My Faithful Right Hand

Teacher Editorial | By Tara Gauchier (BOLT student)

See how nice I can write in cursive. It took me many years to perfect my handwriting (many more to get the perfect signature). I was not allowed to print in school and so I followed the rules and adapted my printing abilities to handwriting. But increasingly students are not taught to handwrite. Slowly handwriting has fallen by the wayside and printing became more common, but the change did not stop there, technology came along (specifically word processing tools) and is now regularly used in schools. I type everything now. My handwriting (I use the term handwriting and cursive interchangeably, they mean the same to me) is not as perfect as it once was and I find it to be time consuming and, let’s face it, my hand gets tired from lack of practicing the skill. This leads me to two (seemingly) simple questions; Is the idea of teaching students to handwrite archaic? Should teachers push the use of word processing skills over the use of the hand as a writing implement?

What do I mean by Word Processing?

Word processing is software that “allows production and revision of text-based information but also allows adding many kinds of graphic elements to text products” (Roblyer, 2016). Using word processing tools has made my life as a teacher easier. Without them writing this blog would take forever! My corrections and changes would lead to several revisions, which again would take me (insert whiney teenager voice over here) forever to complete a final draft. The more inefficient my writing mode is the more frustrated I get, which leads me to be highly unproductive (and cranky).

In my classroom, I can see the same thing going on with my students. They have grown up with technology and most of them want to use it for everything. When I was young (many moons ago) my downtime was spent reading or colouring with actual books made from paper.

Abel. "Child with colouring book."
Abel. “Child with colouring book.”

Technology has now given children the option to do both without any paper involved! I think it is safe to say that times have changed, but is it for the better?

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