2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

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2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:34 pm

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Here is a new topic: Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age. Please read and discuss!

URL:http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/why-handwriting-is-still-essential-in-the-keyboard-age/?_r=0

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Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age


New York Times,
June 20, 2016

Anna Parini

Do children in a keyboard world need to learn old-fashioned handwriting?

There is a tendency to dismiss handwriting as a nonessential skill, even though researchers have warned that learning to write may be the key to, well, learning to write.

And beyond the emotional connection adults may feel to the way we learned to write, there is a growing body of research on what the normally developing brain learns by forming letters on the page, in printed or manuscript format as well as in cursive.

In an article this year in The Journal of Learning Disabilities, researchers looked at how oral and written language related to attention and what are called “executive function” skills (like planning) in children in grades four through nine, both with and without learning disabilities.

Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington and the lead author on the study, told me that evidence from this and other studies suggests that “handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language.”

Last year in an article in The Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Laura Dinehart, an associate professor of early childhood education at Florida International University, discussed several possible associations between good handwriting and academic achievement: Children with good handwriting may get better grades because their work is more pleasant for teachers to read; children who struggle with writing may find that too much of their attention is consumed by producing the letters, and the content suffers.

But can we actually stimulate children’s brains by helping them form letters with their hands? In a population of low-income children, Dr. Dinehart said, the ones who had good early fine-motor writing skills in prekindergarten did better later on in school. She called for more research on handwriting in the preschool years, and on ways to help young children develop the skills they need for “a complex task” that requires the coordination of cognitive, motor and neuromuscular processes.

“This myth that handwriting is just a motor skill is just plain wrong,” Dr. Berninger said. “We use motor parts of our brain, motor planning, motor control, but what’s very critical is a region of our brain where the visual and language come together, the fusiform gyrus, where visual stimuli actually become letters and written words.” You have to see letters in “the mind’s eye” in order to produce them on the page, she said. Brain imaging shows that the activation of this region is different in children who are having trouble with handwriting.

Functional brain scans of adults show a characteristic brain network that is activated when they read, and it includes areas that relate to motor processes. This suggested to scientists that the cognitive process of reading may be connected to the motor process of forming letters.

Karin James, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, did brain scans on children who did not yet know how to print. “Their brains don’t distinguish letters; they respond to letters the same as to a triangle,” she said.

After the children were taught to print, patterns of brain activation in response to letters showed increased activation of that reading network, including the fusiform gyrus, along with the inferior frontal gyrus and posterior parietal regions of the brain, which adults use for processing written language — even though the children were still at a very early level as writers.

“The letters they produce themselves are very messy and variable, and that’s actually good for how children learn things,” Dr. James said. “That seems to be one big benefit of handwriting.”

Handwriting experts have struggled with the question of whether cursive writing confers special skills and benefits, beyond the benefits that print writing might provide. Dr. Berninger cited a 2015 study that suggested that starting around fourth grade, cursive skills conferred advantages in both spelling and composing, perhaps because the connecting strokes helped children connect letters into words.

For typically developing young children, typing the letters doesn’t seem to generate the same brain activation. As we grow up, of course, most of us transition to keyboard writing, though like many who teach college students, I have struggled with the question of laptops in class, more because I worry about students’ attention wandering than to promote handwriting. Still, studies on note taking have suggested that “college students who are writing on a keyboard are less likely to remember and do well on the content than if writing it by hand,” Dr. Dinehart said.

Dr. Berninger said the research suggests that children need introductory training in printing, then two years of learning and practicing cursive, starting in grade three, and then some systematic attention to touch-typing.

Using a keyboard, and especially learning the positions of the letters without looking at the keys, she said, might well take advantage of the fibers that cross-communicate in the brain, since unlike with handwriting, children will use both hands to type.

“What we’re advocating is teaching children to be hybrid writers,” said Dr. Berninger, “manuscript first for reading — it transfers to better word recognition — then cursive for spelling and for composing. Then, starting in late elementary school, touch-typing.”

As a pediatrician, I think this may be another case where we should be careful that the lure of the digital world doesn’t take away significant experiences that can have real impacts on children’s rapidly developing brains. Mastering handwriting, messy letters and all, is a way of making written language your own, in some profound ways.

“My overarching research focuses on how learning and interacting with the world with our hands has a really significant effect on our cognition,” Dr. James said, “on how writing by hand changes brain function and can change brain development.”

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by camille.chalons on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:15 am

This concern seems to be very Western-like since it focuses on languages that are made of an alphabet; languages that are made of composed characters, such as the Chinese of the Japanese language, are completely left aside.
Learning how to handwrite at school down remains very important, simply because it enables us to mispell, to be corrected by the teacher, and to focus on what are the simple right elementary orthographic rules. Learning how to write is also learning how to communicate: putting effort in writing is putting effort in making us understandable. However high my French accent comes up when speaking in English / Chinese, I can still make myself understand in writing down (as long as the person in front can read). Let's see writing as drawing, it is the basis of communication from generation to generation, from the Lascaux caves or the Rosetta Stone to the current century.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Victor Chung on Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:24 pm

I couldn't agree more: no matter how distant is the relation between the written words (signs) and the story it tells (signified), there is an original physical link between them and handwriting certainly helps to recreate it.

