Firstly, I’m a teacher-librarian not an English teacher. I don’t pretend to be an expert in either craft. I’m commenting to support the thesis in Kimberly Hill Campbell’s article of Education Leadership ‘Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay’. Years of research indicate the model isn’t a wonderful writing aide. So why are we still fighting it’s implementation in 2014? Our school has mostly moved away from it in favour of other writing devices. As a librarian the outcome and eventual writing or production exercise does influence your course of action.
“The five-paragraph essay format often puts students’ thinking in a box. Ther’s a better way.”(Hill Campbell)
Many of colleagues have embraced a comprehensive inquiry model or PBL which starts with students generating big questions not simply completing a topic outline that fits 5 paragraphs or three boxes. It’s valuable to emphasize organizational skills but in 2014 its finding personal meaning and filtering content within issues that is vital. Writing becomes a form of affirmation. Their writing is driven first by research and then by a deeper level of thinking. Hill Campbell says, “developing an authoritative voice’. She claims the organization actually comes after the purpose of writing is generated- after the inquiry. She discusses the virtues of not establishing predetermined formula of size or shape but let the student’s position statement and evidence dictate the organization and writing needs. I like her assessment. Check her article out.
Hill Campbell, Kimberly. “BEYOND The Five-Paragraph ESSAY.” Educational Leadership 71.7 (2014): 60-65. Canadian Reference Centre. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.< http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rch&AN=95379320&site=ehost-live >