Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

McCann, Thomas M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Middle school education; Middle school teachers; Persuasion (Rhetoric)--Study and teaching (Middle school); Common Core State Standards (Education)


This study examines how prepared middle school teachers are to teach argument in the classroom. Specifically, the review focuses on what teachers report that they know about how to teach argument in their classroom, and how they are aligning argument instruction with Common Core State Standards. This study also focuses on what approaches teachers use to instruct argument writing, and what their instruction reveals about what they know about principled practice. A review of the literature highlights the work of Stephen Toulmin and the alignment of his conception of argument patterns with Common Core State Standards. It also focuses on studies in various disciplines that incorporate argument into the classroom. The study relies on a mixed methods approach that examines data from surveys, interviews, and classroom observations. The findings of this study reveal that while most teachers report that they understand the concepts of argument and recognize that argument holds a "special place" in the Common Core State Standards, they lack the training to understand how to incorporate argument into their classroom. Additionally, teachers are not teaching argument in a way that aligns with Common Core State Standards, nor do they teach argument in a way that aligns with practice supported by 50 years of research in the teaching of writing. This study offers several recommendations that may inform future studies, curriculum development, and instructional practices in teaching argument in the middle school classroom.


Advisors: Thomas M. McCann.||Committee members: William Pitney; Elizabeth Wilkins.


175 pages




Northern Illinois University

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