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Members’ Day and AGM 2021
Friday 9th July 2021 at 11:00 am to 2:30 pm
This year our Members’ Day is via Zoom. We will have two presentations about research projects, followed by presentations from some of our corporate members, and finally our AGM. The Members’ Day is open to all members and is free of charge.
Members should log in and register for the event here.
11am: Researching handwriting support
Dr James Shea, Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education, University of Bedfordshire
The talk will cover how Dr Shea ended up researching handwriting support. A story that goes back to when he was HOD English and fighting hard to get intervention and support for his pupils. It will cover his efforts to ensure this knowledge became represented in teacher education. Finally, it will cover some of the background to his research project which is actually focused on the parents or guardians of those who acquire handwriting intervention for their children and seeks to explore the narratives behind these decisions. There will be an opportunity for questions after the presentation.
Dr Shea is the course coordinator for all the PGCE secondary teacher education programmes at the University of Bedfordshire. He is the joint phase lead for secondary teacher education across the university whilst also being the subject lead for secondary English where he is passionate about ensuring that the standard of English teachers remains high. He oversees a large team of staff who work with around 300 mentors across 250 secondary schools and all of whom form the partnership necessary to produce hundreds of new teachers each year. Previously he was the elected academic governor of the University of Bedfordshire from 2010 to 2012, whilst he was also Head of English at a large 11-18 secondary school for ten years prior to entering teacher education. His research interests range from neuroscience in education, educational technology to teacher education, but he is also undertaking a current research project into support for handwriting.
12 noon: Influences of spelling on handwriting speed in typical and atypical development
Dr Olivia Afonso, Oxford Brookes University
Spelling and handwriting are two different components of the writing process. Spelling is a linguistic process, while handwriting could be characterised mainly as a motor skill. However, they are both acquired simultaneously, and they both consume from the same sets of cognitive resources. Consequently, increasing evidence suggests that spelling difficulties affect the speed of handwriting movements. In this talk, Dr Afonso will describe a series of studies investigating how spelling and handwriting affect each other in typically developing individuals and in individuals with spelling difficulties (i.e., developmental dyslexia). In these studies, adults and children aged 8-12 with and without developmental dyslexia took part in different writing and graphic tasks. Findings reveal that difficulties with spelling affect handwriting speed in all age groups. In the younger groups, differences between children with and without spelling difficulties are mainly (but not exclusively) reflected in the production of longer pauses between letters. Later on in their development, older children and adults with dyslexia also exhibited reduced on-paper pen speed during handwriting. Finally, she will discuss recent evidence suggesting that this reduction in handwriting speed might affect the development of pen movement speed in other graphic (non-linguistic) tasks.
1pm: Presentations from our Corporate members
Nexus will showcase developments and updates in their Pegs to Paper range.
Schofield and Sims
Schofield & Sims is a leading publisher of books for schools, parents and tutors. Written by experienced teachers, its resources provide children with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for both education and later in life. One of Schofield & Sims’ key areas of focus is handwriting, a vital skill that can have a significant impact on long-term academic achievement.
The session is presented by Marc Pitman, who will reveal some of the key findings from a recent survey commissioned by Schofield & Sims on the effects of the pandemic on children’s handwriting. He will also be showcasing Schofield & Sims’ WriteWell programme, a complete course designed to guide children from their first steps in mark-making towards the development of clear, confident and speedy joined handwriting.
Learning without Tears
Learning Without Tears is an education company that offers a unique approach to teaching and learning, from crucial readiness skills in Pre-K to foundational writing skills in elementary school. Our programs support learners and teachers with engaging, effective products, instruction, and professional development. The session presented by Susan Little and Luke Wardour today will focus specifically on handwriting skill development and building confident communicators. Handwriting Without Tears is a proven success in making legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic skill. Our curriculum helps children develop their writing skills through multisensory, play-based instruction. HWT uses hands-on, educationally sound, explicit instruction to teach handwriting to students with diverse learning styles and abilities. Throughout the program, developmentally based instruction is provided along with engagement through music, movement, and hands-on activities. Join us and learn how to give your students the life skill of handwriting!
Susan Little is a national board-certified occupational therapist. She received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She has over seven years of clinical experience providing services to children aged birth through 21 years old with special needs in outpatient clinics, neonatal intensive care units, school systems, and early intervention home care settings. Susan is a trained curriculum specialist in the Learning Without Tears programs: Get Set for School®, Handwriting Without Tears®, and Keyboarding Without Tears®. She has worked for Learning Without Tears for over 18 years and regularly delivers education sessions worldwide, where she shares her expertise in child development and the benefits of these programs for success in the academic environment.
Exercise Books Direct
The UK’s only direct supplier of exercise books to schools, Exercise Books Direct specialises in bringing affordable personalised exercise books to the UK market. Our goal is to give every school the chance to have personalised exercise books, increasing school pride and thereby contributing to a positive learning environment. With over a century of passion for writing products, we care deeply about the art of handwriting and so we’re very glad to be sponsoring the National Handwriting Association. For more details on our products, please visit: www.exercisebooksdirect.co.uk
2pm: NHA AGM
To register for the event, log in to your membership account and follow this link.