Actively Engaged in Persuasion

Actively Engaged in Persuasion

This course book trains students to be persuasive in English. Students learn to write and revise an argument essay and persuasive techniques when giving a talk on a controversial issue. It leverages the FastAssignment AI scoring system to automatically evaluate argument essays as a source of formative evaluation, activities to help students set performance goals, and five lessons for reciprocal teaching.

The Science of Learning

Typical high intermediates at colleges in Quebec did well in their high school English courses because of considerable contact with English outside of the classroom. They usually haven’t had to work very hard in the past, but a more focused intentional approach to learning would benefit these students enormously in their future careers. Massive childhood exposure to English is not the most time-efficient way to make progress in the language. This course aims to help students become more efficient learners as they enter a busier adulthood.

Based on research findings from Educational Psychology, Actively Engaged in Persuasion accelerates learning. Here’s how.

  1. Goal setting–Getting students to predict their score on upcoming evaluations is equivalent to them setting a goal and making a commitment to achieve it. These are the most important steps a student can take to maximize his or her performance on an evaluation (Hattie, 2009). Educational research reveals that a simple and effective goal setting exercise accelerated students’ learning by 75%. Actively Engaged in Persuasion asks students to predict their score on every evaluation.
  2. Reciprocal teaching–Students learn much more when they teach each other than when the teacher does all of the teaching (Hattie, 2009). Students teaching each other is called reciprocal teaching, and it has the second biggest effect on student achievement of all the classroom processes, accelerating learning by 37%. Actively Engaged in Persuasion asks students to take turns teaching their group about one of the five topics in the course.
  3. Formative evaluation–Students who do formative evaluations outperform students who don’t 76% of the time, and doing formative evaluations accelerates learning by 45% (Hattie, 2009). Actively Engaged in Persuasion makes formative evaluation easier through master model scoring (only the best scores count) and through automated essay scoring. Students can write an essay and get a formative score in two seconds, maximizing revisions and time on task.
  4. Flashcards–Memorizing new vocabulary using flashcards is a fast, social, fun, and efficient strategy for learning new vocabulary in your second language. Students who use flashcards performed significantly better than the students who learn vocabulary using traditional classroom methods (Komachali & Khodareza, 2012). Actively Engaged in Persuasion accelerates vocabulary learning by including a set of flashcards with every topic.

Actively Engaged in Persuasion trains students to use these and other strategies (oral practice, essay outlining, deliberate practice, etc.) to learn faster. Students not only learn English, they learn how to learn and how to communicate more effectively.

Who is it for?

Actively Engaged in Persuasion is for students who can speak fluently and have largely mastered the verb tense system in English—despite the occasional mistake. For these students, the only significant difference between them and their native speaking counterparts at an English language college is their limited vocabulary. Typically, their sentence structures need work, too. Students at this level can usually talk and write at length about a subject in a vague, rambling, and tedious way, so they need help in developing a more strategic and persuasive communication style with greater depth and precision.

The government objectives, therefore, call for these students to talk about important issues—using reliable sources of information, good grammar, relevant vocabulary, and the correct level of formality. In their writing, they must demonstrate the ability to write and revise a text with a range of sentence structures and topic-related vocabulary. Here are the key objectives.

  • Exprimer oralement un message sur des sujets à portée sociale, culturelle ou littéraire.
  • Communication claire, cohérente et suffisamment détaillée en référence à une ou des sources fiables, ou à une œuvre littéraire.
  • Utilisation généralement correcte du code grammatical et du niveau de langue.
  • Emploi du vocabulaire pertinent par rapport au sujet traité.
  • Utilisation satisfaisante d’une variété de structures de phrases.

Actively Engaged in Persuasion trains students to express themselves more persuasively in writing and in speaking. By writing more and more often, students master the argument essay structure through repetition, supported by the automated essay scoring system. Persuasive argument essays are not like the opinion essays that they learned in high school. The argument structure goes a step further, teaching students to defend a strong stance, summarize the counterargument, concede to its strengths, and then thoroughly refute it. Teachers using Actively Engaged in Persuasion usually ask their students to write 3-5 essays on taxing sugar, internet censorship, animal rights, abortion, feminism, and body image, with two testing topics: immigration and climate change.

If you have ever felt bored listening to oral presentations that sound like grocery lists, you will be happy to learn that Actively Engaged in Persuasion teaches student how to structure a persuasive talk by sharing their identity, building unity, establishing credibility and authority, setting a clear goal for their talk, gaining a commitment from their audience, and injecting curiosity before making a powerful argument about a moral controversy. Easy to follow models ensure students master the principles of persuasion fast.

Students love the challenge. Teachers trust the pedagogy.  

A course with personality

Actively Engaged in Persuasion develops practical essay writing skills with a strong focus on academic research and debate. Students are encouraged to share their expertise and personal perspectives through reciprocal teaching lessons. On alternative weeks, students share their drafts to get feedback on their essay coherence. Although there is room for expressing ideas in new ways, students do not invent and much as they research and report.


Ordering this book title

There are three ways to order this book. Teachers can order this physical book for students to buy at their college co-op, or teachers can order registration codes only to be sold through their co-op website. Alternatively, teachers can ask students to pay directly through PayPal on All versions of the book come with a printable PDF version of the book.

The teacher and students have access to modifiable PowerPoint presentations, multimedia glossaries, online dictation exercises, video tutorials, automated speaking evaluations, and automated argument essay evaluations. Two testing units are available for teachers to use as final evaluations with easy to use scoring rubrics.