"The hand empowers the pen. The pen empowers the man!" Jake Weidmann on the philosophy, practice, physiology, and theology of handwriting.
From presenting a man born without hands who made his living through penmanship to demonstrating that handwriting has proved significantly to aid the developing brain, Weidmann reminds us of the wisdom surrounding the technology of the pen in his call for us to devote time to teaching handwriting. Handwriting promotes creative literacy, being good stewards of our humanity, seeing our growing dependency upon technology (keyboards) as possibly contributing to the ultimate downfall of our literacy. In short, Weidmann suggests that in creating our technology, we unintentionally create a technologically advanced way to create illiteracy.
Typing and keyboard skills are obviously required for navigating the 21st century, and Weidmann does not see keyboarding and handwriting at odds, but nowhere should these key skills be taught at the expense of learned handwriting, he says.
Typing learned at the expense of handwriting just "moves kids down the conveyor belt of the educational system," Weidmann offers, versus the learning of handwriting that captures human emotion and personality on paper, not to mention the invaluable cognitive development achieved through undertaking the complex tactile skill, particularly cursive writing.
So, where is the argument for not teaching handwriting anymore? Upon what verifiable, demonstrative evidence in support of such a significant pedagogical shift do schools today rest?
If you know, please share. Until then, we expect our students to be able to write legibly, often for an extended period of time. Sustained mental effort supported by sustained physical effort is required in rigorous education. Just like it is in athletics, so it is in academics.
It is not too late for our guys to start working on their penmanship. Tell them to begin with note cards for studying, and continue with writing class notes taken during class periods. If Junior's script is scribble, consider having him slow down and re-write his notes. Practice improves performance.
According to Weidmann, it just might save his humanity in the process!