File(s) under permanent embargo
Since feeling is first: the art of teaching to write paragraphs
journal contributionposted on 2021-01-01, 00:00 authored by Lucinda McKnightLucinda McKnight
Conflicting ways to understand the nature of paragraphs, including their purpose and structure, have been central to composition theory for many decades. Yet English teachers across countries are experiencing ongoing pressures to mandate a specific paragraph template. This article traces the contentious, binary history of paragraph theory and pedagogy, and suggests how teachers in Victoria experience conflicts when teaching prescriptive paragraphing formulas such as TEEL and PEEL, based on a small empirical study. This is followed by a manifesto for a hybrid teaching of writing that incorporates both prescriptive and descriptive approaches to try to address what the study reveals: that according to teachers, formulaic approaches to teaching writing can both support and harm students’ capacity to express themselves. This manifesto offers propositions for classrooms in which feeling, rather than compliance, can come first when writing.