"Argument!" Helping students understand what essay writing is…
"Argument!" Helping students understand what essay writing is about
Argument is regarded as a key feature of successful writing.
Students are generaly anaware that they are expected to develop an argument in their essays.
Methods to teach argumentation are limited and tutors seem uncertain about the concept of argument.
Concepts of argument
Components of argumentation: (development of an argument)
The analysis and evaluation of content knowledge.
The writer's development of a position.
The presentation of that position in a coherent manner.
Conceptualisation of argument
Students and tutors are uncertain about the concept of argumentation, which leads to inadequate advice and teaching of the concept.
Novice writers at the universty experience difficulties to use the three components to develop an argument.
Three patterns of difficuties
Solipsistic voice: Students express their own experiences and opinions without reference to the literuture.
Unaverred voice: Students offer a "patchwork" of other aouthor's views" withoit making own claims.
Unatributed voice: Students make propositions taken from another souce sound as if they were their own ideas.
The Toulmin model approach is proposed to teach argumentation.
The Toulmin model should be used to teach argumentation along with other methods that address the large-scale structure or macro-level of the essay.
The Toulmin model describes argument by the units of claim (then), grounds (since), warrant (because), and backing.
Participants: First year undergraduate students
Objective1: To understand studen'st concept of "argument" upon arrival at the university.
Objective 2: To investigate students' diffculties with argumentation.
Objective 3: To assess current forms of writing instruction and their potential limitations.
Findings and discussion
Students' conceps of argument are mostly partial, narrow or inappropriate for genre essay.
Students' difficulties with argumentation
Analysing and evaluation content knowledge
Category 2: Lack of criticality
Categoty 3: Lack of evidence
Category 5: Unrelated information
Writer's development of a position
Presentation of a position in a coherent manner
Limitations in teaching argumentation
Tutors do not know enough about the requirements and characteristics of the essay genre, therefore, they cannot provide proper instruction to students that have to produce it.
Vague labelling of concepts
Argumentation as the central requirement of academic writing is not addressed by writing guidelines and the tutor.
Improving the teaching of argumentation
The "essay writing framework" is proposed to illustrate students about the requirement of an argument development in essay writing, and provide a common writing instruction.
The teaching of writing should have the development of argument at its strating and central point.