Why handwriting needs to be revived

Handwriting builds memory power, muscle power, and ability to concentrate, which increases cognitive ability to process information.

Handwriting builds memory power, muscle power, and ability to concentrate, which increases cognitive ability to process information.

Writing or drawing by hand is a natural process that fascinates every child. Children tend to display their artistic talents on the walls of houses. In school, they are taught to write the alphabet with tools such as slates and chalk, then pencils and pens. However, today handwriting has become obsolete.

What is initiated as an imitation of letters at the primary level continues systematically with the cloning of the lines of the prescribed texts, throughout the school years. Worse is the scene at the tertiary level, with students settling for simple options of downloading texts or purchasing projects from ghostwriters who also copy and paste from websites. This has also become common in the field of research.

No program

Lack of writing skills is not new, as there has never been a curriculum for it. A dry grammar-based approach was adopted, which dealt with parts of speech, subject-verb concordance and less important aspects such as punctuations, capitalization, etc. Learners were rarely introduced to the writing process to generate and convey ideas, which would characterize writers. Another critical reason that causes writing incompetence is the concurrent skill of reading. “Read a thousand books and your words will flow like a river.” The skill of reading is also on the verge of collapsing and therefore the intertwining of these twin skills must be exploited.

With few lovers of writing, technology came as a boon. The keyboard mastered the handwriting skill, the auto-correction mode made learning spelling, grammar and writing mechanics redundant. However, experts have established that handwriting is a complex skill that combines kinesthetic movement and cognitive processing, leading to increased learning power.

Human evolution has repeatedly reminded us that a skill once lost is rarely regained. Therefore, while it may seem like a regressive step, the revival of handwriting should be welcome. Conventional wisdom has proven that physical handwriting boosts memory and muscle power, as well as the ability to concentrate, which increases cognitive ability to process information. The charm of handwritten messages on special occasions always holds more power than a text message.

K. Elango is the National Secretary, ELTAI, and (former) Professor of English, Anna University, Chennai

V. Anitha Devi is Associate Professor, Department of English, VIT, Vellore

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