What it is

Argument is the statement of a position supported by evidence. It can have a range of purposes including persuasion, clarification of ideas, resolving disputes, defending a point of view or simply for entertainment. Argument is conveyed through visual, spoken, written and performative modes. Argument may recognise other perspectives which may be implied rather than stated, and will draw a conclusion. Argument may vary in formality, need not be combative and may be built collaboratively in order to solve complex problems.

Why it is important

Argument is the evidence of the development of logical thinking. Over the years, students move from the statement of personal likes and dislikes to the expression of a supported opinion and a reasoned consideration of other positions and finally to the formulation of a thesis in a sustained argument.  Argument is the basis for a great deal of writing done in English and is the form most highly valued in academic writing. It is used in many forms of communication and types of texts. These texts may include: reviews, poems, satire, essays, documentaries, posters, speeches, gestures, stand-up comedy, photo journalism and social media. Students practise and analyse argument in all modes and media as a way of developing their cognitive capacities.

Stage 5

Students understand that the thrust and shape of argument is influenced by the contexts of composition and reception.
They learn that
• argument is the logical development of a supported thesis with the purpose of bringing audiences to a new intellectual or emotional understanding.
• rhetorical devices are chosen for their effect for particular audiences and purposes
• arguments, despite claims to objectivity, come from a particular perspective.

Stage 4

Students understand that argument is the deliberate staging of ideas and feelings, through spoken, visual and written language, in the development of a thesis to influence a response.
They learn that
• argument can be a projection of the individual voice in an individual style
• judicious choice of evidence and language develop the strength of an argument
• a thesis and supporting evidence of an argument provide the framework on which its conclusions are based.

Stage 3

Students understand that an argument takes into account audience, form and purpose.
They learn that
• arguments can be objectively or subjectively presented
• language choices (visual, spoken and written) can strengthen arguments
• an argument may provide an informed assessment of a range of opinions.

Stage 2

Students understand that opinions should be supported by information and ideas presented in a structured way.
They learn that
• opinions can be refined through negotiation with others.
• paragraphs contain a single idea
• paragraphs are made up of topic sentences and evidence
• certain language (eg. description, modality, aspects of images) carries a persuasive force.

Stage 1

Students understand that ideas, information and images need to be expressed in a clear and organised way.
They learn that
• certain phrases (eg I think that…I know that…) project opinion
• images can reinforce ideas
• arguments are expressed through different types of texts, modes and media.


Students have opinions about texts and issues.