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If You Teach or Write 5-Paragraph Essays--Stop It! secured by
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How did you develop this and what suggestions do you have for others to do the same? I would like to see a writing endorsement available.

We have all kinds of other endorsements, but we need one in writing. This will push more people to see writing as a complex field instead of something we just do on paper in 46 minutes--or less. A question that has come up a lot is how to use this with English-Language Learners. One option is to have students use key terms or vocabulary in English e. Another option, especially for ESL students, is to use sentence stems to get their ideas going after an appropriate brainstorming exercise.

The vision is to then take away the stems. Most of the time we can. The significance to the audience can be put on hold 3. The five-paragraph essay does not develop logic or the understanding that writing is about entering a larger conversation. It promotes an isolated, one-sided view. Law school turned my writing upside down. I could no longer write simple, five paragraph persuasive essays.

Not all legal writing is designed to be persuasive. However, every single brief, motion and petition needs to be beyond persuasive. In fact, it needs to be utterly free of a reasonable counter-argument. In law school, I learned the infamous IRAC format issue, rule, application of the rule, and conclusion. I love this idea of leaving the five paragraph essay behind us! Hi Jeannie, thanks for posting. Some of the pieces are narrative; some are news stories.

However, some good examples of argumentative essays are on Affirmative Action and homeless hotspots. I hope this helps. I agree -- the most valuable writing I learned in college was the conciliatory essay. There seems to be a fundamental flaw to the argument. As we teach our students to read, write, and think, we need to also teach them and remind ourselves how to listen.

I think teachers are so overworked and battle weary that the 5 paragraph essay is sometimes a mindless, and easy choice. It transformed my teaching and opened up leadership opportunities for me. Thanks Ray from another endangered species - a native Hawaiian English teacher. Thanks for commenting, Mrs. Aloha and fellow white rhino.

Most NWP-affliated satellite projects usually tethered to a university will run multiple week-long Summer Institutes, where teachers write, research and teach as part of teacher-led PD.

The NWP website can be easily navigated to find those local projects. You present a persuasive argument for the abandonment of the 5-paragraph essay and suggest a new format for presenting an argument However, you did not provide much information on what is expected to go in between your introduction and conclusion? Any piece of writing needs some structure and main ideas that are then supported with various pieces of evidence whether you are writing a historical thesis or a persuasive essay If you are abandoning a "main idea followed by supporting evidence" format, what do you propose should take its place?

Or perhaps my understanding of the 5-paragraph essay you are speaking of is incorrect? Thanks for commenting, Nicole. Part 2 after the intro is background: What does the audience need to be reminded of? Part 3 is the confirmation. This is the evidence that supports the argument. I think you have answered your own question by example: Preaching to the choir!

You asked in the comments how to teach this to ESL students. Find good models, deconstruct them to find the stages of meaning, and then scaffold the writing, leading to independent mastery. This answers the question posted above about what goes "in the middle.

Nigel Caplan, Delaware http: Nigel, thanks for commenting. We throw around the word "essay" too much. Thanks for your insightful explanation of genre not mode.

One of the worst outcomes of the 5 paragraph approach is that it pounds the voice out of the text, even for the better writers. All the essays sound alike, as if the teacher could shuffle them and assign them to random students. We must approach writing as a generative process. The first sentence generates the second, which generates the third, in a logical chain. Teaching paragraphing should be delayed. It is easy to teach students to recognize paragraph breaks later on.

Any classroom teacher who has experimented with quick-writes will recognize the benefit of this approach and the authenticity of the voices heard in each text.

Check out my blog: Very true, Jack--"writing as a generative process. Students need to learn that writing can change directions appropriately to engage the audience and themselves in deeper thinking. I am a tenth grade student and I completely agree that the 5-paragraph essay limits creativity and originality. I enjoy learning and have been researching the modern writing style.

