Dossier of Discovery: We're Hiring!

article by Cheryl Bullow , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning Intention:

I am learning to understand how elements can be used to support arguments so they might influence readers in order to develop my skills with creating persuasive texts.

Success Criteria:

  • I can identify elements used to make an argument persuasive.
  • I can experiment with using persuasive elements when making an argument.
  • I can compose a text that seeks to persuade readers.


Essential knowledge:

View the video Argument from the English Textual Concepts. Discuss the ideas presented in the video ensuring students note the following:

  • That arguments are powerful things when structured properly and in a sensible and persuasive manner
  • A number of elements can be used to support an argument, such as making a claim, including statistics and describing research
  • Arguments can be presented in a variety of ways including poems, articles and stories


Oral language and communication:


Display the following fictitious job advertisement:

Come and work with us, the greatest team on Earth!

You have to trust us on that, in fact nine out of ten employees have been here for more than three years! That’s a long time. They must like it here!

We will support you and provide training. We also offer regular staff catch-ups, a yearly team building day and there’s free juice in the kitchen!

So don’t delay, apply today!


Discuss the following questions:

  • What argument is the advertisement is making? (That people should apply for the role)
  • What elements make the job sound attractive? (It claims the team is the greatest on Earth, the advertisement includes information about support and the perks of the job)
  • What persuasive devices have been used to support the claim that it is the greatest team on Earth? (Statistics and research have been included, persuasive vocabulary features in the advertisement and the attractive elements of the workplace have been included)
  • What may have been omitted from the advertisement? (Less than desirable elements about the role, information about the hours and pay)


Understanding text:


Display an image of pet food and discuss whether students would be keen to eat it. Most likely students will conclude that they would prefer not to eat pet food.

Read Dossier of Discovery: We’re Hiring! or listen to the audio file if you have a digital subscription. Ensure students note the argument of the article (that people should apply for the role of a pet food taster).

Discuss the following:

  • How does the author try to persuade readers to work as pet food tasters? (They make the claim that tasting pet food is preferable to sitting at a computer all day, they include information about what the role entails and they soothe any worries in case people fear they will have to swallow the food by explaining that staff will be provided with a spitting bowl)
  • What other information is included about the role? (The attributes they are looking for in staff members, ‘Someone who is highly-skilled, has a university degree, and is passionate about the nutritional value of pet food.’)
  • What further persuasive devices have been used? (Persuasive vocabulary, such as, highly skilled, passionate, dedicated, delicious, excellent candidate)
  • Does the article convince you to apply for the role of pet food taster? (Responses may vary)


Creating text:

Inform students that they will be composing their own job advertisements for fictitious jobs. Gradually release responsibility by completing an example collaboratively first.

Discuss other jobs that students might not find desirable. Encourage students to think of amusing ideas. Sample responses include:

  • Crocodile trainer
  • Mucking out the animals at the zoo
  • Rat catcher
  • Dust collector

Select one of these jobs, for example, crocodile trainer.

Refer back to the approaches identified in both advertisements, which identifies how to successfully present an argument, for example:

  • Making a claim
  • Including statistics and research
  • Featuring persuasive language

Discuss ideas for each of these elements focusing on the role of a crocodile trainer. Sample responses have been provided:

  • Making a claim (It is the most thrilling job you can do)
  • Including statistics and research (Tell students that these can be fictitious, for example, ninety per cent of crocodile trainers love their jobs)
  • Rhetorical questions (Do you get bored easily? Do you enjoy living on the edge? Do you like surprises? )
  • Featuring persuasive language (Exciting, living on the edge, thrilling, death-defying, challenging, fun,)


Use these ideas to co-construct a sample advertisement, for example:

Crocodile training, the most thrilling job on the planet!

What other job allows you to get up close with these incredible animals? As a crocodile trainer no two days are the same. You might be teaching the crocodiles tricks one day and running from an angry croc the next. You’ll need to become an expert at performing death-defying leaps to escape these beasts. What could be more exciting?

So, if you like a fun role where you get your adrenalin pumping then this is the job for you. You’ll need a strong heart and a forgiving nature to get past the attempted attacks from your new reptile ‘friends’. Being a fast runner helps too!

So, apply today. Uniform and running shoes provided.


Place students with a partner and instruct them to construct their own job advertisements by completing the following:

  • Select an undesirable, fictitious job
  • Plan elements to support your argument that people should apply for the role
  • Construct a sample advertisement for the role


Assessment for/as learning

Once students have completed their advisements, instruct them to swap with another pair/student. Discuss criteria students might use for assessing the work of their peers. For example:

  • Features a description of an undesirable, fictitious job.
  • Includes elements of the role
  • Uses rhetorical questions
  • Features persuasive elements to support their argument, such persuasive language, making a claim about the role
  • includes statistics and research

Instruct students to use these elements as criteria to peer assess each other’s work. Tell students to use Peer Feedback strategies such as the Two-Stars and a Wish strategy to identify two elements their peer has done well from the list and one area where their work might be developed.

Allow time for students to discuss the feedback and for students to edit their work based on the ideas provided by their peers if they wish.

Prior to the end of the class, display the following exit ticket question for students to respond to in their workbooks:

  • What are some of the devices authors may use to support their arguments?