What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

The New York Times:

Does handwriting matter?

Not very much, according to many educators. The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in most states, call for teaching legible writing, but only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard.

But psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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I taught drawing for many years.
Some of basic exercises in linear form were “contour”and “gesture drawing” which were quick responses to a moving figure in pure line. Having undergone these exercises myself as a student and later using them in my classes I became convinced that this attempt to capture the flow and rhythm of the human form as line, was an essential component in the development of visual thinking, a process that links seeing, feeling, thinking with making.
This process not only allows us to see and feel more clearly and intelligently but also establishes the ground for identity which is present in all calligraphic and artistic marks, an extension of our inner form in line.
During the time when we were working in line, I often sent the students next door to the Forbes galleries to look at drawings but in particular a collection of documents, letters written by president Lincoln. The handwritten pages of his speeches triggered this idea, there was an obvious connection between the beauty of what was written and the way it was written. There was absolute wholeness there on the page, like in a work of art.
The article in the Times about the loss of handwriting in children is sad to say the least. But there is hope that research is now finding how important this connection is in human development.

Some pedagogical sub-cultures have since long been aware of this point, especially in the Waldorf schools, which have been one of the few opponents in the general appreachiation of pc in class rooms. Waldorf pedagogics stresses the point of close connection between mind and hand, and these schools allways practice hand written texts at least to the upper primary schools. Seems that they have a point.

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