PV-03: Argumentation, Discussion, Evidence

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PV-03: Argumentation, Discussion, Evidence

Opening statement
It is important to understand that we all build up all our ideas and beliefs through social interaction with others (talking, social media, hearing and reading the views of others). Therefore, evidence that is used to support different peoples’ views can be subject to conflicting or incompatible interpretations.

Why it is important in context of inclusive citizenship education?
Our ideas, beliefs, and understandings of the world are created, or built, through interaction with other people, in conversation, through social media, mass media, and digital media. So our assumptions, beliefs and judgements are always contingent and dependent on the context and our own perspective. Realizing this means it is important to analyse and interpret evidence and arguments, to determine to how far ideas and beliefs seem to be valid, accurate, reliable and appropriate. While participating in inclusive citizenship education debate or discussion it is important that all views are based on and substantiated by evidence and rational arguments. In order to be able to debate and negotiate different views, it is important to evaluate arguments in a constructive manner and accept that different interpretations are possible. In doing so we may be able to discover new perspectives, alternative views or produce new arguments.

Context, issues, processes
Acknowledging the fact that our beliefs and ideas are not natural but built through interaction with others is an important step in becoming aware of how our thought processes may be emotionally biased and limited. Controversial situations and issues sometimes generate inflexible single perspectives. Accepting that our views should be based on evidence, and that the evidence may support multiple interpretations is key to encourage communication and successful dialogue in diverse societies. This understanding emphasises the need to assess arguments and access alternative sources of information. Being able to analyse, interpret, and reflect on beliefs, ideas, and perspectives may contribute to:
• generating new understandings and possibilities;
• challenging fixed and inflexible categories for thinking about society and the world;
• resisting manipulation and “fake news” by looking at how facts and evidence are selected and represented and learning to identify propaganda and hate speech.

Conclusion
Understanding how our worldviews, beliefs and ideas are socially constructed is key to being able to try on new perspectives and realising how inequalities and disadvantages may surround us in many silent and often invisible ways.
Supporting one’s views on evidence and accepting alternative possible interpretations are required attitudes to actively listen to others, which is necessary to participate appropriately and effectively in a culture of democracy.

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