Vindicated at Last
During my tenure teaching at our parish school I had a Quixotic Crusade against not only the TV but also against screens in general. I tried inculcating into the parents, via my student charges, that there was a hand-mind affinity to learning. Needless to say the students balked at the idea of giving up the screens along with many liberal-minded parents, but I could at least insist that my homework assignments, tests, reports, and special projects be submitted in cursive handwriting. This irked many students and surprisingly parents as well because they failed to see the value of hand written assignments in learning in our computer age.
Well, I’m here to tell you that my life experience both personally and through perceiving education in general was not an idle observation. To boot, I’m vindicated in my position by none other than the prestigious, (and liberal, I might add), New York Times. See the web citation to follow.
Indeed, the NYT’s article points out that the now infamous Common Core, (more correctly called Commie Core program being foisted on our education system as this is written), believes that hand writing is only necessary in the kindergarten and first grade and places the greatest emphasis on computer skills thereafter. The article goes onto say that better comprehension and understanding, as well as, greater communication skills overall are perfected and enhanced by requiring hand written responses in assignments, tests, reports, and projects. Additionally, there is greater retention when notes, homework, etc. are in hand written form. To quote the authority cited by the Times: When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated, said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris.
Imagine the chagrin for those parents who refused to suppoet my stance in educating their children at our little parish school; essentially they were getting the benefits of my education not only gained through a thorough Catholic Classical Education from grade school on up, but also they were getting the hands-on life-experience of a seasoned international businessman who saw the value of writing in all kinds of real world applications. This says nothing of the communication, understanding, and retention skills found only in mind-hand neurological synopsis created within the brain through such practice.
Initially, my method of teaching at the start of each academic year was the first week was spent on note taking skills; key in this skill is careful listening. This created a reinforcement of what was heard by the student and aided retention. Regardless, of the grade level, (I taught from sixth through twelfth grade), the students were bound to spend this first week refining this important method of study; regardless of whether or not they had been through it the previous academic year. This method was also recommended and followed by the other grade levels, appropriate to the grade, of course. In addition, our astute and forward thinking Principal not only agreed with this method but favored it by promoting the learning of cursive writing before learning printing with the kindergarten and first grades. This method is favored most especially in Latin American countries. It enhances not only learning individual letters but also improves the vocabulary because each letter is connected by the very nature of cursive writing, or as often called in America, script.
At any rate, I don’t write this Catholic Rural Solutions article to toot my own horn …well, maybe a little; but more to point out the time-tested successful methods of learning in former times. For those who home school this necessary hand writing skill should be incorporated into your curriculum, as it will increase the amount of knowledge your little students absorb with little to no further effort on your time.
Here is the web citation:
Meantime, please continue to pray the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.