pe...
Article
Full-text available
Have the Next Generation Science Standards fulfilled a goal of specifying the objectives of precollege science education in clear and exact enough terms to make them readily implementable? Using students’ understanding of the concept of a variable as a case in point, the author suggests that the standards, despite their seeming precision and clarit...
Article
Full-text available
Argumentation is increasingly recognized as a fundamental intellectual skill, but evidence suggests that few adolescents or adults are skilled arguers. This article reports on an extended (3-year, twice weekly) intervention designed to afford dense practice in dialogic argumentation to middle-school students from traditionally academically disadvan...
Book
Full-text available
Argue with Me offers a promising answer to teachers unsure how best to take advantage of new technology and the ease with which students seem able to use it. The flexible curriculum the book presents, geared to 6th-12th graders, is a result of years of research engaging students in argument as a way to develop thinking and writing skills. Argue wit...
Book
Argue with Me offers a promising answer to teachers unsure how best to take advantage of new technology and the ease with which students seem able to use it. The flexible curriculum the book presents, geared to 6th-12th graders, is a result of years of research engaging students in argument as a way to develop thinking and writing skills. Argue wit...
Article
We examine how extended engagement in argumentation with peers leads to enhanced metalevel understanding of argumentive discourse. Following such engagement, young adolescents demonstrated enhanced understanding of counterargument and use of evidence as objectives of skilled argumentation, relative to a nonparticipating comparison group. Among the...
Article
Full-text available
How do inference rules for causal learning themselves change developmentally? A model of the development of causal reasoning must address this question, as well as specify the inference rules. Here, the evidence for developmental changes in processes of causal reasoning is reviewed, with the distinction made between diagnostic causal inference and...
Article
Full-text available
Enthusiasm for problem-based learning (PBL) is widespread, yet there exists little rigorous experimental evidence of its effectiveness, especially in K–12 populations. Reported here is a highly controlled experimental study of PBL in a middle school population. Between- and within-subject comparisons are made of students learning the same material...
Article
It warrants examining how well people can come to argue under supportive conditions, not only what they do under ordinary conditions. Sustained engagement of young people in dialogic argumentation yields more than the temporary "contextual effect" that Mercier & Sperber (M&S) identify in the target article. If such engagement were to become the nor...
Article
Full-text available
Argumentive reasoning skills are featured in the new K-12 Common Standards (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010), yet with little said about their nature or how to instill them. Distinguishing reasoning skills from writing skills, we report on a multiyear intervention that used electronically conducted dialogues on social issues as the med...
Article
Full-text available
In a pedagogical method increasing in popularity, students of all levels—from elementary to post graduate—are likely to be asked to engage in debate with peers. How they understand the purposes and values of argumentive discourse is likely to affect its effectiveness. The 3 studies presented here involve junior high school, senior high school, and...
Article
Full-text available
Problem-based learning (PBL) is widely endorsed as a desirable learning method, particularly in science. Especially in light of the method's heavy demand on resources, evidence-based practice is called for. Rigorous studies of the method's effectiveness, however, are scarce. In Study 1, college students enrolled in an elementary physics course part...
Article
For many years, Inhelder and Piaget’s (1958) theoretical framework has served as a guide for examining cognitive changes emerging during the second decade of life. More recently, excitement has been generated by the identification of developments in the brain through the second decade that may be implicated in cognitive changes that occur during th...
Article
Full-text available
The concept of science as argument, and the view that engaging in scientific argumentation should play a key role in science education, has become widely endorsed. The case is made here that this objective will be enhanced by broad understanding of the nature of argument skills and their directions and patterns of development. A line of research di...
Chapter
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What is Scientific Thinking?Developmental Origins of Scientific ThinkingPhases of Scientific Thinking: Inquiry, Analysis, Inference, and ArgumentThe Role of Meta - Level Processes in Scientific ThinkingScientific Thinking as ArgumentEducating Scientific Thinking and ThinkersReferences
Article
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We asked jurors awaiting trial assignment to listen to a recorded synopsis of an authentic criminal trial and to make a choice among 4 verdict possibilities. Each participant juror then deliberated with another juror whose verdict choice differed, as a microcosm of a full jury's deliberation. Analysis of the transcripts of these deliberations revea...