This is also an accurate example of the benefits of being "here and now".

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by EvanWang2016 on Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:23 pm

Why Handwriting is still important in Keyboard Age

According to linguistic research, the complexity of the vocabulary of a particular language will actually affect the depth of mind development of its user group. People who speak a language that has 8 thousand words vocabulary have more sophisticated mind than people who speak a language that has 4 thousand words vocabulary. There is no doubt that systematic language learning stimulates mental development by activating the part of brain that controls recognition, learning and reasoning. The best ways of learning a language and its vocabulary are still reading and handwriting practices. The process of composing a word stroke by stroke is multi-dimensional brain stimulation and aesthetic experience.
It is true that keyboard typing develops 2 hemispheres simultaneously. This is the major advantage over handwriting practice. But a major disadvantage of keyboard learning for young kids is that the computer/tablet will use gaming module to keep the focus of children, which in the end might lead to electronic toys addiction at early age. Another disadvantage for Chinese kids learning characters by keyboard is that common pronunciation type input software have vague input association function, which does not put the pronunciation in correct way. This is not good for elementary learners.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Emma Xu on Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:48 am

Definitely agree that handwriting is quite important in nowadays. I think, writing is similar to printing. Use graphic charector to present the meaning. While tapping through keyboard is just using letters to present the meaning, which is not vivid and visual. We are quite proud of our plenty of Chinese charector culture, especially the traditional Chinese, which is still used in HK and Taiwan. Each of the character contains the history of language and social development. So under the process of learning handwriting, it can experience the culture and social development. And it can also practice visual recognition and understanding. So I think write more and experience more.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by hku_fudan_cloud on Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:01 am

Our brains and muscles are trainable.If we train them by daily use, they will become more capable. Handwriting contains the important process of closed loop feedback between visual sensing and motion controlling. In
addition, handwriting on different paper gives us diiferent experience of physical world. Therefore, in the digital world, it is very good to still have enough handwriting.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by baiyun on Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:34 pm

Handwriting is like drawing. I learn all character by handwriting in my childhood, and today, I still perfer the handwriting in stead of typing in the keyboard in the class noting, to record my thinking, etc. Handwriting can better connect the characters with your mind. Especially for Chinese that Chinese characters are building up like some drawing with the structures to tell the meaning. Handwriting is also a flow to lead it to express your mind. I sometime consider hand writing as an art. In China, the handwriting in brush by famous artists are real art for thousands of years,

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Shen-ling on Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:49 am

How learning and interacting with the world with our hands has a really significant effect on our cognition. So I agree that writing by hand changes brain function and can change brain development.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Wu Wei on Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:44 am

I agree with the views of this article. Chinese characters is the essence of Chinese traditional culture. With thousands of years of history, Chinese characters itself is a kind of culture. In addition, China has the sentence is called "word is the appearance of people”. So in the “keyboard kidnapping" today, we need to improve the handwriting ability.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Daisy_Lujing Wang on Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:55 am

To be sure, i am agree with the conment that, handwriting is still essential in the keyboard age. and also I will say, each character is more than a meaning but also a symbol of culture and history. I know, although Nowadays we have fewer and fewer chance to handwriting, it still very important, since it is by heart not merely by memory.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by popigao on Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:11 am

Personal experience: handwriting feels easier to concentrate while typing is will be easily distracted by other stuff on the computer. It is specially crucial for those writers who need to design a clear logic to the readers. Also, writing feels easier to get people closer, emotionally.

All in all, I don't quite understand the physiological study in this article, but I do agree with the conclusions that hand writing matters.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by lynn0620 on Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:02 pm

Actually I think this topic is very worthy to be discussed with. In this society that all children begin to use electronic devices, many of them including me, gradually don't know how to write and haven't practiced beautiful and correct handwriting. Handwriting has a long history and culture, especially for Chinese people. Every character has its own meaning. In the past years, our grandpa and grandma learnt to write traditional Chinese characters. Some of our parents knew how to write traditional ones. In our generation, we really know little about traditional Chinese characters, which is really a sad thing. Please bring this back to us.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by lawrence wang on Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:24 pm

The key here is to absorb merits from both writing skills. The hybrid writers will benefit more since both handwriting and touch-typing conceive certain features. Traditional writing stimulates the coordination of cognitive, motor and neuromuscular process while typing keyboard would cultivate collaboration between two hands. Creative way is to connect the dots and learn the writing skills along the different periods of your childhood.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by amiechen on Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:10 pm

Aligned with the point of view that handwriting is essential discussed in the article, i think handwriting is kind of training that let us focus on body sensation as well as self-control of our actions. Similarly, we train ourself focus on sensation such as breath when we do meditation. People tend to judge a person's personality by his or her handwriting since it reflect partly someone's ability of self-control.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Luisa_Xu on Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:17 am

