Children in Germany’s schools are having a tough time with their handwriting, a new study reveals. But how important is writing as a skill for students, who will have to find jobs in a digital world? Read article on dw.com
Here we cover national and international news relating to handwriting, with links to articles on external websites.
The Expert Meeting at the Schreibmotorik Institut e.V. in Heroldsberg, Germany, “What is Good Handwriting?” was successfully held on February 2014. This Expert Meeting offered the international dialogue with scientists, specialists and practitioners, who discussed the scientific foundations for learning to write, its complexity and the role of writing motor skills. As a result of this kick-off event with leading researchers in the field of handwriting skills, the Schreibmotorik Institut e.V. decided to establish an annual International Symposium on Handwriting Skills. Learn more
Cursive handwriting will be scrapped from the Finnish education curriculum and replaced by lessons in keyboard typing, it has been announced. Read article in the Independent.
Finnish students will no longer be taught handwriting at school, with typing lessons taking its place, it’s reported.
Learning joined-up writing, often in fountain pen in the UK, is almost a rite of passage for primary school students. But Finland is moving into the digital age by ditching the ink in favour of keyboards, the Savon Sanomat newspaper reports. Read on BBC News.
Article by Harriet Green in The Guardian
There have been calls to phase out signatures. BBC News
A pen which vibrates when it detects its owner making a mistake is to undergo testing in schools. The Lernstift or “learning pen”, does not require ink or special paper to work and uses an internal gyroscope to work out what is being written. Watch on BBC News
Ms. Berninger noted that when students struggle with handwriting, “people usually think, well, just put them on the computer.” But her studies of normally developing and struggling students learning handwriting suggest that may not be the solution. “It turns out that many of the problems relating to why they have trouble learning handwriting might also affect how they use a keyboard.”
Karin Harman-James of Indiana University in Bloomington based her findings on results from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI, scans taken of children as they wrote and typed. The brain scans indicated that “handwriting, not keyboarding, leads to adult-like neural processing in the visual system,” which Ms. Harman-James says suggests that handwriting may have a particular role in setting children up for reading acquisition.
On January 23, 2012, researchers and education thought leaders convened in Washington D.C. for Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit to discuss research and opinions regarding the role of handwriting instruction in the 21st century classroom. Now, just over a year later, a major shift in focus about the role this foundational skill should have in 21st century schools has occurred since the Summit.
It has long been a painful rite of passage for German schoolchildren – learning “die Schreibschrift”, a fiddly form of joined-up handwriting all pupils are expected to have mastered by the time they leave primary school.
But now, many German teachers have had enough, insisting it is a waste of time to force children to learn a cursive script when they have already learned to print letters at kindergarten. Furthermore, they say, the joined-up handwriting is often illegible.
Email, text and Twitter were said to be the final nails in its coffin. But as with Mark Twain – a great exponent of the art – reports of the death of letter writing have been greatly exaggerated. Increasingly, people are forgoing the gratification of instant electronic communication for a slower, more personal approach – letter writing is experiencing a revival, and the art of saying thank you is central to its resurgence.
Wohlgefühl: it’s one of those enigmatic words the German language excels in constructing. It can mean ‘wellbeing’ or ‘good feeling’, but it is the word Meike Wander, owner of Berlin’s RSVP stationery shop, uses to describe the timelessly simple delight of handwriting: of pen in hand, ink on paper and skin on surface as thoughts and images transfer from the imaginative to the material.
‘It’s a physical experience, it’s your body doing something,’ Wander says in her hesitant English. ‘Handwriting produces a good feeling – a wohlgefühl.’