The five-paragraph essay structure has become engrained into the academic context. Serving as the basic framework for building a short paper, it is typically seen as the foundation for writing papers on any topic and in any area. However, some scholars have debated the significance of the five-paragraph essay structure. Although it is high time to retire the five-paragraph essay framework from the academic context as an obligatory template to use, abandoning it entirely does not seem reasonable since it serves as the training wheels for students who are only starting to explore the phenomenon of academic argumentation.
The opportunity to arrange one’s ideas orderly and create a clear structure that is easy to follow is one of the benefits of the five-page essay. The specified approach suggests that the narrative follows a natural flow of arguments that introduces the audience to an issue and leads to a satisfactory conclusion. As a result, the central message of the essay can be conveyed clearly and accurately, no matter how complex, controversial, or nebulous the subject of an essay might be. In turn, the freestyle narration that the author of the essay suggests instead, while offering greater leeway for students to experiment with the number and range of their arguments, rarely allows for a conclusive and clear statement. Furthermore, without a basic structure, the essay may deviate, therefore, failing to address the issue that it seeks to examine.
The article resonated with me on multiple levels due to personal struggles with the essay structure. Specifically, accepting the idea of the five-paragraph structure becoming obsolete felt quite liberating since it has always been quite a challenge for me to arrange my ideas so that they could fit the specified format. However, the article also made me feel quite uncertain since the five-paragraph structure provided the framework that could be easily perceived and understood by the reader. Thus, abandoning it felt like letting go of something essential, and the article resonated with me exceptionally strongly due to the changes that it suggested introducing to my academic philosophy.
Furthermore, the article relates to the problems in the present-day world quite strongly. For instance, the failure to communicate ideas effectively and articulate a specific argument has been rather prominent recently. The presence of the problem in question can be proven by the recent development of multiple confrontations and conflicts on a global scale. In turn, the idea of abandoning the five-paragraph structure as the basis for building arguments may cause even greater confusion and misunderstandings on a global scale due to the changes in the discussion structure.
Admittedly, one could debate the rationale for including the five-paragraph framework in the education context even at the early stage of argumentative skills acquisition. Indeed, by setting the unchangeable standard for written argumentation, the five-paragraph framework limits the extent of opportunities that students could explore by preventing them from embracing any other options (Al-Naibi 131). Thus, the five-paragraph approach stifles creative thinking in argumentation.
However, creativity is an acquired quality, which suggests that the ability to embrace the multitude of unique ideas can be developed as a separate quality. Nevertheless, the skill of the critical analysis and the introduction of logical and coherent arguments must be developed early and sustained consistently so that the framework could be internalized. Though the specified approach might be interpreted as an attempt at destroying any semblance of creativity in students, it does, in fact, allow introducing orderliness into their argumentation.
Thus, even though the five-paragraph essay structure might seem useless and could become obsolete quite soon, it should still be considered an important training tool for students willing to develop their critical thinking faculties. Therefore, it would have been quite curious to see a greater range of perspectives on the idea of using the five-paragraph framework in different contexts. Even though the specified template is likely to have become far too monotonous and unappealing to high school and college students, it may still be useful for younger and less experienced learners as the basis for building their argumentative skills.
Al-Naibi, Is’ haq, Maryem Al-Jabri, and Iman Al-Kalbani. “Promoting students’ paragraph writing using EDMODO: An action research.” Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, vol. 17, no. 1, 2018, pp. 130-143.