The practice of students endlessly copying letters and sentences from a chalkboard is a thing of the past. Teaching perfect strokes and proper curves in cursive writing is no longer at the top of a teacher’s lesson plan.
With the advent of new technologies like tablets and smartphones, writing by hand has become something of a nostalgic skill.
However, while today’s educators are incorporating more and more technology into their teaching, many believe basic handwriting skills are still necessary for students to be successful — both in school and in life.
Virginia Berninger, professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle, says it’s important to help children acquire the skill of writing by hand almost as they would a second language.
“I think it is wise to continue teaching handwriting,” Berninger said. “We need to continue to help kids be ‘bilingual’ by hand.”
The old way
In the past, the ability to accurately form all the upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet and connect them together to make words was seen as a highly valued skill that was the foundation of a child’s education.
Marianne McTavish, a professor of language and literacy education at the University of British Columbia, recalls her early days as a teacher and the writing exercises she went through with her students.
“We spent hours a week teaching young students how to correctly form letters, doing stroke work, proper formation and a lot of printing practice,” she said. “It was very much something that was assessed and valued.”
Strange Random Handwriting Quote:
“You may not be able to read a doctor’s handwriting and prescription, but you’ll notice his bills are neatly typewritten.” – Earl Wilson
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