Gatekeeping can be applied to really any aspect of life because sometimes, in life, we find ourselves hoping to be liked by certain groups so that we “fit” in. For example, the five paragraph structure that we all know so well has become a way to get a good grade. Personally, I feel like I followed this format because I knew that if I didn’t, it wouldn’t get me a good grade and teachers always teach us that this is the ONLY way to write. Therefore now in college, personally I find it difficult to break away from “old habits.” The Elements of Literacy states that “particular practices promote particular skills” which can explain why it becomes hard not to want to write in the five paragraph format that is engraved into our brains.
I believe this structure of writing is only hindering our creativity and causing us to fear writing. This method of writing in five paragraphs has caused many people to believe that they are “bad writers,” like Brannon stated in his article. Writing has been transformed into “an unrealistic view of the writing process, a view that assumes writing is done by formula and in a social vacuum” (The Five-Paragraph Essay and the Deficit Model of Education).Writing has been molded into something that it isn’t. Schools are at fault for this because all they want is for students to test to see how literate students are, when it really should be more than that.
I think that this concept is what is making us fail as writers. What struck me while reading Brannon’s article was when he mentioned that, “Teaching writing (rather than teaching formats) takes an understanding of their search and scholarship in composition, takes understanding of oneself as a writer, and takes an in-depth understanding of how writers truly develop as writers.” I thought this was very true because if we aren’t given the freedom to write in the way we want than how are teachers supposed to know how we really feel about what we are writing, or if we are encouraged so much to write in this format, is it because the teachers really don’t care about our actual thoughts on what we are writing?