Senior Scholars to Freshmen Flunks: the Five Paragraph Essay Unraveled

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Through writing this paper, I wish to actively inform the public about the universal argument towards the five paragraph essay and formulaic writing in general. To help share this information, I wanted to present the opinions of several accredited sources, and insert them into a conversational format so that the reader can easily navigate and understand their arguments. Apart from informing the public about the current debate, I wanted to introduce a solution to the problem of students using the five paragraph essay in their college English classes. By introducing higher level writing earlier in the education system, students will have a head start once they start taking courses at their university. I believe that this paper will be effective because it appropriately lays out accredited opinions about the positives and negatives of formulaic writing, while at the same time proving the point that it will not be accepted in a college atmosphere. Furthermore, it presents a solution to this situation by seeking to implement higher level writing methods while students are still taking high school courses. This paper introduces the argument, supports it from both sides, frames itself, and then offers a possible solution. I personally think that the synthesis of my essay is well written. I feel that I did a good job finding sources that agree or disagree with each other and then implementing those arguments into a conversation. Apart from those strengths, I fear that my niche may seem weak due to the strength of my synthesis. I feel that I may have overshadowed the personal part of the essay with the information I learned from my sources. As a result of this project, I have learned that writing is just another medium through which to inform people about a given topic. I have come to realize that writing is very simple: you do it to inform the reader about something. The complex part occurs when you try to decipher how you will complete that task. In terms of “developing theory of writing,” this realization is probably the main point I learned because in all honesty that is a very big concept that I took away from this project. I am excited to see how this theory will change based on the works to come.

Campbell Bailey
Michael Johnson
English 1510
18 February 2013
Senior Scholars to Freshman Flunks: The Five Paragraph Essay Unraveled Almost every high school English classroom in America has been taught the same thing: the five paragraph essay, or “formulaic writing,” is the proper way to write a paper. Most students would agree with this statement; they think that they five paragraph essay is a simple and efficient way to draft an essay. Additionally, students often start college with the incorrect assumption that this writing style is adequate and acceptable by their instructors. As long as they write an introduction, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion, they will receive their coveted grade of an A+. But what is the science behind this formulaic writing? Why does it seem to work so well for high school students, but not college students? The five paragraph essay (or FPE) should not be disregarded or seen as a necessity; it should be viewed as an instrument to improve the writing of novice students. But all writing mechanisms have a proper time and place for implementation. As a result, prior to entering college all students must learn that the five-paragraph essay will not always suffice in a university environment. If they continue with formulaic writing style, they run the risk that their assignments won’t come close to receiving the grade that they desire. This represents a shortcoming in the schooling of today’s novice writers, and this limitation cannot be filled by any brilliant instructor. The solution lies at the feet of none other but the institution of education. The American schooling system must start preparing students during their high school years for the college level writing that...
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