Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thesis Papers

At my school we typically teach the standard, 5-paragraph thesis paper. We use the inverted triangle to begin, include quotations in each supporting paragraph, and conclude with the opposite of the introduction--pedestrian, yes, but effective for beginning writers.

I have, as of late, experimented with other types of essay and am now curious what others do.

What do you teach in your school when teaching the thesis paper?

1 comment:

Seth said...

As a junior high teacher, the 5 paragraph essay was very effective with "getting the job done". The problem is that students got into the habit of trying to write every essay in just 5 paragraphs, whether it was a thesis essay or just a simple narrative.

In my high school classrooms, I'm seeing much of the same things from students. So I tend to try and break them out of the 5 paragraph format from the beginning. I make them write a 4 paragraph summary essay (with a thesis) and then as we continue through the semester, I never mention 5 paragraphs again. Generally, my student essays range from 3-8 pages, and they quickly come to realize that 5 paragraphs is immensely inadequate for essays of those lengths.

While I like the comfort that students have with the 5 paragraph essay, I hate the way it limits students. They get stuck in the 3 part thesis and then seem to be unable to ever expand beyond that.