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 tuitionare 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.