An “anti-five-paragraph essay” in five paragraphs

In this blog post for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Kim Zarins has a bit of fun with a common scourge of writing teachers: the five-paragraph essay.

NCTE is a publication of Composition studies, which overlaps with the TESOL field in its effort to train native-English-speaking and English-learning college students in the discourse conventions of academic English.

A heady debate has long existed in this space between advocates and critics of “The” five-paragraph essay: the formulaic template of introduction, three-paragraph body, and conclusion. Advocates say it gives studentsĀ a tool for getting started; critics say it robs students of the joys and potentials of true meaning making, limiting their creative development and ability to write in less scripted situations in the future.

ZarinsĀ has used the classic ‘mutt genre‘ of the five-paragraph essay to critique the form itself, with great hilarity!