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Is the teaching of handwriting still important in this technology driven age?

Is handwriting still important? Educators are saying that basic handwriting skills are still necessary for success in schooling and life. I play a dual role as a mother/teacher and I have found it extremely hard to get my son to write the way I would love him to. I see his 'excitability' in his pattern of handwriting. He just won't settle to write well a lot of times but teaching him to write frequently is helping him learn to be more detailed. It has worked on his study skills and his spellings.

Fears of handwriting's demise prompted North Carolina Congresswoman Pat Hurley to draft a bill, mandating that script be taught in all elementary schools in the state. It passed unanimously in the state House earlier this month.

Jeffrey Reaser, an associate professor of linguistics at North Carolina State University, says a sense of "nostalgia" is not enough reason to force students to learn something that's "not crucial to their education".

Meanwhile, some classrooms in the state have begun teaching students handwriting on iPads and iPods.

I think that it is important because it helps children acquire the skill of writing by hand almost as they would a second language. It is wise to continue teaching handwriting and we need to continue to help kids be 'bilingual' by hand.

There is still a clear emphasis on maintaining those building blocks within the education system. Some experts conducted a study that looked at the ability of students to complete various writing tasks — both on a computer and by hand.

The study, published in 2009, found that when writing with a pen and paper, participants wrote longer essays and more complete sentences and had a faster word production rate.

In a more recent study, they looked at what role spelling plays in a student's writing skills and found that how well children spell is tied to how well they can write.

"Spelling activates some of the thinking parts of the brain in the frontal lobes." one expert said. "We think that it is a cognitive portal, because it helps us access our vocabulary, word meaning and concepts … It is allowing your written language to connect with ideas."

Spelling helps students translate ideas into words in their mind first and then to transcribe "those word representations in the mind into written symbols in the external environment (on paper or keyboard and monitor)," the study said.

Seeing the words in the "mind's eye" helps children to not only turn their ideas into words, says Berninger, but also to spot spelling mistakes when they write the words down and to correct them over time.

In our computer age, some people believe that we don't have to teach spelling because we have spell checks. But when a child has a functional spelling ability of about a fifth grade level, they won't have the knowledge to choose the correct spelling among the options given by the machine."

I dare to say that hand writing has a lot to do with discipline, clarity of thought and ability to focus. But then perhaps, these are not considered useful things any more in this "copy and paste age". I'm wondering! Have you noticed that an increasing number of people can not spell correctly any more?