Law undergraduates’ understanding and appropriation of arguments in online essay writing tutorials
The art of constructing an assertive argument is a crucial lifelong skill for law students to master. The English language teachers at Bennett University Law School introduce the topic of argumentative essay writing to its first-year law undergraduates and teach the basic structure of an argument in a standard five paragraph argumentative essay and then gradually elaborate on with the content. The pedagogy makes use of the online platforms of ‘ilearn’ LMS and ‘Clarity English’ programs (customised English Language teaching softwares) to engage students in essay writing tutorials. The study analyses how the students develop the understanding of framing a strong argument and move towards attaining appropriation in it. This has been done by comparing pre-test and post-test results of the control and experimental groups and by relational content analysis of the transcripts. The target group in the study includes 120 students of BALLB (hons) who are randomly divided into control and experimental groups. The study also tries to figure out the comparative advantage of classroom teaching in physical settings, online group discussions on ‘ilearn’ LMS forums and individual practice sessions involving only one student at a time on ‘Practical Writing’ program offered by Clarity English. This has been done through student survey analysis. The overall data involves pre-test and post-test essay writing transcripts, online discussion forum transcripts on ‘ilearn’, practice result sheets on ‘Practical writing’ and students’ survey. This educational intervention is an attempt to assess and design best teaching practice for teaching argumentative essay writing to law undergraduates.