Teaching Strategies for Argument Analysis

Persuasion and/or argumentation in the classroom has grown in importance of late. Although it’s been an important segment of the AP Language and Composition exam for quite some time now, its stature has grown now that the new SAT’s essay portion also specifically requires students to, “Write an essay in which you explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience that [author’s claim].”

But in this contentious day and age, we are surrounded by argumentation in the forms of commercials and politics. It’s of paramount importance that we instruct our students on how to deconstruct these various messages, with the hope that they won’t be manipulated by them.

With that in mind, today in TeachHUB.com, frequent contributing writer Jordan Catapano, himself a seasoned high school English teacher in the Chicago suburbs, takes a look at an acronym in the form of teaching strategies to instruct argumentation analysis.

Jordan’s acronym:

S = Speaker
O = Occasion
A = Audience
P = Purpose
S = Subject


In addition to explaining SOAPSTone, Jordan spells out some teaching strategies for teaching the method, including:

  • Analyze commercials
  • Jigsaw a portion
  • Change around

Jordan sum up his article thusly: “However you examine SOAPStone with your students, do it frequently and with a range of current communications happening in the world around us. Show students that this is not just an exercise that works only in the classroom, but that it’s a simple key for better understanding the immense quantity of communication taking place every day.”

Have you used this SOAPStone technique for analysis before? How would you explain it or teach it? Share your ideas with our TEACHHub.com communication in the comments section!