I’ve attached a persuasive essay and a Toulmin model article. Which elements of the Toulmin model are used in the essay? Determine which ones are not used and the way in which the writer could...

I’ve attached a persuasive essay and a Toulmin model article.

Which elements of the Toulmin model are used in the essay? Determine which ones are not used and the way in which the writer could have included those elements in the essay to make the arguments stronger.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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When writing a persuasive essay, the main consideration is its capacity to actually persuade others to accept, or at least consider, a point of view they may have previously discarded or ignored. It is therefore essential to capture their interest as quickly as possible, or risk them losing interest. Stephen Toulmin, a scientist and philosopher, found that logical arguments overlook certain elements in arriving at conclusions and so he developed his own model, consisting of six basic parts, which allows the writer or reader to recognize the strengths and the limitations of the argument being presented.  

The short essay under discussion- "School Uniforms Should Not Be Required"- can be analysed using Toulmin's method, to verify the arguments and consider improvements which would have made the arguments stronger.

The writer's main claim is that the wearing of school uniforms should not be enforced. Using the heading as a question is a good technique in essay writing. However, in a persuasive essay, giving the readers a choice is not the intention and so giving them too much information about the disadvantages of not wearing a school uniform, and presenting these facts prior to his own argument, may be counter-productive and influence readers negatively. Rebuttal has also not been used effectively, especially in the first and second paragraphs . Although the writer "strongly" disagrees and reminds us that families struggle to afford expensive clothes, he does not qualify this sufficiently or provide backing until later in the essay. Thus, the reader is confused, particularly as the writer has countered his own argument in paragraph two and having presented a rebuttal and a qualifier (many families cannot afford...), he restates the opposing argument, effectively meaning that the warrant in the second paragraph actively supports the opposing view.  

The data comes quite late in the essay. The third paragraph contains all the elements of a good argument. Some writers do prefer to present their argument last as they think that it will be the thing remembered the most and so be most effective. However, in this essay, the reader is now anxious about the necessity for uniforms and the writer must make his argument even stronger to counter (rebuttal) his previous statements. The need for a strong backing must be stressed.

The final paragraph refers to "all of these reasons" but is weak because the reader is still not sure which reasons to focus on. A new claim has been introduced - that teachers need to have a "say" and it countered by the setting of limits. It could have been used in support for the writer's position sooner. Stating that uniforms should not be required needs needs something to qualify it and the reader needs reminding because this is, after all, a persuasive essay. The backing in this final paragraph is logical (kids get to choose and adults set limits) and is important that there should be no opportunity to question this.  

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