Teach English Writing: Critical Thinking

English Writing Activities to Learn Critical Thinking

Helping students learn arguments through critical thinking is an important part of the ESL writing class. That’s what this exercise does. This lesson is an introduction to critical thinking. It gets students thinking about arguments, persuasion techniques, and missing information.

Writing Lesson

Flow

This ESL writing lesson has 6 main parts.

  1. Review background information (below).
  2. Watch a TV commercial about a special kind of car (hybrid gas and electric)
  3. Summarize the argument in 1 or 2 sentences.
  4. Add a 3 to 5 few sentences to describe the evidence presented in the commercial that supports the argument.
  5. Decide what kind of logic is used to support the argument (logos, pathos or ethos).
  6. Answer this question: what are the problems with the argument or evidence? This could be 1 to 2 paragraphs.

Writing Output

Students will write up their findings and analysis. It’s probably going to be 3 to 5 paragraphs.

Video

This is a TV commercial for the Chevy volt (use closed caption to read the text).

Background

Students may not know about this car. Here is some background information about the Chevy Volt.

  • Car type: hybrid (gas and electricity)
  • Price: $35,000 USD
  • Electric charging: standard 120 volt plug (9-13 hours for a full charge)
  • Size: compact 4 doors, small back seat
  • Similar size gas car: Honda Civic $18,000 USD

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