The five-paragraph essay continues to make headlines in composition and pedagogy journals and on teacher listservs. This long-cherished genre has been touted for teaching the basics to writers in college, and teachers often claim that it is the best foundation for solid essay writing. In contrast, there are numerous five-paragraph essay critics who claim that the essay is a “school-created thing” that has no real-world value and persists due to an enshrinement in textbooks as preparation for objective standardized testing. Regardless of the debate, one thing remains: there is little research on the essay from the students’ perspective. This essay uses qualitative research to explore how students have been impacted by this standardized format of writing instruction, and the essay concludes with options for increasing student voices and agency as writers.
Gray, Jennifer P.
""You Can't Be Creative Anymore": Students Reflect on the Lingering Effects of the Five-Paragraph Essay,"
Teaching/Writing: The Journal of Writing Teacher Education: Vol. 3
, Article 10.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/wte/vol3/iss2/10