The “six-line essay” writing intervention for first-year philosophy students: A preliminary report

South African Journal of Philosophy 39 (4):411-422 (2020)


This paper aims at presenting the argument for the modification of Dennis Earl’s ‘four-sentence paper’ template into the ‘six-line essay” writing intervention. The underlying reason for this research is a relative paucity of literature covering the topic of philosophy writing interventions at a beginner’s level. In order to fill this gap, the paper takes the following course. For general background, it presents the general views on teaching essay writing and the relative unavailability of philosophy-directed methods and techniques. It then describes Earl’s template in relative detail. Further, it refers to my experience teaching philosophical writing to University of Zululand students. Next, it describes the specific group of students with whom I first tried the method in 2019 and whose needs prompted the modifications. It then explains the ’six-line essay’ model step by step, commenting on the rationale behind each step and the way in which it is presented to students. True to form, the paper also presents objections and the relevant counter-arguments. Finally, the paper points to the possibility of further, more structured research, with formal questionnaires/structured interviews and their subsequent analysis.

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Ewa Maria Latecka
University of Zululand

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The Four-Sentence Paper.Dennis Earl - 2015 - Teaching Philosophy 38 (1):49-76.

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