Good penmanship truly saved my academic rear end when I was in law school. Somehow I mixed up the time for my civil Procedure ii final exam. I thought it was in the afternoon, so i strolled into the law school building in the morning to get some study time in before the test. But when I walked by the room where my exam was going to be, i saw my entire civ pro class sitting there getting exam instructions! I rushed in and was told by the proctor that it was too late to get my laptop out. Id have to handwrite my exam. Three hours of handwriting! Luckily, i had kept up with regularly writing in cursive so my handwriting reviews was legible, and I could do it quickly without getting hand cramps.
While i have some really handy note-taking apps on my smartphone, theyre still clumsy to use compared to a pen and a pocket notebook. With my smartphone, i have to enter my homescreen passcode, navigate to my note-taking app, and type in my note using those tiny keys all while struggling with autocorrect. Even with voice recognition capabilities, taking notes is still frustrating. With a notebook and manual writing tool, you just put pen to paper and youre done. Again, if my handwriting was so horrible that I couldnt even read it, my writing would be in vain. — there go those spur-of-the-moment ideas. Pen and paper dont need batteries. Part of the convenience of pen and paper is that they dont require batteries, so you never have to worry about losing power while youre in the middle of writing something out.
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Studies have noted similar brain boosting results from handwriting practice in adults. Whats more, other studies show there are cognitive benefits that come with cursive writing in particular — such as improved reading and student spelling scores — that you dont get when writing block letters. Anecdotally, ive seen the power of handwriting (particularly cursive handwriting) boost learning in my own life. Whenever I get stuck on an idea, i naturally turn to pen and paper to work out the problem. I did this in law school when I was having trouble grasping a difficult legal concept. Id just get a legal pad and start writing in cursive, and 9 times out of 10, after thirty minutes or so, clarity came. I still do this exercise today, and dont even have to think about.
When Im having a hard time expressing myself via the keyboard, out comes my notebook and Pilot pen and I start writing things out by hand. For example, my posts on anti-fragility, the ooda loop, and much of the, manhood series we published earlier this year were handwritten and then transcribed onto the computer. Those topics were hard nuts to crack, so i naturally went to pen and paper, after which the words and thoughts began flowing. I always make these notes in cursive; for whatever reason, i dont get the same effect when i use manuscript. Of course simply writing things down isnt enough if report I had really crappy penmanship, i wouldnt have been able to transcribe those handwritten pages! Writing with pen and paper is convenient.
While its easy to learn, its certainly not as nice looking as Spencerian or even Palmer cursive. Up until the early 1990s, teachers in schools across America spent a great deal of time on penmanship. But with the rise of computers, the amount of time spent on penmanship began to decrease in the. (From what I read, this didnt happen in Europe to the same extent. If youre a younger reader from Europe, let us know if you had rigorous penmanship lessons in school.). With increasing pressure to meet federal and state test standards, many schools have dropped teaching cursive handwriting completely.
Besides the pressure to spend more time preparing for standardized tests, school districts have also dropped penmanship from their curriculum because they feel its no longer necessary in our world of computers, tablets, and smartphones. Why you should Bring Back cursive handwriting and Improve your Penmanship. While were certainly spending more time communicating with our digital devices, i think theres a case to be made as to why we shouldnt give up on good old-fashioned cursive handwriting and why we should all strive to improve our penmanship: Writing things by hand. Research shows that writing things out by hand can help improve general learning. One study out of the University of Indiana scanned the brains of a group of four and five-year-olds and found that neural activity was about the same amongst all of them. The researchers then split the kids into two groups: one group was shown letters and instructed to recognize them visually, and the other was taught to write them. The researchers scanned their brains again and discovered that neural activity was now dramatically different between the two groups. The kids who were taught to recognize letters visually showed no change in neural activity, while the kids who learned how to write letters showed more adult-like activity in their brains reading network. Researchers believe theres something about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional shapes (like letters) that aids in learning comprehension.
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To solve these problems, palmer modified the Spencerian system in the following ways: First, he simplified the letters and got rid of the flourishes. In many ways, this was a return to the original cursive that Spencer taught. Second, he simplified and condensed the teaching of cursive — no more complex catechisms. Finally, he introduced whole hand movement to combat the fatigue and hand cramping that came with finger-only writing. Given these benefits, the palmer Method became the standard way of teaching penmanship well into the 1960s. Since then, several other systems of cursive have been developed, all with the goal of simplifying how its taught. Dnealian script was the most popular (and the one that I learned as a child). Developed in the 1970s by donald Thurber, dnealian script was a way to help children transition from manuscript (block letter) writing to cursive.
Beginning in the 1830s, Spencer developed a system to teach his script that included over 100 question and answer catechisms on how to draw each line and curve in his particular style. By 1850, essay Spencerian cursive was the standard writing system throughout America. After his death in 1864, students of Spencerian penmanship began to make the style even more ornate by adding in flourishes, shaded strokes, and extra ovals. This fancy style of Spencerian cursive became extremely popular and can still be seen today among professional penmen ( like jake weidmann ). Palmer script, during the early years of the twentieth century, a handwriting instructor named Austin Palmer realized that while the loops and flourishes made Spencerian cursive look nice, it wasnt very practical or efficient for the growing amount of bureaucratic paperwork that faced bookkeepers, accountants. Moreover, it had become overly complicated to teach, especially to children. He also observed that Spencerian cursive primarily used finger movement to write all the letters, which often led to cramped hands.
of the letters with lines. Because this type of script originated in Italy, it became known as italic. Copperplate script, the 16th century ushered in a more ornate style of handwriting called copperplate so dubbed because students used engraved plates to learn to write. Copperplate incorporates all sorts of loops and capital letters with unique flourishes, and was used to pen the declaration of Independence. Spencerian script, with the rise of literacy in America, a more systematic way of teaching handwriting was needed. Enter Platt Rogers Spencer. Spencer used nature to teach penmanship — water worn pebbles served as his model for ovals and the waves on a lake served as the inspiration for the lines that connected his letters. Spencerian script was a simple, yet elegant form of cursive handwriting that focused on legibility and ease of writing.
Its easy then to dismiss evernote the decline in penmanship as a non-problem, but there are a surprising number of people who do wish their handwriting was better. And there actually are a few reasons you might consider joining their ranks. Today well discuss those reasons, as well as how to improve your cursive penmanship. Get out your inkwell, sharpen your quill, and lets get started. The rise and Fall of Cursive penmanship. Ever since written text came into existence, there has been a class of individuals who specialized in handwriting — scribes, penmen, etc. And every age had a unique handwriting style. Monks in the 8th century gave us the carolingian script with its bold, easy-to-read letters.
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Over the years here at the Art of Manliness weve sung the praises of the handwritten letter and simply writing things out by hand in general. Typically, when folks think about writing a handwritten note, they imagine doing it in cursive. Perhaps its because weve all seen movies set in times past where people open up handwritten letters to reveal a note filled with handsome script. Whatever the reason, i know a common refrain shakespeare we hear with these posts is that many people feel their cursive handwriting is atrocious, to the point that its illegible. And when we get letters in the mail from readers, many of them begin with, sorry for my bad handwriting. This is the first time ive written in cursive since second grade. With schools spending less and less time on cursive handwriting (and sometimes doing away with penmanship lessons altogether and our increased reliance on keyboards to communicate, its understandable that most people arent getting much practice writing things out by hand.