The text you have just studied on the previous page
is an expanded version of the argumentative text on childcare that
you studied in the previous section. It still has the same number
of paragraphs but the paragraphs are all longer (except for the conclusion).
You may wish to print a few copies of the text out before you complete
the following tasks - you'll be writing on them when you complete
If you need to return to the original copy of the
text click here.
First we will look at paragraph 1: the introduction. In the
previous version of this text paragraph 1 was made up of
only one sentence. This sentence was the main conclusion.
Now the paragraph is much longer but the main conclusion is
still only one sentence. What is the main conclusion? Draw a
circle around it and write Main Conclusion in the
margin next to it
Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 all cover different topics related to
the issue of childcare. Describe the topic of each paragraph
in four words or less and write the description in the
margin next to each paragraph (The topic of paragraph 2 is:
Effects on early learning)
Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 don't just contain arguments that
support the main conclusion. They also contain arguments
that oppose the main conclusion. It is important to
include opposing arguments to show your reader that
you have considered both sides of the argument;
you are able to anticipate and criticize any
opposing arguments before they are even stated.
Draw a circle around the opposing arguments
in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4. (They are in blocks of 1-3 sentences at
the beginning of each paragraph). Then write "opposing
arguments" in the margin next to each.
It's important that the reader knows that when
you write opposing arguments you do not agree with them. You
have to make it very clear that you are presenting these
arguments only to show that you understand the issue from
both sides, that you have anticipated the opposing arguments
and wish to criticize them.
In order to signal this you need to use special phrases
to problematise the opposing statements. (To
problematise something means to make it seem like a
problem, to make it seem untrue). We can
problematise arguments by making them appear to be debatable
opinions and not facts (see Debatable
and non-debatable statements earlier in this unit) A
common way to do this is to explicitly mark the statement as
It has been argued that
children who attend childcare centers at an early
age miss out on important early learning that
occurs in parent-child interaction.
By including the phrase "It has been argued
that" in the above statement the writer is
problematising the statement below:
Children who attend childcare centers at an
early age miss out on important early learning that
occurs in parent-child interaction.
When there is no problematising phrase, the
statement appears non-debatable. The writer
is presenting it as a fact.
Find the other problematising phrases in paragraphs 2, 3 and
4 of the text. They will all be in the areas of the
paragraphs where the opposing arguments are located (i.e. in
the first part of each paragraph). Draw a circle around
You can find more problematising phrases on the next
You can also signal the difference between opposing
and supporting arguments by clearly marking the point in each
paragraph where you shift from one to the other. You can use
contrasting connectives to mark this point. The most common
of these contrasting connectives is "However".
Find the point in each of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 where the
writer shifts from opposing arguments to supporting
arguments. Draw a circle around the contrasting connective
used to mark the point in each paragraph.