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Jingjing Lai
Lesson plan
General Information
Lesson Title:
Introduction to argumentative essay
Class/Student Information:
ESL 015
18 students of diverse population: China, Malaysia, Korea, Middle East, India, etc.
Length of Class:
One hour and 15 minutes. 11:15-12:30 p.m
Overall Instructional Goal (IMPORTANT!):
The goal of this lesson is to introduce the argumentative essay. This lesson will help students
connect their prior knowledge with the concept of argument and understand the key features of
Learning Objectives:
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
1) understand the concept of argument and connect the concept with their cultural understanding
2) identify the stance of an argument
3) use strategies of the argument
PowerPoint, handouts, Youtube video clips
The Lesson Plan
(describe the activities)


(justifications for activities &
grouping of students)

Orientation (15 min)

The students watch the video twice and
discuss the concept of argument as a
Watch a short video clip from the comedy Friends. In this
whole class.
excerpt, two characters Ross and Phoebe are arguing about
This activity aims at orienting students to
Students watch the video clip the first time and think about:
what are Ross and Phoebe arguing about? In the second time think about argument. The video clip is
served as attention grabber.
of watching, students think about: what do Ross and Phoebe
believe an argument is?
The video clip orients students to think about what Ross and Phoebe believe and argument is. The next
activity encourages students to reflect on their understanding of argument.
Presentation (10-15 min.)
Students work in group of 4, write or draw any associations
that they have with the word argument. Questions to
consider: what kinds of associations do you have with this

Students will be assigned into culturallymixed group, so that students can discuss
different cultural understanding towards

word? Do you think your culture has anything to do with

understanding of the word argument? What are the
contexts of argument?
The four groups draw their concept map on the blackboard.
Teacher lead students to discuss the concept map of
argument. Questions to consider: What does argument look
like in different contexts (academia, family, court of law)?
Teacher wraps up the discussion by explaining the
expectations of argument in academia.

This activity draws students attention to
the contexts of argument in relation to
cultural background, identity, and gender.
Concept maps expose students to different
understanding of arguments while draw
their attention to argumentation in

Even though we have not touched upon argumentative essay, I believe all written language actually originates
from speaking. As this is the first lesson of argumentative essay, I want to connect this genre to their daily life. In
the following activity, students will watch the video clip again and look over the transcript to discuss the strategies
of argument.
Engagement (10-15 min.)
Students are a given handout of transcript
Before watching the video again, teacher asks students to
and a few guiding questions, so they can
think about the guiding questions: What are the positions
watch the video with a clear purpose.
they take? What kind of strategies Ross and Phoebe use to
support their position?
After watching the video, students have a short discussion in
groups and then share their thoughts in the class.
During the class discussion, the teacher introduces students to When explaining stance and strategies
of argument, teacher send out handout to
the concept of stance and strategies of argument: logos,
the students and connects students
pathos, ethos.
responses to those concepts
Teacher wraps up the discussion and points out that the
combination of all three strategies work most effectively in
constructing a sound argument.
After explaining examples of argument strategies and stance, I would like students to practice brainstorm
argument strategies for Rosss argumentative essay.
Evaluation (10-15 min.)
Students work in groups and help Ross brainstorm his
argumentative essay using argument strategies.
Each group shares their thoughts to the whole class. The
teacher add comments/explanations if needed.
Summary Statement(s):
Same as recap.
Expansion (5-10 min.)
The teacher refers to the students concept map and asks
whether their understanding of argument changed
The teacher edits the concept map to wrap up the key
characters of the argument, stance, and argument strategies

Students practice take a stance and

argument strategies within groups.
Teacher writes students ideas on the

I think it would be nice to see how much

students understanding of argument has
changed by the end of the class.
If time is limited, I would not cover this

Task 1: Watch Friends video clip

What are Ross and Phoebe arguing about? What do Ross and Phoebe believe an argument is?

2: What is an argument?
Work in groups, write or draw any associations that they have with the word argument. Think
about the following questions: What kinds of associations do you have with this word? Do you think
your culture has anything to do with understanding of the word argument? What are the contexts of



Task 3: Stance and argument strategies

What are the positions they take? What kind of strategies Ross and Phoebe use to support their

Task 4: Brainstorm ideas for argumentative essay

Imagine Ross came back home and decided to write an argumentative essay for the topic of
evolution to a broader audience. What is his stance on this topic? Please use the three strategies of
argument (pathos, logos, ethos) to help Ross brainstorm ideas for an argumentative essay.

Homework: Skim the three texts: Condemn the Crime, Not the Person (pp. 570-573); Shame is Worth
a Try (pp. 574-576); Petty Crime, Outrageous Punishment (pp. 580-584). Choose one to read carefully:
1) find and underline the thesis statement; 2) identify the purpose and main idea of each paragraph; and 3)
in writing, summarize* the article in about one paragraph.
*A good summary should clearly state the main idea of the article, the author's position on the issue, and
a brief discussion of how the author supports his argument.



