By: Sanjana Kulkarni
Whether we are writing an essay for the SATs or a writing assignment in class, we are all familiar with what is expected from a five-paragraph essay. One paragraph for an introduction, three supporting reasons, and one conclusion. But in today’s dynamic world and the uncertainities of the pandemic situation, the stereotypical 5-paragraph writing assignment is the best example of a cliche.
Why are they clichéd ?
With online schooling and lack of social connection, a 5-paragraph essay is bland, boring, and overused. A structure ingrained in our minds as students from such a young age, has started to lose it's charm because of lack of imagination and room for individuality. Each one has the same ideas, just phrased differently. So how do teachers and administrators expect us to enjoy school when we have a lack of engagement and creativity, not to mention the tedious amount of work that goes into an essay when that same information can be easily displayed in a fun project such as a video or an infographic.
How to set free from the cliché?
To break away from this, teachers should introduce projects such as creating blogs/websites about the topic, allowing research papers for those students who appreciate hands-on learning, infographics, debates, parodies/comedy, video production, or even music! There are many different ways that a teacher can take a lesson away from the blandness of a five-paragraph essay and transform it into something fun, flavorful, and enriching while still getting the information across.
The five-paragraph essay leads students to engage only on the surface level. In its broad style, it causes overly general thesis statements that lead to poorly developed and unfocused papers. The lack of in-depth work results in the students' has a lack of interest, creativity, and confidence in their writing capabilities. Instead, why not use a form of creative outlet that leads to more information retention and increased confidence in students?