5 Paragraph Essay Forum
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The more I think back on the role-play debate we had in class today, the more I feel frustrated. The experience overall was educational in terms of planning for technical difficulties and the learning curves of all those involved. Beyond that, I feel unsatisfied with my level of engagement. My own participation was minimal considering that I spent most of the time dealing with technological details or helping others. In a way this shouldn't bother me, because as the instructor of the course, I should expect to have those responsibilities, but I guess I still have unresolved issues related to the FPT.
So here goes.
If anybody should feel the desire to push back or vent their own views on this issue I welcome them to use this space to do so.
As a high school student, I liked the 5 paragraph form. It was a quick and easy way to package opinions and whip out papers. In fact, I remember having to write 12 FTPs to get an A in one of my social studies classes. Although high school never really equipped we with any other form besides the FTP, I graduated high school believing that I was ready for college. Well, needless to say, college writing was a wake up call for me and continues to be as graduate school presents ever new ways of writing and thinking.
I guess my point that I'm taking a long time to make is that the FTP does have its place in the writing curriculum. It establishes a foundational writing genre that promotes organization and can be built upon with more sophisticated writing techniques. My key point when I say this, however, is that it is one of many diverse writing genres. What happens too often is that the FPT is the only genre that is taught. Moreover, it is often "over-taught" to the extent that we have students fill in boxes in a chart (like the one above). Although these charts may work as effective brainstorming techniques, when overused, they present writing, and thinking for that matter, as linear processes that are singular in nature.
So my solution, which isn't anything avant garde, would be to keep the FPT as a fundamental format in writing instruction, but teach it as one of many genres, each genre having its specific effect and audience. Then, the FTP is seen not as a meta-form to fit all thought into, but rather one of many forms that can be strategically chosen to deliver a message.
I understand that all of this is easier said than done.
Now that I've effectively paraphrased the views of everyone else, I can go to bed.