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When I first started teaching 16 years ago, I was told that I had to teach the five paragraph essay format because it was part of the curriculum at my school. I didn't think it was particularly useful and had some other ideas, but I was smart enough to see that this format was really being pushed at my school and that it would be politically unwise for me to speak out against it. Instead of pointing out its flaws, I marveled at its sparkling as my superiors held it up to the light as a key tool in a successful teacher's repertoire.
Now, the buzz is that the five paragraph essay is "out", and my superiors at school (none of whom were around in the old days) have begun to repeat the buzz they, too, have been hearing about how awful the five paragraph essay is. I can see that it is most advantageous for me politically to join in their chorus, and so I have. Down with the five paragraph essay!
Until the flow shifts again, anyway.
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All the writing done in my classes is done with a specific purpose, so writing to that audience is a given. I teach Spanish for Spanish Speakers classes and right now we are doing cover letters/resumes for SSS1 and cover letters/academic resumes/personal statements and college application essays for SSS2. I show them every step of the way exactly how the reader will react to what they've done. I explain that they have to sell themselves to the reader - to show in no uncertain terms that they are the best people for the job/place at the university in everything they write, Even the resume can be used to sell themselves. They shouldn't just write that they babysit children; they should list the various skills needed to babysit well (organize activities, prepare healthy meals, deal with minor crises, etc.). They should never assume that the reader will assume they have those skills.