May 28, 2022 by admin
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We are currently engrossed in a highly and fast-paced digital era where electronic devices are on the rise. We often find ourselves asking questions like, “Why don’t we just teach them how to type?”, “Does handwriting really matter if they know the required information?”
Although learning how to type is a skill that should not be overlooked, handwriting and penmanship should also be primarily a priority for learning.
Having illegible handwriting can negatively affect the grades of a learner regardless if they know the information. I had the pleasure of interviewing a DST (Desktop Support Technician).
He shared his own personal experience with not having a very legible handwriting throughout his primary and high school years.
Although we spoke at length on the topic, exchanging our own personal views n the topic, there was something he said that confirmed the essence of this article.
“During the course of my younger school days, I used to come home with bad grades to a point my Parents thought I was not applying myself enough to my school work. This was not the case, I knew the work well but my handwriting was just so bad, I tried but struggled to improve it and yes, I remember having penmanship classes in school as a kid.”
“Upon reaching to tertiary level where all assignments and work had to be typed and not handwritten, I began to excel at an alarming rate. My work was legible.” (C. R. O’Neil, personal communication, November 4, 2019).
After hearing this testimonial, I then shared my own experience about a situation I encountered with a former student of mine. I had given the entire class English homework to do.
The task was rather simple- write an essay on one of the topics below. It was an evaluation of creative writing. The entire class did splendidly, describing their surroundings and usage metaphors and idioms; I was truly impressed with their adventurous attempt.
One student that stood out and I wish I could say his essay was superior to his classmates. On the contrary, I was unable to assess him because of the illegibility of his handwriting.
I had to call him aside to advise him on the matter; enlightening him, that failure to rewrite my homework would result in a poor grade on his homework. Finally, he agreed and before the day was complete, I received a well-written essay.
Upon speaking to an educator, she spoke on her point of view on handwriting. It was from the angle of computer completed work and assignments vs handwritten material.
“I had a friend who had less than average legible writing, she would rather type as much as she could than write an assessment. The problem with that is if all assignments are typed and the student gets used to not applying pen to paper the will definitely face challenges when the exam is to be written.
It is obvious to note that if the exam is to be typed it can be both advantageous and disadvantageous as the bottom line factor would be if one can type fast enough to complete the paper within the specified period or what if a power outage were to occur? The exam would now need to be reverted back to being handwritten.
Being exposed to both sides of the spectrum i.e. being a student and now an educator has made me realize that anything being done should be done well and that includes handwriting. This is a mindset to excel.” (S. McDavid, personal communication, November 5, 2019)
Handwriting activates the brain more as it helps with a child’s cognitive as well as their motor skills.
Motor skills pertain to the instructions given to the muscles to make movement i.e. the action of holding a pencil and shaping out letters. However, cognitive skills deals with the comprehension of making the connection between writing and mentally repeating and memorizing the sound and pronunciation of the letters.
It is important for us as parents, tutors, educators to actively encourage legible handwriting practice with learners to help facilitate these skills as they learn through the phases.
Cursive handwriting helps learners, both young and old with dyslexia?
Handwriting causes thinking – the repetition of writing your goal everyday will increase your awareness. The true purpose of a goal is to help you grow.Bob Proctor
According to Marilyn Zecher, students with dyslexia have difficulty learning to read because their brains associate sounds and letter combinations inefficiently, but cursive can help them with the decoding process because it integrates hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and other brain and memory functions.
Using print handwriting can actually make this worse, as letters are all separate.
Research shows there is something special about language development and the act of handwriting.
In studies, kids who practice handwriting do better at reading and spelling. Some experts believe that forming letters by hand while learning sounds activates reading circuits in the brain that promote literacy.
Although manual handwriting can somewhat be believed to be a dying art form, it is quite necessary. The automation and informal approaches that technology affords us are contrary to our intellectual development.
Handwriting places the right amount of pressure on a learner to help them retain information, and it is crucial that we use handwriting as often as possible.
Growing up striving to be a good student, while studying my mother noticed that I was not writing anything down on paper.
She approached me and shared the secret of jotting down main points and summarizing my learning material to help me retain and further understand the material. This helped me tremendously throughout the years.
I do not think the challenge for teachers and parents is to decide, “Does handwriting matter?” It does and always will. The challenge is finding the right approach for children who struggle with writing.
Horowitz, S. (2019, October 17). The Unexpected Connection Between Handwriting and Learning to Read. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/community-events/blogs/expert-corner/2018/09/24/the-unexpected-connection-between-handwriting-and-learning-to-read.
Jones, E., & Brown, A. (2014, May 6). How cursive can help students with dyslexia connect the dots. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/connecting-dots-role-cursive-dyslexia-therapy.
7 Ways Handwriting Improves Spelling. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://howtospell.co.uk/7-Ways-Handwriting-Improves-Your-Spelling.