My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. Monday, January 23, 2012, was the date and Washington, DC, was the place where I was supposed to be. Clearly. Yet my invitation to the conference Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit never arrived. Clearly an oversight I do not expect to see happen again.
January 23 is National Handwriting Day, as you are no doubt aware, because it is the birthday of one of the most recognized examples of fine penmanship, John Hancock. Yes, he of the outsized signature on the Declaration of Independence. To mark the occasion, educators, researchers, and other experts gathered to discuss“the continuing controversy about the role of teaching hand-generated communication (communication via handwriting and digital media) in schools.”
You, in the back! Yes, you! I saw you yawn. No yawning around Mr. Savelle’s blog. Don’t blame me for coming up with the wearisome newspeak of “hand-generated.”
Anyway, thanks to Miss Zacharewicz (my second-grade teacher) and Mrs. Worthy (my third-grade teacher), I enjoyed high-quality handwriting and penmanship instruction way back in the Avocado-Colored Appliance Ages (the 1970s). I love good handwriting. I love to write. I have packed innumerable journals with important ideas and pointless noodling in my best cursive, thinking they were both standing watch, ready to correct my flaws. The instruction was never difficult or hard-nosed but, like the best teaching, done lovingly and with an eye toward what a particular skill meant to completion of the whole person.
So I am dying to know what came out of this educational summit. While plenty of my comrades here at The Mailbox differ from me, I remain steadfast in my belief that good handwriting, and some working knowledge of cursive specifically, is important. Beyond the obvious impact it has on gross- and fine-motor skills, I believe writing by hand brings a deliberateness and concentration of thought to one’s expression. Such deliberation and concentration thus enhances critical thinking and expands vocabulary, for starters.
I’m looking forward to hearing more about this summit in the next few days or maybe even weeks. And I’ll be sure that the summit’s organizers get me on their priority invite list for the next big show.
Do you think we should be done with handwriting instruction in elementary school? Or do u thnk itz time 2 tch txt?
I await your feedback. And stay tuned for part 2 of this discussion.