Helpful hints and background thoughts. Readers may find these useful.
THE POWER OF EXAMPLE
What children and students derive from lessons and lectures is proportionate to the planning and preparation efforts of teachers and lecturers. Attitude is partially instilled by visible practice.
PRIME PURPOSE OF EDUCATION
‘Remembered’ teachers and educators are those recalled by students years later as people who cared and made a difference. To remember that ‘schools are for children’ should never ever be forgotten.
YOUR WORK LIVES ON
When the career pathways of teachers and educators are finished, the ‘results’ of their contributions are left behind. Those results reflect through the lives of past students, now today’s adults.
FOUNDATIONAL LEARNING COUNTS
It is too easy in these technological days of computers, calculators and other gadgetry to discount the importance of spelling, tables, handwriting, even thinking. Neglect is disservice to students.
DON’T CONSIGN HANDWRITING TO HISTORY
There is a lot of debate these days about whether or not handwriting should be taught at school. In some countries, including Finland and the United States, handwriting has gone by the by. Rather than being taught how to use a pen, all students are given the opportunity to learn keyboard skills including touch typing.
While trying to understand why this change has occurred I would be the very last person to advocate that handwriting should become a skill of the past. Rather I believe that it should endure forever.
I am certainly not down on keyboards and computers. But for children to have both handwriting and keyboards is optimal. To become mono skilled with handwriting going out the door would be altogether wrong. There are many many occasions in life when handwriting is important and indeed the only written communications method available.
When teaching handwriting, the “3 P’s” rudiments immediately comes to mind. That has to do with the methodology of writing. It is about;
* pencil or pen hold
* paper position
* posture – the way we sit in order to write most effectively and comfortably.
Stressing these things over and over again until they become habitual is important.
Part of handwriting is teaching children how to hold a pen or pencil so that it is comfortable and their fingers and wrists don’t ache. Watching people write these days can be quite a torturous experience because of the way in which writing tools are held. It’s obvious from observation that many people have never been taught how to write. That is an absolute pity.
These days specific handwriting lessons are often not offered in class. Or it may be that there is a handwriting text where children simply open and copy what’s written for them. I believe that those texts are enhanced by use of a transcription book and also with teachers demonstrating letter formation, joins, words and so on the whiteboard. The idea of children learning by copying really helps when it comes to handwriting development.
The way paper or writing books are positioned helps when it comes to the slope of letters. Writing from left to right is part of this and can be difficult particularly for left-handed children. Left-handers tend to “drag” their arms across pages as they write from left to right meaning that dog ears and crumpled pages become the norm. Train children as they finish a line of writing to lift their arm going back to the start of the line.
Support children with lessons as a transition from printing to writing script style. Linked script is part of this and it does take time to teach. Little and often is important and I would suggest a handwriting lessons every day.
Remember to comment on handwriting and praise the effort that students put in to the script. Be they printing or writing this praise will help.
Handwriting is so important. It needs to be revived not neglected.
THE IMPACT OF GOOD TEACHERS
I once read that ‘to teach is to touch lives forever’. There can be no doubt that the influence of good teachers positively impacts developing lives and questioning minds in a life-long manner.
The essence of education should be the development of children and students to take their place as the adults in tomorrow’s world. This essence of education should not be supplanted by the trivial.
CATER FOR ALL STUDENTS
Educational policy and direction seems to wrap thoroughly around the needs of students at the lower end of the learniing spectrum. We should not overlook those in the middle and at the top end.