This article by a journalist whose work I respect, having once been involved in one of his stories, highlights a real if not entirely new issue. It is not entirely new because there have always been students for whom handwriting is a problem, especially handwriting under pressure in exam conditions. What is new, of course, is the rapid spread of new technologies for writing.
MORE than 150,000 students in years 11 and 12 at schools across NSW have a problem. Almost all are skilled users of computer keyboards. Most can easily outperform their elders when it comes to text messaging on their mobile phones.
But within the next year or so all of them will have to sit 15 to 20 hours of examinations for the Higher School Certificate, and the exams will be almost entirely handwritten. Unless they have a proven disability and cannot write on the day of the exam, the only acceptable exam paper is one handed up in an individual’s handwriting.
The disjunction between the acquired skill of keyboarding and the need to handwrite exams has led some schools to incorporate handwriting lessons in years 11 and 12 as students find they have to relearn the art of using a pen and paper quickly – lost after years of using computers, laptops and mobiles…
The article goes on to tell what some schools have been doing about the issue. Read the whole story (PDF).
I have had things to say about handwriting before. See search results for “handwriting.”