I wish I could be taught how to persuade people in writing in the same way that I persuade people with words. In reference to your example of Liberace, I also agree that rules should be learned and then broken. Hi Stephen, thanks for speaking up. Many of the persuasive ideas will be there. We like to have real conversations with students--especially about writing. Maybe ask, "How did you learn to convince people with your writing?

Then, try the variations on your own. Experiment with writing for you, not for the grade. Hey Ray, the five paragraph structure teaches you to use evidence to back up your arguments. Something you fail to do in your essay. You make a bunch of specious claims and then never support them. The biggest bone I have to pick with you is the old saw you repeat that I keep hearing from curriculum faddists- that this structure is never used in "real life.

There is a value in learning a writing technique that is used to train good mental habits- such as supporting information with evidence. Mostly I hate this real life argument because we do use it out side of school. I used to write for newspapers and magazines and used it in a mutated form all of the time. This method is used in debates and in writing college acceptance essays to name a few formats. To put down the five paragraph work horse is a fad. Students need to know how to structure thoughts and this is one very useful method.

One last point, not teaching this to students sets kids up for failure in college, where - like it or not- they are expected to know this formula. The five-paragraph essay is useless outside of the classroom.

There are so many other ways to teach persuasion--and to persuade. There are many "real life" applications of the 5 paragraph essay. One is to read carefully for evidence, the others are outlined above. Think and read before you comment. I just make sure I fulfill my responsibility of being an good writing teacher. They work to ensure their own success. What you are describing is much like something that has been coined the "enthymeme" http: George Guthridge has done a lot of work developing this method for use with student writing - based on Aristotle http: Our teachers have used his work with the enthymeme to teach writing http: I start even more simply.

There are two kinds of questions, What questions and Why questions. Why questions are debatable by their nature, which gets to your excellent points about creating a thesis which requires explanation as well as proof in opposition to another position. They cannot be made in to "Why" essays, this is true.

And "Why" essays teach a deeper kind of thinking, however it is a mistake to say that "What" essays are valueless and should be done away with. David, this makes sense. Five-paragraph essays usually end up answering "what" questions instead of "why" and people mistake exposition for persuasion. I like this approach. Thanks for the tip. Looks as if notice of the death of the five-paragraph essay has, at least for now, been somewhat exaggerated.

Reading these comments, one can safely conclude that: Perhaps what is most needed at this point is an assessment tool that instructors can use to tell them, from day one, where student writing skills levels are, then structure writing assignments accordingly. Yes, it means more work, but then whoever said that teaching writing was easy?

Moreover, with the increasing numbers of learning disabled students attending college, teaching writing is only going to get even more interesting! Useful formats can also be found by teaching genre as form. This way, students can mirror the format of successful pieces and come up with something interesting.

At the beginning of the year, I give students a simple prompt and ask to write for minutes. I read through them quickly looking for patterns. Perhaps it restricted my creativity somewhat, but I used it to my advantage: However, with that basic knowledge and understanding, I was able to strengthen my writing skills and incorporate other styles and approaches, while maintaining a cohesive and organized paper.

My appreciation for writing is why I am now a college English instructor. I teach Composition and use the five-paragraph essay format because I want my students to understand structure and organization first. However, I still limit their writing to five paragraphs because the question I always get asked by students is: A creative writer can always find ways to make his or her writing more appealing and can still apply all the qualities of a good argumentative paper with this restriction.

They just gave away the ending. One part that has helped me help students with the background section is to tell them their audience is someone who is not in our class and has not read or viewed the texts we have. Ray do you ever respond to direct criticism?

Or do you just blow off real arguments that contridict your world view? I always enjoy a good argument as long as the reasons are valid! However, I find this discussion rather enlightening and entertaining. Ray, my students are more advanced than just writing a blank, blank, and blank thesis.

To say that "readers get bored with the five-paragraph essay" is another assumption on your part. Perhaps you should rephrase to say that you, as a reader, get bored with it. I actually asked the opinions of high school and college students, as well as English professors, regarding the five-paragraph rule and most prefer it.

