In a rapidly digitalising world – a change hastened by the current COVID-19 pandemic – students should not forget to practise the skill of handwriting. At the time of writing (the end of March 2020), no changes to end-of-year exams have been announced, so students should still prepare to be writing exams by hand. Don’t throw away your notebooks and your pens just yet!
Even if examinations are eventually altered, handwriting is a helpful skill to develop. One such reason is the potential to improve learning outcomes when notes are handwritten. Some research studies have found that students better retain information and learning when they handwrite their notes, rather than taking notes in a typed form. Handwriting means students must carefully select and prioritise what they record. In turn, this means that they are already synthesising and processing the information they are being taught, where those using their laptops might simply be copying the information straight from a teacher’s PowerPoint.
What are some different handwriting styles?
Let’s go back to primary school to answer this particular question. Most young children learn to write in a basic cursive style. Yes, this is the style you would have had to master to get the coveted pen license. It’s likely, however, that going into high school, students begin to write in plain, normal, non-cursive script. This poses a problem when handwriting is done carelessly and messily, meaning some students’ work becomes illegible for teachers. Another commonly used handwriting style is printing, a capitalised, separated style usually required by official documents and forms to allow ease of comprehension.
What are some handwriting techniques, and how can you improve your handwriting?
Improving poor handwriting is difficult – it requires adapting long-established bad habits. Some handwriting experts recommend changing up the way you grip your pen, taking every opportunity to practise your handwriting, or ‘using a nice pen’. Other techniques include practising writing in big letters, thus taking your practice back to basics and making you focus on every letter you write.
As is the case with most disciplines, practice makes perfect! Think of all of the ways you might be able to practice your handwriting: write lists, hand write a journal, write out a paragraph from a book you really enjoy, and most of all, write out your school work by hand.
A great way of practising your handwriting is to look up practice sheets so that you can really work on giving those new techniques a go. You can find some free printable worksheets at the following websites:
Where can you get lessons or classes on handwriting?
If you’re really committed to improving your handwriting, look into lessons, or just do a class here and there! It’s worth pursuing a class which caters to your level and age group, so make sure the lessons are tailored alternatively to adults, teenagers or children. If you prefer to do some classes online, you could look into the courses offered by Udemy, or you could try using Skill Share, or even investigate the free options available to all on YouTube.
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