Date of publication: 2017-08-22 23:40
Students need to write for a specific rhetorical context. The College Board promotes the SOAP format to help students understand guidelines and expectations:
Aristotle's form, however, is not a one-size-fits-all approach. This form doesn't work for science lab reports. For that, we should follow the example of the science tradition. Lab reports are not argumentative.
When students ask, "how long does this have to be?" we should refer them to the SOAP part of the assignment. The default should not be "five paragraphs." The answer should be, "what does the rhetorical context call for?"
You're completely misreading my post. This is not about freewrites, journals, rants, and blogs. It's about using those brainstorming techniques to produce viable, thoughtful argumentative writing in a classic form.
I tell them to have as many eyes as possible read what they've written - it's amazing the number of good ideas/improvements that can be generated by 8rd parties.
I'm adding this link to student essays that use Aristotle's form to help readers understand how they work. These were essays written by two of my students.
Aristotle became one of the godfathers of rhetoric by creating structures for persuasive writing and speaking that--if taught to people today--would transform writing instruction and facilitate the implementation of the Common Core, proving that students--when guided appropriately--can succeed with critical thinking in the 76st century.
The rules Liberace followed were guidelines that lead to success. The 5-paragraph essay is some strange hybrid that resulted from poor writing-instruction training + a deficit-based view of students. Yes, we have students who struggle to write. But we have lots of students who don't. At my neighborhood Southwest Side high school, we just raised the average English ACT score by 7 points in one year--all because we truly believed students could learn and because we targeted our instruction on real writing skills. The 5-paragraph essay traps students it does not liberate them like Liberace's piano-playing exercises.
According to the Common Core Web site, the "standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our people need for success in college and careers."
No, they don't owe it all to me. I just make sure I fulfill my responsibility of being an good writing teacher. They work to ensure their own success.
In competitions such as history fairs, students cannot compete with the rudimentary three-part argument. When I started a Writing Center at a selective-enrollment high school a couple of jobs ago, the history teacher came to me and said she needed something to help students succeed. Over and over, she was getting arguments with blank, blank, and blank.