I am all for teaching handwriting in principle. Considered a forgotten art by some, I still feel the teaching of handwriting has a place in the modern classroom. But I do have 2 problems with teaching handwriting:
1. My writing is neat enough, but hardly the best example of handwriting;
2. I haven’t been able to find a way of teaching handwriting that doesn’t put my students to sleep.
Devotees of handwriting instruction will go to all lengths to promote the skill. Take this report for example:
New research suggests that we shouldn’t relegate handwriting to the dustbin just yet.
As a piece in the Los Angeles Times reports, “The benefits of gripping and moving a pen or pencil reach beyond communication. Emerging research shows that handwriting increases brain activity, hones fine motor skills, and can predict a child’s academic success in ways that keyboarding can’t.”
In the piece, Karin Harman James, an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, explains how neuroimaging has helped researchers discover that “handwriting can change how children learn and their brains develop.”
If handwriting can “change the way children learn and their brains develop”, because it hones fine motor skills, you can say the same about other activities, such as video games. You wont see reports commissioned on the benefits of video games for the brain.
As i see it, if handwriting is something teachers ought to concentrate on, why are the approaches for teaching it so dry and boring. Endless lines of copying cursive letters isn’t just monotonous at best, it actually doesn’t change the way my students write. Sure, they might accurately copy the example in their handwriting book, but in their general writing they revert back to their simple, functional style. A style that, I’m afraid to admit, mirrors my own.
Is there any method you know of that makes handwriting lessons exciting? I’ll even settle for less than exciting? Anything is better than those blasted cursive handwriting books.