THREE BASIC TYPES OF ARGUMENT
George Hillocks, in his delightfully informative and decidedly helpful book, Teaching Argument Writing (Heinemann, 2011), urges teachers in middle and high school to eschew the typical research paper that allows students to fill their final argument essay with summaries of secondary sources. Rather, he recommends assigning topics that require “real inquiry” (67), pushing students to create surveys or perform interviews to gather primary source data.
He outlines three basic types of argument: fact, judgement or value, and policy. Below are three mini-lessons, one for each of the basic categories. In “Arguments of Facts,” students scrutinize a crime scene photo and read a witness statement to decide if a murder has been committed. “Arguments of Judgment” asks students to examine a print of a soon-to-be king determining if he will be a “good” king. “Arguments of Policy” requires students to solve real-world problems using information gained through survey and personal interviews.
We highly recommend adding a copy of Teaching Argument Writing to your personal or departmental professional bookshelf!
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