Friday, 3 February 2012

Handwriting does make a difference!

Today, in the West there is a debate about whether students is school should be made to practice on their handwriting or just plough ahead with their studies. Should teachers work on improving the handwriting skills of their students in the formative years? How important is it to practise Cursive writing? There is one school of thought which suggests that there is no point in wasting effort in practising handwriting in today’s world where everything is done on  Lap-tops, or tablet P.Cs. The older but more  experienced view is that students should be made to practise on improving their handwriting and formation of letters. A child will learn about the difference between p,q,d,j,g, better if he practices them! Repeated handwriting practice helps the child differentiate between confusing letters!
The two main styles of writing practiced in schools of India are script writing and cursive writing. Out of these the prevalent form is cursive writing, while script writing is practiced in a few schools, mine included! Unfortunately, students who have practiced and know only cursive writing find it difficult to read what has been written on the green board if it is in the cursive form. It would be a good idea to expose the child to a second style of writing when he reaches the middle classes, that is the fourth, fifth, and sixth classes. It is during these years that the student takes up his or her distinctive style of writing!
It also makes good sense to take down, or make handwritten notes on a particular topic, as doing so would involve going through everything in your mind, and it would help the student revise the topic while writing notes. Thus when the student revises his handwritten notes, it would be the second time! It might be argued that the same can be done with a keypad, however I strongly believe that writing on paper with a pen brings into play a greater variety of learning skills, like practicing a dance or a song. You learn a tune quicker than a list of thousand names because somehow you become a part of it. Gradually it becomes a joy to take down written notes as you begin to enjoy each letter as it farms, and you become an even more active learner!
I very strongly believe that a handwritten bio-data, or application for a job, indicates confidence, boldness, and straightforwardness! This is because the applicant is being honest by allowing the reader to read his handwriting, not just the facts in the application! Confidence is reflected by a strong and consistent style of writing, when the letters fall backwards and forwards, it indicates confusion. When the letters fall backwards, as if being blown backwards by a slip stream of air, it indicates a recessive, passive, or perhaps an introvert character trait! Letters tilted forward indicate ambition.
A very brilliant student whom I taught in eleventh through part of twelfth is an example that very strongly suggests that handwriting reflects the character of the person. In the beginning of the eleventh class, he was brilliant, hardworking, but a little shy. I noticed that the letters in his handwriting had a peculiar rounded effect, as if they had been bent round to form a circle. He passed, came to twelfth class and became rather irregular. I noticed that he had begun to retreat into himself, and what was most indicative of his problem as I later realised was that his letters had become more rounded and were now indecipherable! The opposite ends of the letters were forced into a peculiar circle, so and i would look like a c, the letter the letter t would be squashed so that  the top tip of the letter and the bottom tip were almost touching each other. Later, when stopped coming to class entirely, I came to know that the poor child had been suffering from Schizophrenia and had stopped eating! He died in the end! It looks to me now that the deterioration in his handwriting was perhaps an indication of the inner turmoil taking place in his mind!
A U.D.C. in the school I was teaching previously has very beautiful formation of letters, and it is a joy to see his handwritten notes which are executed in the script form. Some convent schools in India are still very particular about making their teachers and students practice very hard in script writing or cursive writing, and this hard work made in the beginning of the schooling of a child does pay dividends later in life. What happens when you get the opportunity of a lifetime and you are asked to submit an application along with a bio-data immediately? Would you dare to beg a future employer for his lap-top/desk-top and printer or would you just request his secretary for a couple of sheets of blank paper?


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