The use of logic, rationality, and critical reasoning to persuade. Logos

appeals to the mind. Logos seeks to persuade the reader intellectually.
Appeal to the mind/intellect

Logical reasons and explanations

Draw from philosophy and logic

If, then statements


Cause and effect


Definitions of terms

Details that come from

objective reporting


The use of emotion and affect to persuade. Pathos appeals to the

heart and to ones emotions. Pathos seeks to persuade the reader
Appeal to the heart/emotion
Draw from spirituality or
religious traditions
Stories or testimonials
Personal anecdotes or stories

Imagery and figurative language

that provokes an emotional
Powerful words, phrases, or
images that stir up emotion

Details that come from

subjective reporting


The use of authority, credibility, and believability to persuade. Ethos

seeks to persuade the reader that the writer can be trusted and
believed due to his/her noble character or ethical ways in which he/she
is presenting ideas.
Appeal to the writers credibility,
believability, qualifications,
character; relevant biographical
Experience and authority:
person knows the issues and has
experience in the field
Use of credible sources
(experts, scholars)
Accurate citation of sources:
gives credit where credit is due

Uses tentative yet authoritative

language; avoids sweeping
statements like Everyone is doing
this, This is the only way, This
will always work. Instead says,
The research suggests that,
Some experts believe, In my
experience, etc.
Appropriate language: uses
language of the discipline

Script- Text from FRIENDS

FRIENDS: The One Where Heckles Dies / First Aired: 5.10.1995 / Season 2 Episode 3
written by Michael Curtis and Greg Malins.
PHOEBE: That's fine. Go ahead and scoff. You know, there're a lot of things that I don't
believe in, but that doesn't mean they're not true.
JOEY: Such as?
PHOEBE: Like crop circles, or the Bermuda triangle, or evolution?
ROSS: Whoa, whoa, whoa. What, you don't, uh, you don't believe in evolution?
PHOEBE: Nah. Not really.
ROSS: You don't believe in evolution?
PHOEBE: I don't know, it's just, you know...monkeys, Darwin, you know, it's a, it's a
nice story, I just think it's a little too easy.
ROSS: Too easy? Too...The process of every living thing on this planet evolving over
millions of years from single-celled organisms, too easy?
PHOEBE: Yeah, I just don't buy it.
ROSS: Uh, excuse me. Evolution is not for you to buy, Phoebe. Evolution is scientific
fact, like, like, like the air we breathe, like gravity.
PHOEBE: Ok, don't get me started on gravity.
ROSS: You uh, you don't believe in gravity?
PHOEBE: Well, it's not so much that you know, like I don't believe in it, you know, it's
just...I don't know, lately I get the feeling that I'm not so much being pulled down as I am
being pushed.
ROSS: How can you not believe in evolution?
PHOEBE: Just don't. Look at this funky shirt!
ROSS: Pheebs, I have studied evolution my entire adult life. Ok, I can tell you, we have
collected fossils from all over the world that actually show the evolution of different
species, ok? You can literally see them evolving through time.
PHOEBE: Really? You can actually see it?
ROSS: You bet. In the U.S., China, Africa, all over.
PHOEBE: See, I didn't know that.
ROSS: Well, there you go.

PHOEBE: Huh. So now, the real question is, who put those fossils there, and why?
ROSS: Ok, Pheebs. See how I'm making these little toys move? Opposable thumbs.
Without evolution, how do you explain opposable thumbs?
PHOEBE: Maybe the overlords needed them to steer their space crafts.
ROSS: Please tell me you're joking.
PHOEBE: Look, can't we just say that you believe in something, and I don't.
ROSS: No, no, Pheebs, we can't, ok, because-PHOEBE: What is this obsessive need you have to make everyone agree with you? No,
what's that all about? I think, I think maybe it's time you put Ross under the microscope.
ROSS: Is there blood coming out of my ears?
PHOEBE: Uh-oh. It's Scary Scientist Man.
ROSS: Ok, Phoebe, this is it. In this briefcase I carry actual scientific facts. A briefcase of
facts, if you will. Some of these fossils are over 200 million years old.
PHOEBE: Ok, look, before you even start, I'm not denying evolution, ok, I'm just saying
that it's one of the possibilities.
ROSS: It's the only possibility, Phoebe.
PHOEBE: Ok, Ross, could you just open your mind like this much, ok? Wasn't there a
time when the brightest minds in the world believed that the world was flat? And, up
until like what, 50 years ago, you all thought the atom was the smallest thing, until you
split it open, and this like, whole mess of crap came out. Now, are you telling me that you
are so unbelievably arrogant that you can't admit that there's a teeny tiny possibility that
you could be wrong about this?
ROSS: There might be, a teeny, tiny, possibility.
PHOEBE: I can't believe you caved.
ROSS: What?
PHOEBE: You just abandoned your whole belief system. I mean, before, I didn't agree
with you, but at least I respected you. How, how, how are you going to go into work
tomorrow? How, how are you going to face the other science guys? How, how are you
going to face yourself? Oh! That was fun. So who's hungry?