I fully agree with the author. Especially in China. Firstly, hardwirting is a cultural heritage that needs to be inherited. Secondly, this will improve our self-cultivation, we practise hardwriting meanwhile we can learn the ancient poems. Finally, this is part of our quintessence. We have responsibilities to let our children master it. Electronic products will destroy them.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by wqinsh on Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:29 pm

Hardwirting make self-confidence, develop intelligence, cultivate harmony.
The practice of hardwirtingv always required to concentrate and write every word. It needs the brain to command the hands and eyes to complete the coordination of different movements of the hands and the coordination with the body parts. To develop and enhance the ability to coordinate with each other in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Numerous examples prove that children learn calligraphy, in terms of understanding, acceptance, imagination and creative thinking ability, etc., are significantly higher than the average child.
Improve personal accomplishment and cultural quality. At the same time to a person's cultural quality, moral character, the formation of character also plays a subtle role.
Hardwirting teaching activities can stimulate children's curiosity, observation and analysis of the thinking and understanding of calligraphy, writing process, evaluation and reflection of calligraphy writing, improve thinking ability will help.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Jerry SONG on Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:10 am

Hand writing can not be compared with the computer in terms of speed and neat . But there are also computer typing irreplaceable place. Handwritten words can express the emotion and personality. World has always been colorful, handwriting will never disappear, the computer typing will never completely replace the hand-writing.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by miaoweichao on Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:41 am

Frankly speaking , instead of keyboard writing , handwriting may be a better way for me to concentrate and widen thinking. Now ,in order to boost efficiency in daily work, I have to type my words on computer, however, which seems having invisible barriers to hinder my creativity . That’s because I will easily distract my attention to phone call or other matters. After reading this passage, I figure out the reasons . I started keyboard writing since my graduation from high school. Because of well-developed searching engine, I prefer to search other people’s good ideas to finish my paper which really hinder the development of critical thinking. From now on , I start to realize that I lost the best moment to train my independent thinking ability. Therefore, although handwriting seems spend more time than typing, I will still apply handwriting into my job and study. In terms of writing a paper, I will write my draft on paper, and find every possibilities to come up new ideas.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Ji.wei on Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:51 pm

Agree with this article.Not only because handwriting is better for children,but also I believe it's still more direct way for adults to communicate with each other or do something creative.People does not need to find a computer and also does not need to care what software is suitable. Just write it on a paper or something could write on. Per my experience, handwriting will lead me to more focus on what I want to create or express.Sometime I would write something,which maybe works or articals,on papers by hands, and then type it into computer with keyboard if I have to send it to others through the internet. Handwriting makes me more focus on the what I think about.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Limengmeng on Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:31 pm

With the development of internet technology, people, especially the young generation are gradually losing the ability to write something with hand. I had the feeling that losing the hand-writing skill is not good but cannot figure out why. This article gives a good and comprehensive answer to it: handwriting is good for children to learn things and it generates the brain activation while typing the letters can not make it. For Chinese, handwriting is more than that, as it is actually a reflection of Chinese culture and history. Definitely, we should keep that.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by baoheng2018 on Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:28 pm

After reading this passage, I figure out the reasons . I started keyboard writing since my graduation from high school. Because of well-developed searching engine, I prefer to search other people’s good ideas to finish my paper which really hinder the development of critical thinking

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by ellenlu on Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:30 pm

As far as I'm concerned, handwriting is not only a process to write down the words in my mind, but also an excellent way to cultivate my aesthetic appreciation and foster my patience. Just like the purpose of meditation, handwriting make me feel quite serene when I sit there. It could help me think deeply and widely to organize the sentences I want to express. Sometimes during the handwriting I can even image the picture on the very detail and meanwhile have a holistic view of the whole article and structure. I could adjust the font, the speed or the structure freely when I'm handwriting in which I've enjoyed a lot and I think occasionally that this is a good way to relax and refresh myself. Especially in such a rush environment, handwriting keeps me far from the chaos and distractions and does great benefit to intensify my ability on creativity.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by Lucy.Liu on Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:50 pm

Handwriting can't be replaced with keyboard. it is the necessary way to help young children to exercise brain memory and it also the key for learning to write. Handwriting can combine the visual areas of the brain with language features to help writing difficult children.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by caspermh on Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:58 pm

in today's keyboard century, there are so many keyboard input applications or softwares. with their Intelligent functions, we sometimes only need to input the beginning part of the word we want to key in. on one hand it make the typing very easy, however, on the other hand , it replaced some work and exercise for our brain. as the article goes, when doing the handwriting, the part of the brain is stimulated, with these stimulate, our brain can "see" the word. the way it works is some kind like the way when we do the innovation. from this point of view, we could regard the handwriting is somehow the exercise of the innovation. that makes handwriting still essential in the keyboard age.

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Post by tangdonghua on Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:27 pm

I Love calligraphy. It's elegant handwriting art combined philosophy and technique .

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Re: 2016-Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

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