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Enhancing Argumentative Writing Through Oral Arguments

Argumentative writing is a fundamental skill for students to master, as it equips them with the ability to construct coherent arguments, analyze evidence, and persuade their audience effectively. One powerful tool that writing teachers can utilize to support students in developing their argumentative writing skills is the use of oral arguments and the argument protocol. In this post, we will explore the benefits of integrating oral arguments into the writing classroom.

Benefits of Oral Arguments:

Research suggests that engaging in oral arguments can significantly improve students' argumentative writing skills. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, students who participated in structured oral argumentation demonstrated greater proficiency in constructing evidence-based arguments and effectively countering opposing viewpoints compared to those who solely engaged in written argumentation (Frey & Fisher, 2017). Oral arguments promote critical thinking, communication skills, and collaborative learning—all of which are essential components of effective argumentative writing.

Argument Protocol:

The argument protocol provides a structured framework for students to engage in oral arguments effectively. It typically involves the following steps:

  • Claim: Students articulate their main argument or thesis statement.

  • Evidence: Students provide supporting evidence to bolster their claim, citing credible sources and examples.

  • Reasoning: Students explain the rationale behind their argument, connecting evidence to their claim and addressing potential counterarguments.

  • Counterargument: Students anticipate and address potential counterarguments, demonstrating a nuanced understanding of the topic.

  • Rebuttal: Students refute opposing viewpoints by providing additional evidence or strengthening their reasoning.

Lesson Ideas and Activities:

  • Debate Clubs: Establish debate clubs or teams where students can engage in structured debates on relevant topics. Provide guidelines and resources to help students prepare their arguments, conduct research, and practice effective communication skills.

  • Socratic Seminars: Facilitate Socratic seminars where students engage in discussions centered around challenging questions or controversial issues. Encourage students to present and defend their viewpoints using evidence and logical reasoning.

  • Peer Feedback Sessions: Organize peer feedback sessions where students exchange drafts of their argumentative essays and provide constructive feedback to their peers. Emphasize the importance of offering specific praise and suggestions for improvement based on the argument protocol.

  • Role-Playing Activities: Assign roles to students (e.g., advocate, skeptic, moderator) and simulate real-world scenarios where they must present and defend their arguments. This could involve mock trials, legislative hearings, or panel discussions.

  • Multimedia Presentations: Incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, infographics, or multimedia presentations to enhance students' oral arguments. Encourage students to utilize visual aids to support their claims and engage their audience effectively.


  • National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA): Provides resources, curriculum guides, 

  • and professional development opportunities for educators interested in integrating debate and argumentation into their classrooms.

  • Argument Wars: An interactive online game developed by iCivics that allows students to engage in virtual debates on constitutional issues.


Frey, N., & Fisher, D. (2017). Oral argumentation and written argumentation: Similarities, differences, and connections. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 61(5), 525-534.

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