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Future of Handwriting and Its Effect on Learning

learning handwriting as a child plays a major role in the way children learn to read, this article describes the fact that not teaching handwriting to children could have negative effects both short and long term. Many schools have now decided to not teach handwriting at all opting to teach keyboarding instead

The Future of Handwriting and It’s Effect on Learning

Technology is the dominant force behind our fast paced, increasingly digital world. Most people grow up learning how to write, in print and in cursive, while they are in school; however, since the introduction of things like online banking, the I pad, handheld computers, voice recognition, and touchscreens, actually writing something down is quickly becoming archaic. Reading and writing have gone hand in hand since the beginning, to learn one you learn the other, and vise versa. If something is not done to insure the preservation of people’s written skills as a population, the handwritten word, and possible the ease at which people learn to read will soon become a thing of the past.

The school system is the battle ground for preserving the written language. Kathleen wright says “It sounds old-fashioned when you put forth the argument that you lose connection with the past. But then there’s also that scientific aspect of it. We don’t know what’s going to happen later on if you don’t teach children how to write on paper or how to write cursive. “(Wright). Wright said this after Indiana schools, along with 43 other school systems, decided not to make it a requirement to teach handwriting. Instead these schools opted to teach children keyboarding skills. Learning to write seems to be a key component in learning to read.

Clarke Middle School English teacher Ellen Jackson says that “a lot of my students over the years have stopped being able to read cursive writing, so when I write on the white board, I have to make sure to write in print because they can't read it” (Jackson). The correlation between writing and reading seems indisputable. If children do not learn how to write how much harder will it be for them to learn to read, and what about those children that have learning disabilities? Will they be unable to learn how to read altogether?

Virginia Berninger, a researcher at the University of Washington, says that teaching keyboarding is important but can't replace handwriting. Beringer states that "when we write letters, we sequence strokes. When we spell, we sequence letters. When we compose, we sequence words within sentences and then sentences within paragraphs" (Beringer). The actual process of learning to write individual letters and group them into words is the key function to learning to read. By opting out of teaching kids to write, they’re being subjected to much harder learning experiences. True, keyboarding skills are much needed in today’s technologically packed system; however, what would happen if twenty years from now the planet no longer has access to electricity?

Taking handwriting off the curriculum should not have been an option because now these children are limited, and eventually these non-writers will replace those that can write, making the ink pen a primitive tool. Keyboarding should be an addition to the curriculum, as opposed to a replacement.” It seems ironic that what we might consider a basic communication skill (writing - cursive or block/printing) is being lost to technology. As I recently lamented to the kids' teachers, what happens when the [electricity] fails or the batteries run dry? Revert to grunting? With the silent generation prolific with two thumbs, where lies the opportunity for creative and dexterous use of their digits beyond pointing?” (Taylor). There is still hope by way of preservation; maybe enough teachers will realize that it is their duty to make sure their students are prepared for the world we live in, and not give up on the daunting task at hand.

Today people don’t need to do much writing, seeing as how they have thumbprint scanners, eye scanners and voice recognition; even prescriptions are sent via palm pilot. By letting technology do so many things for them, people have by proxy dumbed themselves down to the point that they rely on these things just to make it through the day. The majority of educators today are adamant that if they cut writing it will be detrimental to the overall intellect of society. As adults people have already succumbed to the ease of just pressing a button therefore nulling the things they once took the time to learn how to do. This is ok to a point because if have to, people can revert to what they once knew, but what about the children that never learned these things? They can revert to nothing, therefore are helpless in the event that technology collapses or is unavailable. If handwriting is excluded from schools people are certain of an exclusion of intelligence that they may never recover from.

Sources

Wright, Kathleen. "stateimpact.npr.org." . N.p., 09/29/2011. Web. 21 Feb 2012.

Jackson, Ellen. http://www.covnews.com/archives/16871/. covnews, 01/17/2011 . Web. 21 Feb 2012.

Beringer, Virginia. "should cursive and other forms of handwriting be taught in school." blogs.edweek.org. education week, 01/23/2012. Web. 23 Feb 2012.

Taylor, Dale. "no more handwriting." gogonews.com, 07 20 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2012.

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Comments (2)

A very useful article on handwriting! I have also publish an article on "tips to improve your handwriting".

It is also terrifying that we have given up teaching people to ride horses. Soon there will be no petrol and many people have forgotten how to walk to the shops. Also our reliance on paper... Who still has the knowledge to make their own paper?  Perhaps we should also look here: http://cjpeterso.edublogs.org/2010/01/31/saber-tooth-curriculum-or-21c-standards/

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