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 Writer's Workshop for ESL Students

Weighing an Argument   Building an Argument   Refuting an Argument


Refuting an Argument

A Young ESL Writers' Workshop

Part III:


Students examine the process of refuting an argument: they look at the thesis statement, the main supporting points, and the examples of an opponent's argument and then try to make a counter argument. The first argument they examine is how life has changed after industrialization. Then, on their own, they try to refute an argument .



Print and photocopy the documents for Refuting an Argument. Also, do an Internet search on rain forests and logging to find some facts and arguments for and against logging. You will need this for when the students write their own refutation.



Main Lesson:

(1) Look at the first argument that says the quality of life has decreased after industrialization.  Have the students pick out the thesis, main arguments, and supporting points.


(2) On page two, decide whether the original arguments are true or false. And then make counter arguments.


(3) Go over the three steps to refuting an argument.  Examine the refutation sentence by sentence and decide whether each sentence is:

   (a) Introducing the opponent's argument

   (b) Evaluating the opponent's argument

   (c) Making a counter argument.


(4) Next look at the lexical phrases of making refutations. Go over them with the students. Have the students underline them in the refutation.


(5) Have the students examine the argument for cutting down rain forests. And then, they follow the same process for making a refutation.





This lesson plan was prepared by Chris Gunn who teaches at a university in Korea.





The quality of life has decreased since industrialization:

(1) People were healthier.

(2) People were happier.

(3) People were freer.

Counter Arguments:

People live longer now.

Medicine is more advanced.

More people travel abroad.

More people can vote.

People have more opportunity.