Genre of Argument and Discussion

Lesson Plan


  • Discuss the tone and purpose of argument and disucssion in essays.
  • Identify the discouse structures and organisation features.
  • Analyse how grammar contributes to the organisation of the essay.

Lesson Plan

Before this lesson, you should complete the lesson An Introduction to Genre, so that learners are familiar with the key terms discourse structure and register.

NB: This lesson and lesson plan are divided into two parts!


Explain that this lesson will focus on writing essays with arguments and discussions. For the warm-up questions, accept any reasonable answers and assure the learners that the lesson will cover any doubts. The main idea to elicit is that these types of essay are written with the purposes of providing factual information and persuading the reader.

Depending on the level of your group, this may be a good opportunity to discuss the vaccination programme and related issues. 

Activity 1

Ask learners to read the text and then discuss these questions in small groups or in pairs. Use these questions to familiarise the learners with the text and to activate and discuss their prior-knowledge. If they are unsure about these questions, tell them that they will be answered through the rest of the lesson.

  1. The essay is about giving a vaccine for the Omnicron virus to childrend. Accept any valid facts the learners can find in the text and use to check comprehension.
  2. The author is in favour of giving the vaccine to children. This view can be read in the introduction.
  3. The text is written as an essay with an introduction, main paragraphs and a conclusion. Accept any reasonable answers for the tone such as persuasive, convincing, informative, opinionatedetc.

Next ask the learners to label each paragraph. This is simply to show they understand the organisation of: introduction, main body paragraphs, and conclusion. Then, learners complete the mix-and-match activity on the hand out, and check the answer throught the presentation. Drag the cards together to connect, and double-click to break apart.

Activity 2

Ask learners to reread the first paragraph and then discuss what makes a good introduction. Ask them to identify the background information and thesis statement, using the buttons in the presentation to reveal the correct answer. Accept any reasonable examples for background information. Make sure that they highlight or underline the thesis statement.

Activity 3

Ask the learners to look at the main body paragrahs (2, 3, 4 and 5). See if learners can identify the topic sentences independently and discuss with partners their purpose and how they are formed. Show the four topic sentences in the next slide, and ask learners to contribute their ideas. Learners can then check their understanding through the True/False questions below. 

Activity 4

Learners discuss the questions to check their knowledge or fronted Adverbials. Please note: 

  • 'Adverbial' is a grammatical function label. This means several grammatical grammatical forms can function as Adverbial, such as adverb phrases, prepositon phrases, or subordinate clauses
  • These words can be referred to as connectives or connectors. This can be useful as a general categorisation, but (unlike adverb etc.) does not give us information on how these words work grammatically. The terms connectives and connectors are not used in the National Curriculum.

Discuss the explanation of fronted Adverbials in the next slide. The National Curriculum stipulates using a comma after a fronted Adverbial to separate it from the Subject. However, the comma is not always used, especially with one-word Adverbials before short sentences. With longer sentences, the comma is useful to avoid confusion.

The important job of fronted Adverbials is to connect and organise ideas. See how many fronted adverbials your learners can identify in the essay. Use the word selecting activity to demonstrate and consolidate this understanding.

In the final activity, learners categorise the adverbials to show the ways in which they connect or organise ideas. This activity does not have built-in feedback; it should be clear, but suggested answers are in the teacher's notes. As an extension, ask learners to add any other adverbials they spot in the text, or to add extra ones from their own knowledge

Activity 5

Ask learners to look at the two example sentences and discuss how they differ from the majority of others. Sentence 2 has been simplifed to make the grammatical structure clearer. Although and even if are subordinating conjunctions, making these multi-clause sentences which have more than one Subject and main verb. Note that a comma comes before the second Subject in both examples.

As an extension, learners could rewrite these sentences by reordering the subordinate clause.

Possible reformulations:

  1. A heart disease, myocarditis, is extremely rare although it may be caused by the vaccine.
  2. It is the correct decision to make jabs available to 5-11 year-olds even if this does not seem to make sense.

Activity 6

Ask learners to look again at the essay and to find the main arguments and ideas in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4. This is an opportunity to practise skim and scan reading since the answers can be easily found in the topic sentences.

Ask learners to re-read paragraph 5, which starts with however.Learners discuss what makes this paragraph distinct from the other main body ones and why the author might include one like this. Use the buttons to reveal suggested answers to the questions.

The final activity is to simply recall the main ideas and terminology from the lesson. Learners will build on this knowlege in part 2, which focusses more on language and register features. 



This series of resources explores how genre relates to grammar. The content of the lessons was devised and kindly provided by Prof. Andrew Goatly. You can find some of his publications for purchase on the Amazon website here.

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