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Teaching L2 Argumentative Writing with Computer-supported Collaborative Argumentation

Mei-Hung Lin
Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan


Argumentation has long been recognized as an important skill across disciplines in higher education. Argumentative writing is not only the most common genre that undergraduates have to write (Wu, 2006), but also “at the heart of second language writing (SLW) assessment (Hirvela, 2017, p.69).” However, despite the difficulties L2 students experience in constructing effective or strong arguments (de Oliveira, 2011; Mitchell & Pessoa, 2017), we still know relatively little about argumentation in SLW, particularly how it is taught and learned in the L2 context. Therefore, the study aimed at examining the effectiveness of a pedagogy developed for teaching L2 argumentative writing with computer-supported collaborative argumentation, addressing the most commonly reported problem of L2 argumentation – the quality of argumentation.

The one-group pretest-posttest design was implemented. A theoretically-motivated instructional framework rooted in both Toulmin’s model (1958) and Walton’s dialogue theory (1996) was developed. During the six-week argumentative writing instruction, students were instructed with notions of argumentation and engaged in synchronous and asynchronous online collaborative argumentation tasks supported by guided discussion questions and online graphic organizers. A mixed-method approach was employed for data analysis; students’ learning outcomes were cross-examined quantitatively through results of self-efficacy survey, knowledge on argumentation test, and the final draft score while qualitative analysis was conducted on the dialogic process of argumentation, online graphic organizers and improvement across drafts. The results showed that the quality of students’ argumentation was effectively enhanced, particularly the computer-supported collaborative argumentation activities enabled students to critically evaluate and revise their arguments. The instructional framework developed, including teaching materials and learning activities, contributed to argumentative writing instruction in SLW, serving as empirically-based and readily available resources for teaching L2 argumentation.


argumentative writing, collaborative argumentation, computer-supported collaborative learning, second language writing

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023