Argumentation Institute Grades 4-12

Monday, January 7 - Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Grade: 3
Featuring: Mary Ehrenworth, Audra Robb, Kristin Smith, Emily Smith, and Tim Steffen

This last year has been a painful and gorgeous year for student activism. Tween and teen voices are raised and being heard around the country as never before. This institute is designed to establish a vision for how to launch, sustain, and lift the level of argument work in grades 4-12, so that students learn particularly powerful ways to use their voices to advocate for change.

One of the great skills of participatory democracy is the ability to argue on behalf of oneself and others. When students are taught to argue with logic as well as passion (and to listen to and read the arguments of others, testing them for their logic and credibility), they become discriminating and credible, influential and engaged. They have learned not only a skill but an identity and a way of life.

This small and intense institute will focus on the work that can happen in a classroom leading up to argument writing. Participants will practice a protocol for debate and methods of coaching into partner talk during debates. They will learn strategies to teach students to seek and analyze evidence and logic.

Additionally, participants will learn about argument units of study, assessment tools, and checklists, as well as the significance of argumentation as a global and ethical imperative. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to observe students who are deeply engaged in argument, to study their writing, and to learn from their teachers as well as from TCR WP faculty. You’ll also develop your own plan for teaching argument skills, so that you feel confident leading classroom work and sharing this work with colleagues.

This institute is designed for teachers, coaches and administrators working with grades 4-12. There will be first year and advanced sections.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY