This is the age of technology, and rightly so, if we want our children to learn 21st-century skills, we have to get them well-versed with the latest and updated technology. Adding to this, the use of technological tools and devices has maximized as millions of children pivoted to e-learning.
One of the major drawbacks of increasing technological usages is that our keyboard has replaced our handwriting skills. We are slowly losing the benefits of writing by hand as the practice becomes less common.
Not so long ago, jotting down every small thing on a piece of paper used to be a part of our daily life.
Remember those days when New Year and Birthdays meant handwritten cards and small notes on the fridge or work table meant reminders for important work. We used to exchange handwritten letters, notes, and journals with friends, families, and even office colleagues.
With the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, the mandatory online classes emerged as a method for current teaching & Learning.
We feel that our little children are definitely missing this charm of writing over keyboard generated texts. When we can just type everything out, writing by the park is seen as a largely unnecessary act to partake in.
Writing skills, including cursive writing, are part and parcel of language acquisition and mastery.
BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND WRITING:
There have been many researches conducted and studies done that show the effects of writing on functional brain development during the early years of our children. When we write a letter of the alphabet, we form it component stroke by component stroke, and that process of production involves pathways in the brain that go near or through parts that manage Emotions.
Handwriting is a deeply complex motor skill that’s cognitively challenging and essential to master. Handwriting involves several brain faculties at once, including sensory, motor, and language centers of the brain, and of course our senses of hearing, sight and touch.
The below-mentioned link has related articles supporting brain activation during letter perception (click here)
Based on the research, we have listed the benefits of writing with respect to brain development, reading, learning, and the overall growth of a child.
- According to research, our brain regions associated with learning are more active when we write letters and words on a sheet of paper. This way we tend to remember more information, have a better understanding of a lesson as opposed to typing on a keyboard. One study found that students who took notes by hand had a greater understanding of a lesson than those who took notes on a computer — even though they were able to type out more information.
- Writing promotes cognitive development in young learners. It engages the mind of the learners during letter formation.
- Writing promotes more retention of information, hence enhances knowledge.
- As writing promotes motor skills, it unleashes creativity as more parts of our brain are put to work. infact more ideas are expressed while writing.
- Handwriting entails movement, from the holding of the pen to the touching of the paper to create letters; thus is considered a good sensory motor exercise.
- Writing by hand may also improve a child’s memory for new information.
- For older children, writing can actually calm down their brains and enhance focus.
- Also older children can use writing as an outlet to express feelings that cannot be expressed so easily by speaking, thus is therapeutic.
- It also eases anxiety and frustration and enhances mental wellbeing.
HOW CAN PARENTS FACILITATE THE PRACTICE OF WRITING AT HOME.
Practicing writing skills at home is essential. It gives our children a chance to put their academic writing skills to practical use. But knowing how to help kids with writing isn’t always easy, so we’ve also put together a few ways parents and families can help at home. Each of these is flexible to your child’s age and skill:
- Children learn and model our behavior. Hence we adults have to take the first step towards developing the culture of writing at home. From writing cute thank you notes, to pasting “things-to-do stick ons” to writing letters, we need to make sure that our children start valuing the benefits of writing.
- Instead of making it look like “just another school chore” for our children, we need to incorporate writing naturally into a fulfilled play.
- A cozy space dedicated to writing can also garner interest in children to write their “secret mission” down!! A colorful desk with their favorite superhero/cartoon character picture can do the magic.
- Before we encourage them to write, we must encourage them to draw. Drawing has a wide scope of learning and almost everything can be expressed through drawings.
- Young children can be encouraged to write their names on their favorite book or 2 words notes that they can share with friends. We need to start slowly.
- Another fun way to encourage writing is by turning our child’s writing into small booklets and sharing the copies with family and friends. This is very rewarding and motivating for the children.
- We can provide notebooks, colorful sheets, recycled papers and motivate them to write even if it’s simply scribbling. Idea is to create an environment where a child voluntarily picks up the pen and paper and writes.
- Another interesting way which will not only promote writing but act as a family bonding time is by writing together. It can be a game of “Boggle”, or sharing our experience from a recent trip, or just writing down “5 good things about each other”. We can also have a family board in the drawing-room or kitchen, and each one can be assigned a day to write down “quote of the day”
- We can also suggest note-taking to our child on whatever he/she sees around during nature walk, or boat ride. The current pandemic situation can also be utilized to teach them about health & hygiene, and encourage them to write “Do’s & Don’t for safety”.
- Words of encouragement every time our children write down something, even if one sentence is another positive approach towards practicing writing at home.
- One of the best practices that need to be encouraged is “Journaling”. Building this habit of journaling is a great way for older children to express themselves esp. during uncertain times.
HOW CAN SCHOOL PROMOTE WRITING IN AN ONLINE LEARNING FRAMEWORK?
We have stated in the beginning of the blog that with the increasing use of gadgets and shift towards online classes, writing by hand has taken a back seat. Let’s discuss how we can bring back the practice in the current situation where we all are dependent on technology for our learning and teaching needs.
- While the classes are conducted virtual and instruction is given via emails and messages, learners need frequent opportunities to write after school hours. These can be essays on the subject covered to feedback by them. This not only promotes writing but also keeps the learners away from the screen.
- Writing improves reading and vice versa. Using this underlying concept, schools can encourage daily reading schedules for learners followed by writing a reflection, review or response of what they have read.
- Schools can blend online art class into writing activity by asking learners to draw their favorite character of a story etc.
- Schools can offer different forms of writing. Instead of restricting to essays or short stories or worksheets, learners can be encouraged to write poems, the script for an online play, blogs for their virtual magazines, take interviews of family, friends, or any celebrity they know in person, take surveys and write down the findings, create posters, etc. these not only promotes writing but also expands one’s creativity.
- Last but not the least, publishing their student’s work will encourage them to create their best work.
All these tips above are great ways of writing at home under any circumstances.
Let’s accept the fact that no matter how pervasive keyboard-based texts are, we still need handwriting for small things like signature, writing notes, grocery lists to bigger things like wetting exams, or writing manuscripts. In this digitized world, there is nothing wrong with keeping the tradition of handwriting, because behind our signature, is our soul.
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