The importance of handwriting
As technology advances, its use in our schools, colleges and universities is deemed essential. But don’t let us forget the importance handwriting has when helping us to learn.
Chances are, as adults, we would be hard pushed to remember when we last put pen to paper. Perhaps it was a shopping list or post-it note?
Despite learning how to write being mandatory for early years pupils by secondary school support is rarely given. Often a handwriting assessment is offered as a way to gain access arrangements for typing in exams.
But why do we leave it to Year 10 and 11 to look at handwriting?
Outside school, young people are wedded to texting and tweeting. It isn’t surprising that handwriting and its importance is afforded zero consideration in older children. For many it is seen as old-fashioned. And completely unnecessary.
Or so we are led to believe. . .
Having worked with many teenagers I can tell you they do care about their handwriting. Often their confidence has been knocked so many times. They genuinely do not know where to start. They fear a babyish handwriting workbook similar to the ones they had in primary school might reappear.
To some it might seem a near impossible task to get a teenager to write. However I can tell you if you make it fun, engaging and slightly challenging then our teenagers can improve their handwriting.
The Link Between Handwriting and Cognitive Behaviour
Many studies have shown that children learn better and commit facts to memory more easily when they write things down.
Indeed a study noted by Harvard University found differences in learning between students who used pen and paper to take notes and those who used laptops in class. (Click here to read the article.)
They showed that students who regularly used electronic devices in class not only learned to type quicker than they could write. BUT they also became easily distracted.
When you type something, you are likely to look at the keyboard. Rather than think about what you are typing. However, when you write something down you are engaged in the act of thinking. Here you will be thinking about the information you’re receiving.
The act of committing words to paper is a greater aid to learning. This is because you are more likely to remember facts when you have to write them down.
Another advantage is that students are unable to become distracted by what could ping into their inbox!
When Tech Just Isn’t Feasible
In subjects such as maths and science the writing and solving of equations simply cannot be done on a laptop. They must be written in order to study, change and solve them.
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Handwriting Reflects Who We Are
Your handwriting can say a lot about your personality and who you are. Imagine getting a birthday or Valentine’s card with a typed message. Then imagine that same card has been chosen personally and handwritten just for you. There’s a difference in how you would perceive these two cards. I’m guessing you would appreciate the handwritten one more because of the greater effort.
Though young people may wish handwriting was obsolete. There are so many instances, where handwriting trumps typing. (Yippeee)