Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Demise of Handwriting as we have known it.

When I was about 32 and teaching a class of very active 6/7 year olds, one of my pupils shouted out during a writing lesson, "Mrs Kahn, when you were young, did you write with a feather?" The rest of the class burst out laughing and so did I. It was funny, although the children could not have really known that. At that stage of their lives they had no real concept of educational progress or of the passage of time.  
I have always felt that it is vital for children to be taught to write legibly and neatly and I am most certainly not ready to give up that idea, not quite yet, anyway.
I do concede, however, that learning to type quickly and accurately is just as essential these days. So my question is, why can't children be taught both skills, perhaps in a new and imaginative way?  They serve  different purposes after all but I do I believe that learning to write is a very important  skill for the general development of the child. I do not intend to go into details here, but many studies have indicated this.

Therefore, I find it immensely dissatisfying and indeed very worrying, that in America, 41 of their States have already declared that it is no longer a requirement to teach children handwriting, although each individual school is at liberty to decide that for themselves! I would like to think that most schools will continue to do so as part of their regular curriculum, slotted in somewhere, perhaps in Arts and Crafts lessons, should those lessons still exist. When the current batch of teachers retire and new younger ones step in, I am sure the age of technology will take over completely. Perhaps then the only writing that will be required of children will be the ability to sign their names, and we all know that most signatures are entirely illegible in any case, so any old squiggle will do!  I should imagine that practically anyone can do that, without resorting to the good old "X", which would be a giant step backwards. 

What do you think?
Do send your comments!



  1. As a parent, it is appalling to me that handwriting is not required. There are times when the only way to record information or write a note is on a piece of paper...not electronically. If it cannot be read, how embarrassing for the writer and how sad for the one needing the information. IMO, handwriting must be a requirement in school. This skill should no longer be pushed aside and ignored.

  2. Two comments were posted on FaceBook. I am posting them here. We look forward to hearing your comments too.

    C. G: "I think i need to do research on how handwriting is closely related to coordination and cognitive ability. what OTs are with me?"

    D.H: "So true. Handwriting should be taken more seriously and not become a lost art, imo."



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