I'm currently an undergraduate student who wants to do research on the pedagogy of formal logic. As a result, I wanted to know what are some challenges that instructors (or even students for that matter) encounter when teaching introductory formal logic (propositional, first-order, modal). Proofs are the obvious answer, since natural deduction may sometimes not come across as intuitive to students, or just the abstract nature of logic in general. Some students, such as computer science, mathematics, and engineering students may find formal logic easier since it relates to some of their topics (boolean logic, for example), whereas others that aren't as logically inclined may struggle. This is what I have so far. Does anyone have any stories or other examples? Thanks!


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One struggle I've often run into is that logic seems to require a lot of preliminary material before one gets to interesting consequences: there's often a lot of "saying obvious things slowly and carefully" before reaching the interesting consequences.

That sometimes leads students to get bored and check out or drop the course when they might have enjoyed it if they stayed longer.

It also means there's usually a big jump in difficulty part way through the course. But a lot of students get into their routine early in the semester (or other academic time unit) and get used to treating an easy course as not needing a lot of time, and adjust slowly or not at all when that changes. (It can also mean that some students who aren't really sufficiently prepared decide they can handle the course because they find the early material very difficult but doable, but are then in too deep when the course gets harder.)


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