A sound argument, whether it be an essay, article, or blog, would offer both sides and allow the reader to determine an arguable judgment. However, your article is one-sided that is very opinionated and includes false assumptions. Please practice what you preach. I did include both sides of the argument. Then, I refute them. Refutation can be used in a cause-and-effect essay. People have disagreements all the time about what does and does not cause something else. I mention that in part 4.

When students ask, "how long does this have to be? The default should not be "five paragraphs. Students should be encouraged to place their emphasis on content, purpose, and audience and to allow this to focus to guide the organization of their writing. The five-paragraph essay over-emphasizes the format. It has to fit into three reasons. Starting points by definition are rudimentary. No, I am not threatened, I am just disappointed that you cannot respond to my basic questions regarding your bloviating mess of an article.

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We offer you a revolutionary, result-oriented essay writing service! Performance always being one of our top concerns, reading is written to be multi-threaded, which truly speeds the library up by quite a bit. There are two performance choices left in your hands:. By simply defining a bean and annotating the fields, opencsv can do all of the rest. Actually, if you use annotations, opencsv uses reflection not introspection on reading, so all you need is a POJO plain old Java object that does not have to conform to the Java Bean Specification, but is required to be public and have a public nullary constructor.

If getters and setters are present and accessible, they are used. Otherwise, opencsv bypasses access control restrictions to get to member variables. Besides the basic mapping strategy, there are various mechanisms for processing certain kinds of data. CSV files should have header names for all fields in the file, and these can be used to great advantage. By annotating a bean field with the name of the header whose data should be written in the field, opencsv can do all of the matching and copying for you.

This also makes you independent of the order in which the headers occur in the file. For data like this:. Here we simply name the fields identically to the header names. After that, reading is a simple job:. This will give you a list of the two beans as defined in the example input file. Note how type conversions to basic data types wrapped and unwrapped primitives and Strings occur automatically. Input can get more complicated, though, and opencsv gives you the tools to deal with that.

In this case, we have spaces in the names and one header with a number as the initial character. Other problems can be encountered, such as international characters in header names.

Additionally, we would like to require that at least the name be mandatory. Not every scribe of CSV files is kind enough to provide header names. To that end, we have also accounted for the possibility that there are no headers, and data must be divined from column position. We will return to our previous input file sans header names:.

We have also not considered locales other than the default locale or formatting options beyond those provided by a locale. Here we shall do all of this at the same time. Consider this input file:. The dates are dd. For this input we create the following bean:. The date is handled with the annotation CsvDate in addition to the mapping annotation.

CsvDate can take a format string, and incidentally handles all common date-type classes. See the Javadocs for more details. The format of the salary, including thousands separator and currency symbol, are dealt with using a combination of the German locale, one of many countries where the thousands separator is a dot, and CsvNumber.

CSV files are lists, right? Well, some people like lists within lists. For them, we have the ability to annotate bean fields that are declared to be some type implementing java. The input is split along this delimiter and the results are put in a Collection and assigned to the bean field.

What kind of Collection? Any kind you want. If opencsv knows it, it instantiates an implementing class for you. Some examples would doubtlessly illuminate my meaning. This shows us much of the power of these annotations in a few lines. It is defined to be a Collection of Floats. Note, please, the annotation CsvBindAndSplitByName or the equivalent for position always requires the type of an element of the collection being created.

Nothing else is mandatory. The next field is a List of something derived from Number. This is where it becomes apparent why the element type is mandatory -- it cannot always be determined. Besides that, in this line we are not satisfied with the List implementation opencsv chooses, so we specify LinkedList with the collectionType parameter to the annotation. The third field is a SortedSet of dates when a student was tardy to class. Sorted for convenience, and a set to avoid clerical errors of double entry.

For this field we have specified that the string separating elements of this list in the input is one or more semicolons. This string is always interpreted as a regular expression. Interestingly, in case we write these data out to a CSV file later, the elements of the list should be separated with a single semicolon.

