Writing Arguments: Understanding Warrants

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Teach English Writing

One way to help ESL students learn English writing is to teach them how to write arguments following a simplified version of the Toulmin model. When students learn how to write claims with evidence and warrants, they are able to create clear arguments that sound persuasive.

The ability to construct a clear argument is a skill that can serve students well beyond the writing classroom. It can help them in ESL conversation classes, and in the workplace. For example, writing arguments can be very helpful for students who work in a foreign company and need to communicate with buyers and suppliers.

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Teaching Argument Writing: Capture the Idea

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Learn English Argument Writing

This one hour lesson helps ESL students improve their English writing skills by learning how to identify, articulate and judge arguments using a simple critical thinking framework.

The lesson has four parts:

  1. a quick review of the critical think framework
  2. a 5 minute TED video ideal for this type of writing exercise
  3. a ten minute pair work discussion that helps students flush out the main ideas and allows teachers time to provide personalized feedback while circulating around the class
  4.  student writing time

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Writing Judgments With Arguments

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Teach ESL Students How to Write Arguments

This critical thinking lesson teaches students how to write thoughtful and well argued ideas that involve judgments. The focus is to help students understand the role and importance of warrants. Often, these short sentences create a logical connection between claims and evidence. Knowing how to create warrants and use them in a text is one strategy that can greatly improve the clarity and persuasiveness of student writing.

This ESL writing activity is based on work by George Hillocks Jr and his lesson plan in the book, Teaching Argument Writing.

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More Sponge Activities to Teach English

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Sponge Activities that Teach English

Teaching English requires many different skills. One of them is preparation. ESL teachers need a good supply of ready to go materials when the inevitable surprise comes up. Like when a lesson finishes early and you want to fill a gap with a useful activity.

Consider adding these 5 activities to your collection of back pocket activities, fun language-focused exercises, video lessons and pair work discussion builders that require little prep.

Most of the activities are geared towards a conversation class (high beginner+), but  can easily be adapted for writing classes with some imagination.

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