Article
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In this theoretical essay, the author addresses the existence of divergent evidence, portraying both competence and lack of competence in a fundamental realm of higher order thinking – causal and scientific reasoning – and explores the educational implications. Evidence indicates that these higher order reasoning skills are not ones that can be cou...
Article
Full-text available
We report our efforts to assess the skill of contemplating and evaluating argumentation. An adaptive forced-choice instrument was developed and administered to 6 th grade students, 7 th grade students who had participated in a year-long intervention that successfully strengthened their argumentation production skills, and expert arguers. The instru...
Article
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How does understanding of knowledge and knowing develop and why is it important? This article argues that it provides a critical foundation for the development of intellectual values, which in turn are central to educational outcomes. Because evidence indicates that this development does not routinely occur in the absence of specific efforts to sup...
Article
Full-text available
We present evidence suggesting that the effect of self-explanations on learning is not always beneficial and, in fact, in some contexts has a detrimental effect. Over eight sessions, fourth-graders engaged in investigation of a database with the goal of identifying causal effects. In a separate task, children in one condition also generated self-ex...
Article
Full-text available
The skill of predicting outcomes based on simultaneous effects of multiple factors was examined. Over five sessions, 91 sixth graders engaged this task either individually or in pairs and either preceded or followed by six sessions on the more widely studied inquiry task that requires designing and interpreting experiments to identify individual ef...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate whether the intervention designed by Kuhn and Udell (200319. Kuhn , D. , & Udell , W. ( 2003 ). The development of argument skills . Child Development , 74 ( 5 ), 1245 – 1260 . [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references) to develop argument skills could be implemented productively among adolescent males in a r...
Conference Paper
A method is employed to promote development of argumentation skills utilizing instant-messaging software as the medium of discourse. A major question investigated is transfer of argumentation skills across content domains. Forty sixth graders engaged in electronic discourse on a controversial topic, for half dinosaur extinction (the science topic)...
Article
Full-text available
We identify three aspects of scientific thinking beyond the control-of-variables strategy that we claim are essential for students to master as a foundation for skilled scientific thinking. The first is strategic and involves the ability to coordinate effects of multiple causal influences on an outcome. The second is a mature understanding of the e...
Article
Full-text available
To identify the challenges that students must meet to engage in effective self-directed inquiry, a class was followed for three years, from the fourth through the sixth grades, as they engaged in a sequence of progressively more demanding inquiry activities. Students made substantial progress in understanding the objectives of inquiry, identifying...
Article
Full-text available
We report a study of a class of 28 sixth graders engaged in an extended computer-supported argumentive discourse activity. Participants collaborated with a same-side peer in arguing against successive pairs of peers on the opposing side of an issue. Meta-level awareness was facilitated by conducting the dialogs via instant messaging software, which...
Article
Full-text available
The author reflects on Piaget’s 1972 article, ‘Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood,’ addressed to questions regarding what he alleged to be the final, most advanced level of cognition in his developmental stage theory – formal operations, as described in his 1958 volume coauthored with Inhelder, The growth of logical thinking from...
Chapter
What is scientific thinking?Developmental Origins of Scientific ThinkingCoordination of Theory and Evidence in the Early School YearsPhases of Scientific Thinking: Inquiry, Analysis, Inference, and ArgumentThe Role of Meta-Level Processes in Scientific ThinkingScientific Thinking as a Social ProcessEducating Scientific Thinking and Thinkers
Article
Full-text available
Thirty fourth-grade students participated in an extended intervention previously successful in fostering skills of scientific investigation and inference, notably control of variables (COV). The intervention was similarly successful for a majority of students in the present study, enabling them to isolate the three causal and two noncausal variable...