Document 9902926

Using Dialogue to Help Students
Develop Argumentative Essay
Nermine Abd Elkader, PHD
ESL Professor
Sheridan College
1. EAP students: population, expectations, and
2. Teaching argumentative writing
dialogically vs. the traditional formalist approach
3. Dialogic teaching vs. class discussion
4. Practice: how to run a dialogic writing class?
Our EAP student Population
• An EAP student is at an advanced stage of English
language proficiency
• According to Canadian Language Benchmark, such
students can:
“Understand an adequate range of complex texts in
some unpredictable contexts and on some unfamiliar
topics” (Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks,
2012, p. 98)
• “Write formal and informal texts of some
complexity for an adequate range of purposes
and tasks in routine but demanding
situations” (Centre for Canadian Language
Benchmarks, 2012, p. 134)
(Garbe and Zhang, 2013, p. 12)
• In an academic setting but also applicable to many
professional settings.
• Taking notes from a text
• Summarizing text information
• Combining information from multiple text sources
in a synthesis task
• Comparing multiple points of view from written
texts and producing a critical synthesis
• Writing an extended research paper or literature
• Responding to assigned texts (summary and then
Ferris (2009) outlined nine key issues that challenge
L2 students in academic settings in comparison with
their L1 counterparts :
• Limited experience with extensive reading and/or
application of information from reading for writing
• Limited vocabulary knowledge in comparison with
L1 students
• Limited grammatical accuracy
• Differing motivations for being in a classroom
requiring L2 reading/writing tasks
• A relative lack of tacit knowledge about how L2
texts are organized and how they should be
organized while writing (i.e. L2 intuitive
knowledge and extensive practice is largely
• Less L2 cultural and background knowledge to
draw on (cf. Garbe & Zhang, 2013, p. 11)
The Shortcomings of the Formalist
• Five paragraph argumentative essay- Taking a
stand; counterargument and rebuttal
• Encourages a polarized view that might not
be realistic in an academic context, or in the
context of family, citizenship, and/or work (
Juzwik, Borsheim-Black, Caughlan, &
Heintz, 2013)
Might erroneously convey the message that
personal opinion is more important than
correctly interpreting and synthesizing
information from research and experts’
opinion (Spark,1997).
Emphasizes norms rather than creativity
What’s the Dialogic Method of
Teaching Argument?
a) Guided by students’ interest (Grube, 1981)
b) Does not have an end; dialogue is the end (Juzwik
et al., 2013)
c) Dialogue is a free and democratic way of
interacting with and among students. It helps
teachers to be learners and learners to be teachers > emphasizing the skills of 21st century literacies. For
example: comments on online news, articles, and
youtube videos.
• Emphasis on audience, purpose, and logical
reasoning (Juzwik et al., 2013)
• An emphasis on cultural and background
knowledge without which the other’s viewpoint
and evidence cannot be evaluated (Garbe & Zhang,
• As opposed to the traditional class discussion
method with its focus on the teacher as the
initiator , dialogue represents a journey where the
destination is not foreknown but rather unfolds
(Sidorkin, 1999)
How to Dialogue?
• Dialogic provocation (yours/the students)
• Community of Learners (students learning from
one another-different abilities, different
knowledge, background, histories, experiences)
• Internally persuasive discourse (ideas are tested
and are forever testable) -> language used, cultural
references, tone.
Putting it into Practice
1. On your index cards: write few sentences that
describe your experience with students’ loans, or
any type of loans -> do you approve/disapprove of
the idea of loans? Why? Why not?)
2. Share with the person next to you.
3. Read the article “Student Loans”. As you read, write
in the margin, some ideas that might have surprised
you in a positive or a negative way.
Dialoguing about “Student Loans”
Mention evidence
Appealing to personal
experience or immediate
Writer’s assumptions and
Political stance- personal
Use of convincing language
Tone and subjectivity
Using Templates to Compare Texts
• On your index card, try to give a simple answer to the
following question
• “Who is responsible for the environmental crisis?”
• Use the template to provide evidence for or against your
opinion from the articles distributed in class.
• Alternatively, you can refute the evidence provided by these
articles to strengthen your own opinion
• Discuss with the group. Did any of your views change? In
what way?
Wrapping it Up
• The dialogue continues beyond the classroom;
web blogs, online forum, commenting on
news and videos.
• Dialogue can also be conducted informally and
thus highlighting the difference between
academic language and everyday language.
Wrapping it Up
“I do see this flaws in Disney, and I am not a fan of Disney. I
pretty much ignore most new Disney movies that come out.
However, many of these movies are based on classic fairy
tales...they are not new stories invented by Disney. Blame the
cultures that created the fairy tales if you don't like the
stories. As for black characters, um, they have a black princess
now..from that frog movie. I hated the movie, but she does
exist. They also have an Asian princess (Mulan), plus Jasmine
and Pocohontas for "brown" princesses. I like old Disney
(Cinderella, Aladdin, Fantasia), but Beauty and the Beast has
always been one of my favorite fairy tales.” (Andrea B,
Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2012). Canadian Language Benchmarks: English as a
Second Language for Adults. from
Garbe, W, & Zhang, C. (2013). Reading and writing together: A critical component of English for
Academic Purposes teaching and learning TESOL Journal, 4(1), 9- 24.
Grube, G.M.A (1981). Plato. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.
Juzwik, M., Borsheim-Black, C., Caughlan, S., & Heintz, A. (2013). Inspiring dialogue: Talking to learn in
the English classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Sidorkin, A. M. (1999). Beyond discourse: Education, the self, and dialogue. Albany, N.Y.: State
University of New York Press.
Thank You