I’ve read some blog postings lately about the inevitable demise of handwriting. Many people feel that technology is making pencils and pens obsolete. Paper is only needed for printers and fax machines. Our young people will become the generation that doesn’t write.
I’ll still teach handwriting as long as I’m still teaching.
Handwriting is a skill. It’s one of many that people can learn and use. I know how to type, and use my computer for a variety of tasks. I can draw, paint, sew, knit, crochet, make a bow, cook, plant a garden, hammer a nail, and drive a car. Those aren’t skills I need to give up or we need to stop teaching just because there are substitutes available for each one. I still want my grandchildren to know how to tie their shoes, even if they can buy shoes with Velcro tabs!
Handwriting is still needed for taking notes, filling out forms, and signing our names. I’m sure that at some time in the future we will all have personal communication devices attached to our bodies and need only our thumbprints for identification, but in the meantime there are many places in the world that aren’t privileged to have the latest technology.
Handwriting helps develop fine motor skills and links knowledge to our brain in ways that I don’t understand. When I type something I vaguely recall it. When I write something down I can often “see” it word for word in my mind! I also know that writing in different colors helps some of my students remember things more clearly.
Handwriting is often a reflection of other things going on in the body. When I have a child who writes very poorly- large, dark, misshapen letters- despite training and effort, I stay alert for other learning problems. It’s just been my experience that they go together.
Handwriting expresses creativity and personality. As children get older and more confident in their abilities, they develop little flourishes and individual differences that distinguish their handwriting from others. My husband prints, rather than write in cursive. My aunt has a very “curvy” handwriting. I have samples of the handwriting of each of my grandmothers and one from my great grandmother. I cherish them!
So, I’ll still teach handwriting, thank you. Not because of educational research or scientific findings, but because my “granny wisdom” tells me it’s the right thing to do.