The Argumentative Essay: Blank Student Outline

Here is a detailed graphic organizer for Intermediate/Advanced ESL students that are just beginning to learn the structure of the Argumentative Essay. This blank outline is intended to serve as a prelude to future independent work in writing cogent argumentative essays. The structure of the outline is that it is sub-divided into three columns: The first serves to list exactly what part of the essay is being organized (i.e. Introduction/Development/Conclusion), The second column contains a description of EXACTLY what each of these parts entails. The third column is the "blank" space that students are to use to organize their ideas. In fact, There is enough room for students to write out each part in full. It is to be noted that this initial template contains ONLY ONE development paragraph. At this first stage, the students can use the template to work out only one argument then proceed to the conclusion. Once students have mastered how to develop arguments, subsequent attempts may use 3-4 development boxes which can be added to this chart. I recommend using this initial template with a pre-assigned topic that lends itself to opposing positions and have students collaborate in teams to form one final product. The final filled-in template can be used as a springboard for discussion and teacher troubleshooting.