Learning symbolic logic

 

In addition to Ethics, I teach a lot of logic.  At Century it “counts” as a math transfer credit.  If a student tests into College Algebra, they generally take it.  For the most part, my students test into developmental math.

My students come in scared of logic and anything that looks like math.  In general, it’s my job to push them to see that they can do it.  By the end, most of them can do complex proofs and end up surprising themselves.  That way, it’s very rewarding…

Right now, it’s kind of tough.  They’re taking their first quiz as I type.  It’s about proofs and it’s kind of a big deal in the class.

Preparing for a logic quiz isn’t like other kinds of studying.  You need to practice the kinds of problems you’ll see.  I give my students a reference sheet with all of the valid argument forms and replacement rules.  They use their copy when they do homework and I attach a clean copy to their quiz.  My idea is that Logic isn’t about memorizing rules, but rather how to use a given set of rules.  I also find that it reduces test anxiety AND (maybe better 🙂 ) — it permits me to grade very strictly…

I also advise my students to practice in sets of 5 — since that’s how they’ll be tested.

When taking the test, I advise them to take their time, check their work and be sure they are happy with it once they turn it in.

Other than that, I always write “Good Luck, Be Smart” on the board and let them go.

 

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