SHOULD HANDWRITING BE DISCOUNTED?

LITERACY – FROM PENCIL AND PAPER TO KEYBOARDS AND PRINTERS. Part 1

Modern teaching technologies have refocussed students away from exercise books, writing pads, pens, pencils and rulers for straight lines. There were ‘3P’s’ to be considered by children who were producing written text.

* Pencil or pen hold.
* Paper position or angle – for the sake of writing slope.
* Posture – sitting up straight and keeping eyes a reasonable distance from work.

Formal handwriting lessons to reinforce these skills and to develop an understanding of upper and lower case, together with printing to cursive writing development was the order of the day. Most classes, especially in the lower and middle primary years, had handwriting lessons. In many cases, these lessons were offered on a daily basis.
The start and finish of letters, together with linking to form words, phrases and sentences were emphasised. This was in the interest of promoting fluency. Speed of writing, together with legibility came into the assessment frame.

Students took pride in the quality of their writing and presentation of written work. This included paragraphing, spacing, neatly ruled top lines and margins, dating of work and so on. Assessment of written work often included comment by the teacher on legibility. Incorrectly spelled words were pointed out and corrected.

That is how it was.

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