No room for writing in schools?

Excuse me while I peel myself off the floor. What?!

This subject was debated on The Wright Stuff today (Jan 24 2014) and I find it alarming.
The debate was in relation to first year children, and their formative writing years. The debate was started with, and I quote (shame on you Matthew!)…

“The average pupil wastes 31 hours a year on this handwriting nonsense.”

I’m sure Matthew was playing devils advocate, and they did touch upon ‘spending hours learning to write neatly’, but really?! The fact that we can use our hands to write is a glorious thing. I’m pretty certain a baboon could use a smart phone, not so sure the baboon could write a shopping list on a piece of paper with a ballpoint.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a technophobe, I am a tech-head, I use a computer, laptop, and smart phone all of the time. I love console games too. I embrace the tech, but I also use a pen. I value the fact that I can use a pen. I value the fact that I could write a snotty letter on a piece of paper to the baboon and I would not get a reply. Not a handwritten one at least.

The implications of not teaching writing are mind boggling to me. From power cuts, to the rise of the machines, we need to know how to write. Just in case.

Do the people that are considering this think that writing is a doddle? Do they think, if we had not learnt, that we could remember then mimic the characters we saw typed on a screen if, horror of horrors, the tech went down? The hardest thing we do as a child is learn to write, but it’s also one of the most important things.

I find, on a personal level that stuff sinks in when I write by hand. I had constant battles at college (tech based study, see, not a technophobe!) because I wanted to hand write my assignments, in the end I lost the battle, it had to be typed. But I was a prolific note taker so I would reorganise by hand, then type up. During the debate it was said that in a survey by Norwegian neuroscientists, ‘kids who write by hand learn better than those who type’. It leaves a ‘trace’. This certainly makes sense to me.
I feel sorry that hand writing may be going the way of spelling correctly, that it no longer matters. Well. IT DOES.

Just like the saying ‘In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king’, in the land of no tech, surely the person that can use a pen will be revered!

I know we hardly write a letter these days, but it’s nice to be able to if the whim takes us, and it would be nice if the recipient could read that letter. One day we might be back to that. Technology is always going wrong, and if those machines rise and we have to switch off the power, I need to be able to make lists to enable me to remember the ebooks I want. Oh. Wait.

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No room for writing in schools?

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