Just One Thing to Learn

the number one High school and college essays may have an arbitrary length (e.g. 2,500 words) or structure (e.g. abstract, introduction, literature review, discussion). However, the way writers go about writing nonfiction exposition is the same regardless of length or number of paragraphs. The expository writing process does not change. It always begins with finding a topic and goes on to:

  1. developing a working thesis on the topic
  2. finding support for and opposition to the working thesis
  3. organizing a response around the working thesis or some modification of it
  4. drafting the paper
  5. editing the paper

Hopelessly oversimplified?

Of course it is.

That’s its virtue.

Once students have gotten the hang of the process, which many can master in third or fourth grade, teachers can teach them how to approach more complicated topics and formats as modifications of what they already know.  When students aren’t focusing on their fear of something new, they can focus on their writing.

So tell students they have just one process to learn.

They will love you for it.