Unteaching The Five Paragraph Essay

Let’s start with the fact that not all topics lend themselves to such overt thesis statements, nor do all main ideas have exactly three supporting points.

But even if you wanted your students to produce a traditional five-paragraph theme, with a clearly identifiable thesis and three distinguishable points, that is is no way to go about it.

I believe this is a big part of why the format is so widely criticized in freshman writing courses. The value lies in its usefulness as a teaching tool and as an entry-level organizational strategy for young writers.

It works great as a foundation upon which students can later build.

Bottom line: the five-paragraph essay's inherent prioritization of structure over style can have long-term damaging effects on students who never learn to move beyond it, but teaching the form provides a foundation upon which students can scaffold their writing as they grow intellectually.

Vellacott Essay - Unteaching The Five Paragraph Essay

It allows teachers to emphasize the role of research and support, and it also provides a convenient framework for teaching basic writing skills like the use of transitions and topic sentences.

Long taught as the most handy way to explain the writing process to. Explore Amber Glaros's board "5 paragraph essay" on Pinterest, the world's catalog of ideas See more about Teaching, Followers and Stop it. See, primary, Crafting Introductory Paragraphs for various solutions of finding your reader included in the essay.

Maintains that the five-paragraph essay formula confuses and alienates students and undermines the basic goals of writing instruction.

Incorporating outside research, crafting topic sentences, and using transitions are all strengths of the format. Nunnally has also explored the merits of the form even as he critiques them in his essay "Breaking the Five-Paragraph Theme Barrier." As Nunnally notes "students learn to do one thing at a time, such as form a thesis statement, before putting all the parts together, and their progress can be monitored and evaluated piecemeal," which makes the form "practical to teach and eminently gradable" (68).

When composition pedagogy isolates these independent steps and teaches them as a function of the writing process, the structure of the five-paragraph essay can be immensely valuable.


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