I just did a comprehensive of what argumentative writing tools and resources there are available for teachers. Here’s what I’ve found:
- Lots of essay outlines and templates available online.
- Plenty of books on argumentative writing, many of which I’ve looked at:
- Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr., who inspired another generation of English and writing academics who wrote a boatload of books
- They Say, I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. Gerald Graff is best known for originating the phrase “Teach the controversy”.
- And many more. The majority of these, based on this cursory research, appear to be focused on teaching the specific structure of argumentative writing.
And that’s it. We have this huge emphasis on argumentative writing in Common Core, yet nothing available to help except some essay outlines, and books that build on the same concept of teaching structure. No actual tools. To demonstrate argumentative writing, teachers can assign an essay, and that’s it. Still seems like a big gap when you read Common Core, especially Appendix A in its description on the role of Argument in education, the workplace, and decision-making in general. Real world application of argumentative communication is rarely unidirectional, and no tools (except Mootup) seem to provide the multi-directional format needed for true argumentative writing.
I suspect there are more tools and techniques for teaching debate, which may have applicability to argumentative writing, so I’ll explore those at another time.