« Adult Content | Main | Tis the Season »

The Pen Perspective


Forget laptops for every student. A private school in Edinburgh, Scotland, believes the secret to boosting achievement lies in teaching students to write with fountain pens. “The pens improve the quality of work because they force the children to take care, and better work improves self-esteem,” explains Bryan Lewis, principal of Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville Junior School (for children ages three through 11). Students at Melville—which charges $12,500 a year in tuition—are given regular lessons in a special handwriting style developed by the school, and they are expected to do most of their work with fountain pens by age nine. Even new teachers at the school are required take a handwriting-training course. To the argument that handwriting is becoming outmoded in today’s increasingly digitized world, Lewis expresses a hardy skepticism: “We talk of a paperless office and the paperless world, but this is not true. You still need handwriting skills.” The school does, however, have a full complement of computer offerings.


We are "educating" a generation who canot sign their own names! These children will "make their marks" when they purchase their first homes and cars!

They can produce power points and media movies. Ask them to write a letter ...

I teach at a Waldorf-inspired charter school where the students write in print and cursive with crayons in the early elementary grades, then graduate to fountain pens in the later grades. The students in the later grades must also learn to write without guide lines. This trains them to orient themselves to an empty space and to pay attention to their writing. Well-drawn pictures and beautiful borders are then added by the students. When a thematic series of these pages (along with title covers and tables of contents) is individually bound by the students, beautiful books that the kids are proud of producing result.

So, I totally agree with students learning to handwrite properly!

My youngest son graduated high school in 2004 and couldn't write in cursive. He had never been required to do anything but print. I know it was taught in elemenary grades but it became the one thing that teachers didn't have time to put a lot of emphasis on.

On his graduation invitations, I insisted that he hand write the inside envelope and his thank you notes. I had to make a cursive chart that showed all upper case and lower case letters for a guide. I was appalled.

In my opinion, a combination of technology and the many requirements placed on teachers to teach more and more has led to a classroom that only briefly touches on important skills without enough day-to-day practice to really master those skills.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Rhonda: My youngest son graduated high school in 2004 and couldn't read more
  • Michele: I teach at a Waldorf-inspired charter school where the students read more
  • john solis: We are "educating" a generation who canot sign their own read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here