We write in a variety of ways. I write more casually here on this blog than for a school paper. While working in New York I wrote very concise memos – sometimes without punctuation at all. Sports writers follow a distinct style as well. In fact almost all situations call for us to write to different styles and situations yet in school were are teaching students essay writing and poetry. Even though I know I fill out forms more often than I write prose I choose to teach students the essay over something a bit more prosaic but useful. When I graduated college I had to learn how to write for work. They did not want my flowery, long-winded, and non-communicative five-paragraph essay that I spent much of middle and high school mastering. Employers wanted direct, point by point, specific synopses and catchy public phrases. Given that state tests pull closer to the essay where and how am I going to fit in a “Real Life” writing project?
This is just something I am thinking about. Perhaps the students can do a project, exploring real world writing…then write a five-paragraph essay on it – of course.