[NCTE-TALK:3169] Re: 5-paragraph again

Robert D. Royar (r.royar@morehead-st.edu)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 05:28:29 -0500

Writing is a dangerous skill. With it we persuade others and
ourselves of the just and correct. It is easy with writing to
convince ourselves that we have looked carefully at an issue and
arrived at a reasonable, fair, and just conclusion. This is what the
5PE pretends to do.

We have lost sight of the original concept embodied in the essay--that
it is an attempt to explicate an idea. The word "attempt" above is no
accident. I guess I'm simply uncomfortable simplifying such a complex
psychological weapon so that anyone can use it--not because I believe
that person will persuade masses of people to believe hir view, but
because I believe she will persuade hirself.

On Sun, 11 Feb 1996 SAC@aol.com wrote:

> One thing that I think we, as teachers, should keep in mind is that not all
> students learn in the same way. Some students really do need a rigid form to
> start them off. I am thinking of students with various learning and
> processing needs. We should be careful about using ourselves as the model.
> Remember: we're the weirdos, the ones for whom writing comes relatively
> easily). The five paragraph theme provides some students with a model for
> what an essay should do: say something in a somewhat organized fashion so
> that a reader can follow you. Not all essays need to be five paragraph. The
> same function can be served by a three paragraph essay in which a writer has
> only one point to make. I think the formal approach has its place at the
> table, but there are many settings and seats.
> Steve Cohen

Dr. Robert D. Royar Morehead State University r.royar@morehead-st.edu
Writing & Writing Center Coordinator
"Guns don't kill people, movies do" -Senator Robert "OKForMeToBeOnThe" Dole