A good handwriting has many personal and professional benefits, and educators must encourage this essential skill especially in today’s digital world
Dr. (Mrs.) Amita Chauhan
Chairperson, Amity Group of Schools and RBEF
There was a time when good handwriting immediately caught the attention of our teachers. Many from my generation would remember how some teachers would give us ‘extra’ marks to reward beautifully formed letters. Every holiday, the entire family would gather together and write greeting cards and these personalised notes would become archival memories to hold on to. Good cursive writing was appreciated and encouraged because it involved more complex motor and cognitive skills and contributed to reading fluency by activating the visual perception of letters.
In today’s digital world where keyboarding has become the norm rather than the exception, such handwritten words have become rare. Recently, when a student at Amity presented me with a delightful handwritten note that said – ‘I love you ma’am’, I can vouch that the happiness I felt could never compare to all the texts I receive on Whatsapp. In fact, the importance of handwriting, of which calligraphy is an important aspect, was amply shared by well-known calligrapher Mohammad Ghalib during an interview with student reporters of The Global Times, Amity’s youth newspaper. He emphasised how calligraphy or the art of expressive, harmonious, and skillful lettering is as much about developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as it is about nurturing important life skills. Like any other form of art, mastering handwriting requires practice, perseverance and patience and these are essential values that all children require.
This is why I have always emphasised on developing good handwriting skills in children. From filling out important documents to leaving a lasting impression on someone through a handwritten note, good handwriting can be a valuable asset throughout one’s life. Handwriting reflects an individual’s creativity, personality, and emotional expression. When we’re happy, our handwriting tends to be more relaxed and flowing, with larger letters and smoother curves. However, when we’re anxious or stressed, our handwriting tends to be smaller, more tense, and with jagged edges. Thus, understanding the handwriting of our students can help us understand their emotions better and even detect early signs of stress and anxiety.
Another importance of good handwriting is its link to cognitive development. Writing by hand activates certain areas of the brain that are not stimulated when typing or using other forms of technology. These areas include the visual, motor, and cognitive areas of the brain, all of which are important for learning and retaining information. Handwriting has also been found to improve creativity, memory, and critical thinking skills. When children write by hand, they are forced to slow down and think more deeply about what they are writing, which can lead to more creative and thoughtful work. Good handwriting can also have an impact on overall academic achievement. Students who can communicate effectively through their writing are more likely to excel in written assignments, essays, and research papers.
In addition to its cognitive benefits, good handwriting also has practical applications in professional life. For example, for those who go on to become doctors or lawyers, it’s essential to have legible and accurate handwriting. In these fields, a poorly written prescription or legal document can have serious consequences.
There are many ways in which students can be helped to improve their handwriting. First of all, they should be encouraged to maintain a good posture as sitting up straight helps to keep the arm and hand steady while writing. Very young children should be monitored to identify which letters they struggle with. Teaching students how to include adequate spacing between words and letters will make their writing easier to read and more aesthetically pleasing. Finally, consistency is the key to good handwriting. Ensuring that each letter is formed the same way each time helps the writing to appear neater and more uniform. There are several handwriting exercises and resources students can use to improve their handwriting.
While technology has made it easier for people to communicate quickly and efficiently, this convenience has come at a cost. With dedication and practice, students can achieve excellent handwriting, which can benefit them in their academic and personal pursuits. We welcome your views on this topic. Please email them to us at [email protected]