Graphic Organizers Support Young L2 Writers’ Argumentative Skills

  • Carl Edlund Anderson Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia
  • Carlos Andrés Mora González Secretaría de Educación Municipal de Chía, Colombia
  • Liliana Marcela Cuesta Medina Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia
Keywords: Writing, argumentation, graphic organizers, additional language, problem-based tasks


Learners are increasingly required to analyze critically information presented in languages other than their first to form reasoned opinions and solve problems. It is thus urgent to develop their argumentation skills, needed not only for academic success but also later professional life—and, indeed, by participant citizens in democratic societies. Although there has been some increased interest in teaching argumentation at pre-tertiary levels, this remains a relatively unexplored issue in Colombia (and, indeed, much of the developing world), certainly when considering writing in a second language. This qualitative study analyzed the influence of graphic organizers on the development of argumentative written tasks by a group of sixth-grade English learners. Data was collected through surveys, questionnaires, focus group, a teachers’ journal, and students’ written artifacts and analyzed through the grounded theory approach. Findings revealed that using graphic organizers positively influenced learners’ argumentative writing skills, specifically through supporting strategic information planning and argumentative linearization during the pre- and while-writing stages. These understandings show that younger learners can develop complex argumentative writing skills in a second language, thereby offering significant lessons for teachers of language—and content—in both the first and additional languages.

Author Biographies

Carl Edlund Anderson, Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia

PhD is a professor at the Department of Languages and Cultures, Universidad de La Sabana (Bogotá, Colombia). Currently on scientific committee for Scandia: Journal of Medieval Norse Studies and formerly the Editor-in-Chief of the Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning (LACLIL), his research interests include Germanic philology, Colombian minority languages, rhetorical communication, and CLIL.

Carlos Andrés Mora González, Secretaría de Educación Municipal de Chía, Colombia

is the bilingual coordinator for the Secretary of Education in Chía, Cundinamarca, Colombia. He holds a Master’s Degree in English Language Teaching and has expertise in providing assistance to set English language academic programs, to legalize schools for National or International bilingual designation, to adjust English language curriculum, to coordinate English language projects, to train teachers, and to teach English language under on-site, online, and blended modalities with varied populations.

Liliana Marcela Cuesta Medina, Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia

is a professor at the Master’s programs in English Language Teaching at the Department of Languages and Cultures, Universidad de La Sabana. She holds a PhD in English Philology from the Faculty of Humanities at UNED, Madrid, Spain. Her research areas include CALL, CLIL, academic writing, and learners’ self-regulation in blended/virtual learning environments, on which topics she has led research projects and published in books, international journals and conference proceedings.

How to Cite
Anderson, C. E., Mora González, C. A., & Cuesta Medina, L. M. (2018). Graphic Organizers Support Young L2 Writers’ Argumentative Skills. GIST – Education and Learning Research Journal, (17), 6-33.
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