Handwriting. Do we still need it?

Does anyone actually write anymore?

When I told Mia I wanted to write a post about the death of handwriting she suggested I write it by hand. FUNNY! But not such a good idea given we work on the internet and all.

Which brings me to my point. Finding a piece of paper at Mamamia HQ is about as easy as finding fairy lights at a supermarket on Christmas Eve. It’s near impossible. And the same goes for pens. Yesterday when I asked around the office for some form of writing implement, the best we could come up with a was a liquid eye-liner.

It’s only a matter of time before handwriting dies altogether, right? I give it 10 to 15 years. And why do I think this?  For starters, I’ve been hearing people talk about handwriting as an ‘art’ form, which is probably a good indication it’s on its way out.

That… and the fact that we just don’t use it anymore.

There’s less and less of a need to pick up a pen and jot something down. Want to write a letter? Send an email. Fill in an online inquiry form. Write a text message. Tweet! Need a shopping list? There’s an app for that. Want to write down a number? Put it in your phone. Want to write a cheque? I don’t think banks even make those anymore … do they?

And then there’s this from the UK, where academics are worried about children’s handwriting skills – or lack thereof – because handwriting is being forgotten in a world where computers and iPads rule.

This from The Telegraph:

Education standards are at risk as pupils are increasingly allowed to submit essays digitally using email, memory sticks or even presenting PowerPoint displays, it was claimed.

Prof Carey Jewitt, from London University’s Institute of Education, said students’ handwriting skills were “absolutely appalling”, adding that many failed to get the practice they needed at home or in the classroom.

Other academics warned that a failure to teach children to write may stunt their development and hold them back in the classroom.

It comes after the publication of primary school exam results this summer showed that pupils perform worse in writing than any other core subject.

“Little children may not be able to write their names but most can type them,” she told the Times Educational Supplement.

So kids won’t be able to write their names, but they will be able to type them. Does that count as being literate? Well in the US, they might not even have to chance to learn. Elementary schools now have the option to teach kids how to write.

From The Australian:

With the increasing use of computers in daily life, the role of handwriting is under debate, with some education policymakers believing it is a redundant practice that should be phased out and students taught typing instead.

The common core standards for the primary years say students should “use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing” including “using keyboarding skills” .

Forget the pens and pencils and embrace the keyboard and computer. Is that so crazy? If these kids are never going to use handwriting in their adult lives should they still have to learn how?

Apparently yes. This, also from The Telegraph:

Dr Karin James, from the department for psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University in the United States, said a failure to develop handwriting skills undermined children’s reading ability.

“This is setting their brains up to be able to process letters and words,” she said. “That doesn’t happen with keyboarding or even with tracing the letters.


Either way, let’s all spare a thought for the thousands of Year 12 students buckling down for their end-of-school exams. Yes computers are hip and happening and used everyday in schools, but when it comes to exams, students are forced to revert to pen and paper.  Three hours of solid writing in an English exam? Give me strength. No actually, give the students – and their hands – strength. And lots of it.

How’s your handwriting? How often to you write using a pen and paper?