Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Lost Art

A couple of people lately came to me saying they've been typing so much spelling has become an issue for them. I'm illiterate in two languages now!! one of them wrote in honest distress and I understand the unease in realizing you've forgotten 5th grade lessons... Once we were annoyed because teachers were constantly correcting us. It stopped, for a while we were relieved and now we miss being corrected....

It also reminded me of a discussion I took part in a couple of months ago. It was something about digital textbooks and two comments were made which really got me thinking.

I don't really care what happens to "handwriting skills" as I am sure that will be a forgotten art in a generation or two anyway.

About handwriting, maybe there would be some special courses for those students who might be interested in learning it.

The comments also inspired me to do some research and write a post which I'm going to re-post here. This is for the kinaesthetic learners out there who need to know why handwriting is important for learning and maintaining the skills of reading and writing.

Hope you enjoy it,
All my love,

The Forgotten Letter - Q as in: Quills or why teach handwriting at all? 

 Submitted by dxplorer on 10 February, 2012 - 19:35 

The revered Steve Jobs in his 2005 Stanford commencement address mentioned the impact enrolling in a calligraphy class had on his life, Apple and ultimately the world. It’s interesting how comments to my post about something Apple introduced into this world made me wonder: with all the swiping, typing, texting and tapping, why teach handwriting at all?

My little Google research lead me to this describing the work of Karin Harman James from Indiana University which showed the following interesting points:

  • The brains of children who learnt letters by writing them down reacted more intensely when they were shown a letter, than the brains of those children learnt about the letters otherwise.
  • Adults who were taught a set of new characters by writing them down more easily distinguished those characters from their mirror images.

These two findings point that by writing we take in the characters more deeply – not only visually, but also kinaesthetically. By writing the parts of our brain in charge of motor skills and sensory memory is activated too. And that leads not only to better writing, but also better reading, because if perception of a character activates more parts of our brain, we recognize it more easily.

To conclude: As obsolete as it may seem to be becoming – writing by hand is a skill not to be underestimated.

So stay hungry, stay foolish – and make your students’ hands write… at least the important things. ;)

Love to all,


Further reading available at the Science of Learning Blog and Science Daily.

No comments:

Post a Comment