Friday, September 12, 2008

Just Call Me "The Liberator"

I had the first student come to talk to me about revisions on his first paper. After talking about his essay, he had to ask me one, final question:

"So, uh, do we need to have an intro, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion? 'Cause, like, I didn't know what to put in the third paragraph."
"Well," I said, "you do need an intro and a conclusion, but you can use as many paragraphs as you need."
He looks at me suspiciously. "Really?"
"Really," I said. "If you need 2, use 2. If you need 4, use 4."
"But I thought..."
"You thought wrong."
"Um, okay. So, as many paragraphs as I need?"
"Yes, liberating, isn't it?"

6 comments:

Teacher Poet said...

Watch it be one paragraph of three sentences. ;-)

Rhetorical Twist said...

In that case, his grade would go from a C to a D. Or F. ;-)

DocHoc said...

It's truly amazing the amount of students that don't know there's anything other than a 5 paragraph essay.

I can totally relate to your story, RT!

Jennifer said...

Did it feel good? Huh? Huh? Didn't it feel good to be a liberator? :-)

Rhetorical Twist said...

Oh, *heck* yeah!

Michael5000 said...

When I heard about the concept of the "Five-Paragraph Essay" -- I was happily spared in my own education -- I thought it was the ass-stupidest thing I'd ever heard. I've heard people defend it rationally, but if they want to make their case they'll just have to find y'all's blog themselves.