In a world where access to computers and electornic devices is becoming the rule rather than the exception, should schools continue to focus on teaching handwriting or should more effort go into teaching electronic skills?
Sculpting a sculpture is even more personal, but it's just not done all that often. Celine said it best last night that it's not writing that needs to go, it's cursive writing that is essentially a niche product -- like caligraphy.
Is typing more efficient in classes? I am not sure that's the case. It's something that needs to be learned as much as handwriting does. And really, when it comes down to itWhile using technology is paramount in today's office world, there is still much value in handwriting -- beyond the academics. Handwriting is a social medium too. It's personal in a way that technology just can't be.
Receiving a typed thank you email or print out isn't as powerful as a handwritten one.
Typing a shopping list isn't necessarily as efficient as handwriting one.
Tucking a card that says "thinking of you" into your kids' lunch box isn't as touching as a note with those words and a hand-drawn heart.
You do have to teach kids how to make the letters so they understand what they are looking at on a keyboard. And, you also need to know that some things will remain paper, but we are moving towards a day when way less is done. It's about options and teaching kids how to use the easily available tools.
I would say it is more about the answer than the medium, but you can't say the medium is irrelivant. What good is the correct answer if you can't express it in an effecient manner? Back in the day writing longhand was the most effecient way to convey a thought. Typwriters cut into that a bit, but their considerable heft made them impractical for anything outside of office work. Now with mobile technology literally exploding, keyboards are everywhere. On mobile phones, tablets, laptops. This is the most effecient way of writing now and it must be embraced in schools.
There are a host of other things young children can be taught to develop their fine motor skills without wasting time on an arcaic method of correspondance. Teach the letters and numbers, but do it in a way that kids will be using them in life. That means keyboards, not triple-lined paper.
Yes, I found alternate strategies, but I felt very punished in school for not being able to handwrite. Every test still involved writing and no matter how much I worked at it, I just never had the skills to do it. I think we need to teach basics and then let kids use what works for them. It's about how you answer the question or write the sentence -- not the mdeium you use to do it.
I think you are missing the point -- you can't become fluent in writing without sufficient practice. Teachers need to instruct children on crafting their letters and repetition is necessary to get it right. And only once you have that practice and can craft your letters without thought does it become automatic.
The key here, I think, is to begin teaching handwriting at a young age. Preschools are becoming more attune to this and getting more aggressive with how they approproach fine motor skills. Instead of focusing just on scissor skills (which is important as well), they are now combining several fine motor skills into lessons for children as young as 4. By the time kids hit first grade, they aren't tracing letters, but rather practicing their writing craft while learning written story telling, math, science and more. It's an integrated way of driving the handwriting lessons home.
And Dan, being that you admittedly didn't master handwriting, don't you think that maybe you've found other methods that work for you as a replacement? Whereas others, like myself, who can write with our hands still do so often -- in handwritten notes, lists, signatures, forms, etc?
Jason, it's called the Kindle Fire and being that the release date is November and it was just announced how would a school be investing in them yet?
I noticed you said schools are investing in iPads...not Kindel Fires, but I digress. You almost make my point for me when you say that by not focusing on crafting letters, kids' minds are free up to focus on other things. Exactly. By eliminating handwriting as a class, kids' minds are released from focusing on trying to form perfect letters.
I'm not saying that younger kids won't obsess about the speed and accuracy of their typing, just as kids before obsessed about writing neatly, but the fact is paper as a medium is dying. There certainly are artistic arguments to be made for pretty handwriting, but it just isn't practical any more. Once Guttenberg showed up with his great invention, the monks who spent lifetimes intricately copying texts by hand were out of business. There are few who agrue those are not glorious works of art and worthy of praise, but there are even fewer who are clamoring for us to go back to this method of producing the written word.
They will be buying Kindle Fires, but in this case, I think Netbooks are a more logical handwriting replacement device. I agree that handwriting won;t exist because paper won;t exist. It's like teaching kids scrimshaw.
It's not that we shouldn;t teach handwriting at all, but it's not the right thing for every kid. I was never going to get good at writing and I think with two books and articles in over 400 newspapers, I've done just fine as a write.
There's no doubt that electronic skills are more important than ever. Schools are investing in iPads, interactive whiteboards and other technology to both enhance lessons and give kids these necessary skills.
But teaching handwriting at a young age remains extremely important. It's more than just legible words on a paper -- handwriting is a fine motor skill that benefits kids' minds and their ability to handle tasks that require a well-trained hand -- like eating properly with a fork, typing, fastening buttons on their clothing, etc.
Furthermore, handwriting is an essential part of learning. Kids need to master handwriting so that it becomes an automatic skill, freeing up their minds to take in more complex ideas -- if you are focused on crafting letters, how can you effectively learn?
Here's an interesting article on why it is so important: How Legible Handwriting Enhances the Writing Process and Assessment
I realize that computers are being used for so much today and are taking over the need for handwriting skills. However, computers are not always with us and some students only have access to computers in school.
We will always need to know how to write and we use handwriting to sign our signatures.
I agree with the fine motor skills benefits you stated...this is very important.
I personally like to use the computer to compose letters and would prefer to type on a computer instead of handwriting out projects, but I still think students need to learn the skill of handwriting.
Schools are already making headlines for eliminating handwriting lessons from the curriculum. But that isn't going far enough. Sure, we have to teach letters, spelling and grammar, but schools need to be teaching these things using the medium of the day. Recent studies show that electronic writing like texting may be beneficial to students (http://tinyurl.com/3gr83om), but without propper instruction and guidance they can lose their way.
Eliminating handwriting is already here, embracing texting and other electronic methods for writing are what needs to be done next.
It's one thing to teach kids the basic shapes of letters, but it's foolish to spend so much of elementary school focusing on handwiriting. At this point, handwriting is basically scrimshaw. There's no longer a use for it, beyond sticky notes and signing credit card receipts. I've written two books and can't remember the last time I actually wrote something down on a piece of paper. It's silly that in this day of $199 tablets and laptops that cost even less than that that we have students in high school and college still writing out essays in those blue test books. All real communication now happens electornically. Even kids at summer camp use computers to write letters home. It's ridiculous that schools negelct teaching electronic data entry when that's what kids will need in the real world.