High School Students’ Reasoning Skills and Their Study Habits and Attitude Towards Learning Maricris B. Acido
A major task of education programs is to come up with guidelines and tools to enable students to learn effectively. This is to ensure that students are able to acquire skills for them to carry out their academic and problem solving tasks. UNESCO acknowledges that: On the eve of a new century, there is an unprecedented demand for and a great diversification in… education, and for building the future, for which the younger generations will need to be equipped with new skills, knowledge, and ideals (UNESCO, 1998). The profusion of knowledge and information has led to an increase in the number of issues that students need to resolve inside and outside the school. Knowledge explosion also demands prudence and careful discernment from students who are to choose more relevant and sound data. This would require the acquisition of reasoning skills that would enable them to filter relevant information from irrelevant ones. Reasoning involves providing arguments, premises, justification, and evidence to claims or positions. However, acquisition of reasoning skills requires much from students. It requires good study habits and positive attitudes, as well as good contextual reinforcers and influences. Many educators have noted that learning is dynamic and that it does not occur in a vacuum. Learning happens due to various factors and influences.
It is, therefore, important to direct research efforts in education towards the study and analysis of how these variables facilitate student learning. For this reason, this article focuses on students’ study habits and attitude towards learning and how these influence their acquisition of reasoning skills. It is hoped that student learning can be effectively enhanced by tapping on what students already have in them: the capacity to regulate their study habits and to positively direct their attitudes towards learning.
Reasoning skills and student learning
Reasoning entails presentation of arguments for conflicting views or positions on an issue. Paul & Elder (2006) provide a checklist for reasoning, which primarily highlights giving “inferences by which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data” (p.7). They also emphasize that reasoning “has implications and consequences” (ibid.). Toulmin (2000) moreover underscores the requirements of reasoning which involve “examination of the claim or position in any given issue, and analysis of the evidence and justifications offered to support such claim, along with an analysis of the refutations offered” (p.26). Hence, reasoning skills involve the analytic skills of identifying sound claims or positions from unsound ones such that only applicable and sound consequences could be achieved. It is acknowledged that students need to give positions and decisions on, and to resolve, various issues. This, in turn, demands from them clarity of ideas, justifications of claims, and the passion for critical thinking that are usually taken for granted. Reasoning skills are thus essential to students since they need to be able to discern and make valid and correct decisions on issues and problems concerning their academic and life environments. Moore & Bruder (1996) highlight the importance of reasoning skills to learning: (Reasoning) skills help students think clearly and logically, as answers to issues and problems usually entail making careful distinctions in
Alipato 109 arguments and as solutions to these issues also require logical and critical thinking (p.88). These skills also help students keep an open mind in the face of conflicting ideas or opposing views and “seek solutions that meet standards of coherence and reasonableness” (ibid.). Doronila (1998) highlights the fact that students need to develop a “range of skills and competencies which would enable them to live and work as human persons, develop their...