How to Teach Argumentation to Meet Common Core Standards

One of the requirements of the new Common Core standards for secondary grades is teaching students how to write an argument paper. Many teachers think that persuasive writing is the same as argumentative writing however, there are differences – albeit subtle ones. In persuasive writing, the writer’s goal is to persuade the reader to agree with him and his point of view on the topic. In argumentative writing, the author acknowledges that the “other” side of the argument has some merit and objectively presents the other point of view. In persuasive writing, the author attempts to convince the reader that his viewpoint is the “right” one and may include a heavy reliance on the author’s own opinions.  In argumentative writing, the writer offers credible facts and perspectives to show that there is “sufficient evidence” for his perspective. In persuasive writing, the author identifies a topic and the point of view from which he will argue.  In argumentative writing, the author researches the topic and then aligns with one side while still honoring the valid claims of the opposing viewpoint. Persuasive writing is more personal, passionate and often more emotionally laden. Argumentation presents an idea and a sound rationale for conclusions regardless of whether or not the reader ends up agreeing at the end. The writer is merely stating his position and logic behind his conclusions and perspective.

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