Research: Examining handwriting
3 September 2009Add to My Folder
Caroline Buggins on why children need more opportunities to enjoy the freedom of expression that handwriting can bring
People have been analysing handwriting for more than 2,000 years. Roman historians examined Caesar Augustus’ handwriting; priests and monks secretly explored the art in the Middle Ages, and even William Shakespeare once said, “Give me the handwriting of a woman and I will tell you her character.”
As parents, we worry about whether our children are happy. We know their personalities are still being shaped. But how many parents know that children’s thinking patterns, self-esteem, self-confidence and fears can all be revealed through their handwriting?
STABILO’s research found that 75 per cent of parents are trying to reduce their children’s screen time amid concerns that the popularity of computers is to blame for the poor standard of their child’s handwriting. Seventy-six per cent of parents also believe modern technology is stifling their child’s creativity. Seven per cent have been so concerned about the state of their child’s handwriting they have gone into the school to talk to their teachers, with another 37 per cent admitting they have thought about doing this.
When analysing handwriting, experts look at form, movement, spacing, layout and pressure. All these elements impact each other to create a full analysis of a child. However, it is the sense of movement that can indicate the basic temperament and well-being of a child. The box shows five key indicators.
Recently, STABILO – a company which produces ergonomic writing instruments designed to help improve children’s handwriting – asked parents and teachers about their children’s handwriting and found that children are handwriting less. Parents are very concerned about the impact technology is having on their children, with 84 per cent wanting more time spent in school concentrating on traditional writing and drawing.
Strong, lively and free-flowing writing = dynamic, confident, strong-willed, vital, alert, happy, ready to try new activities, enthusiastic, resilient, responsive, confident, able to relax.
Peaceful writing = calm, purposeful activity, even-tempered, self accepting, self-controlled.
Very careful, static, weak and slow writing = rigid, conventional, perfectionist, anxious, controlling, compulsive, difficulty accepting new ideas, inhibited, low need for individual achievement.
Careless writing = hasty, racing mind, excitable, impulsive, tense, nervous, hyperactive, aggressive, difficulty sticking with decisions.
Disturbed or distorted writing = social and or psychological problems.
Whatever advantages new technologies bring, it is important that we continue to teach children handwriting skills to allow them the self-expression this offers. One of the most positive things a parent can do for their child is to spend quality time with them, encouraging them to put pen to paper. Whether that involves composing stories and fairy tales, writing the family postcards on holiday, or just getting creative with a large piece of paper and colouring pencils, they will be growing in skill and confidence. Handwriting is one of the freest pursuits that a child can undertake in a world where modern technology often imposes restrictions and boundaries on children’s natural self expression.
To help children handwrite with ease STABILO has designed the ’s move® easy, an ergonomically designed pen available in both right- and left-handed versions, which has been praised by teachers, approved by parents and loved by children. The pen is specially designed to assist a relaxed hold whilst writing, preventing muscle fatigue – resulting in easy, comfortable and tidy handwriting.
For younger children the STABILO EASYergo is the perfect entry level handwriting pencil. It is also available in left- and right-hand versions and provides the tripod support which enables the child to learn to write in comfort. Both pens are available from supermarkets, high-street retailers and all good stationers. For more information visit www.stabilo.co.uk.