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Making sense of Literacy Policy, teaching and opinion I

n 2009 research carried out by Stabilo revealed that modern technology and poor teaching skills mean millions of children are no longer able to write properly. Half of teachers said they do not spend enough time on handwriting in school, with 20 per cent saying they do not actually think it is important. Almost 28 per cent even admitted that they do not feel confident teaching children how to handwrite properly.

Two thirds of parents were also worried that there isn’t enough time devoted to it in school but a staggering 92 per cent also blamed emails and text messages for the decline in writing standards.

Almost 61 per cent even thought technology could soon wipe out handwriting altogether. A spokesperson for Stabilo, who produce handwriting instruments specially designed for children said: ‘’Learning to handwrite is the bedrock of a good education. It is a basic skill that as adults we carry through our adult life allowing us to communicate on a personal level with those around us. We would like to see teachers receive more training and support so that they feel more confident teaching the future generation this crucial life skill.”

A spokesperson from the National Handwriting Association added: “There is a need for children to develop the sub skills for handwriting at a young age, improving their motor coordination, balance, visual perception and basic hand eye coordination. Then children need to be taught

handwriting regularly and systematically from an early age and their developing skills continually monitored.”

The poll, of 2,000 parents and 1,000 teachers, revealed that 92 per cent of people thought teachers should be given proper training to teach youngsters how to write.

And 60 per cent of parents were so concerned about their child’s writing skills and believed it important to sit down with them at home to make sure they spend some time practising it. But 24 per cent admitted they can’t actually do joined-up writing themselves, while 40 per cent don’t think it is that neat.

Almost two thirds of people also thought the days of people taking pride in their handwriting were over.

The research also found that people worry that handwriting itself could be on its way out as more than a third say they no longer write thank you notes by hand, instead opting to send a text message or email.

Another 24 per cent also say they don’t bother getting their children to write thank you notes. Despite this, more than three quarters of Brits say they would prefer to receive a more personal handwritten note over a text message or email, showing that handwriting is more than a skill; it helps people to connect with each other. A spokesperson for Stabilo added: “We’re pleased that people still see the huge value in handwriting and believe that people just lack confidence in their handwriting style. This often

18 January 2012

stems from their school days where they were not taught how to hold the pen correctly and therefore found handwriting a struggle. We’d like to help teachers find writing instruments that actively make handwriting easier and therefore more enjoyable.”

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