Perhaps someone is trying to convert the data from a older format or remove redundancies. The first student has never been tardy, so that list will be empty but never null. The school secretary accidentally entered a tardy for the second student twice, but this will be eliminated by the SortedSet. There are two ways of doing this. We already saw one: The only stipulations on the implementing class are that it be public and have a nullary constructor. The other way is to declare the type of the bean field using the implementing class rather than the interface implemented, thus:.

That class can be parameterized, naturally e. All of the other features you know, love, and depend on, such as a field being required, or support for locales, is equally well supported for Collection-based members. If Collection-based bean fields were there to split one element into many, MultiValuedMap -based bean fields are there to consolidate many elements into one.

What if you have the following input? The first difficulty you will encounter is that three columns have the same name. The second difficulty is that the number of tracks in the header might increase over time, but you want them all. Both problems are easily solved, as are all problems in the opencsv-world:. The second field is a MultiValuedMap that collects all of the values under all of the columns with the name "Album". The first parameter is the index, and the second parameter is the value.

The value should be of a type to which the elementType from the annotation is assignable. Why would we choose to use such a cumbersome data type as a MultiValuedMap to implement this feature?

Why not a simple List and everyone is happy? First, someone will want to know what the header was actually named on reading, and second, opencsv needs to know what the header is named when it writes beans to a CSV file. Mostly you will want a list of all values, not caring about which header they were under, and that can simply be had by calling values on the field. Back to our topic, the second field will be a MultiValuedMap with exactly one key: Under this key, there will be a list with up to three entries, in this case "Michael Jackson", "Lionel Richie" and "Stevie Wonder".

It only remains to note that the type of the elements being read must always be specified for the same reason it is necessary for Collection-based bean fields. The third field sums up most of the rest of the features this annotation provides. As you can see, the definition of the column names is a regular expression.

In this annotation we have also requested a specific implementation of MultiValuedMap , which opencsv will honor. We have decided that this field is mandatory, which in this case means that at least one matching header must be in the input, and every record must have a non-empty value for at least one of the matching columns.

Given the input from above, this MultiValuedMap will have four entries, one for each column, and each of these entries will have a list of one element as its value. The elements will be the track titles. All of the usual features apply: The latter being said, if the MultiValuedMap is already present and possibly contains values , say through the use of a constructor, it will not be overwritten, but rather added to. What does opencsv do with this?

It follows the general computing principle of "specific trumps general": It puts any information found under the header "Track21" into the new field, not the MultiValuedMap. The results are undefined. While minding the last caveat, it is possible to use this feature to collect everything not otherwise mapped:. There is another way one could possibly use this feature: Perhaps they are in different languages. In one file, the header is:. Perhaps the first version of the CSV file only included one artist, and the other two fields for artist were added at two different points in time after that.

The tracks grew over time as well. So now our input looks like this:. In other words, first the album name, then the first artist, followed by two tracks, then the second artist followed by one more track, then the third artist again followed by one track.

The bean for these data would look like this:. The first thing to notice in this example is that we have used CsvBindAndJoinByPosition , which takes a list of zero-based column numbers and ranges as its most important argument.

The list is comma-separated, and can include any number of column indices as well as closed e. Values are saved under the index of the column position they were found in. The last thing to notice is that as long as new column positions are added to the end of the file and these are all new tracks, they will all be placed in the variable "tracks" because the column position definition from the CsvBindAndJoinByPosition annotation defines an open range starting at index 7.

As with a header-based mapping, it is possible to create a mop-up field, if no other fields are mapped with CsvBindAndJoinByPosition , by mapping to a MultiValuedMap using the fully open range expression "-". Both include ambiguous information about the source of the data, one in the form of regular expressions, and the other in the form of ranges. Once the data have been read in, there is no way from this information alone to determine which column each header came from.

That, as we have already said, is why we use a MultiValuedMap: That said, it should be obvious that when writing, the MultiValuedMap must be completely filled out for every bean before sending it off to be written. That is, every index that is expected in the output must be present in the map and have at least a null value.

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