Advice Column, Child, Education

Don’t Be PENalised For Not Being Able To Write

  • StudyChamp
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Education

You helped your child prepare for his history test. He could recite all the answers and there was no question that he was going to ace it. And yet, when he received back his test results, he barely made the grade as he wrote down only half of the answers! Why? Thanks to the e-age we live in, children have sadly lost their ability to literally put down pen to paper and write.

Step into a class these days and you are more likely to find e-books and tablets than pen and paper. Pupils can type faster than they can write and apps and online learning devices are the norm.
“You must get on with the times.” “If you are not online, you’re doomed.” “Your child will miss out.”

While there is some truth in these statements, one cannot ignore the fact that pupils will (for the foreseeable future at least) still have to write their exams manually – that is: putting pen to paper. It’s like Master Chef – if the food is not on the plate it cannot be judged. Likewise, if your child does not write down all he or she has learnt, it cannot be assessed. And, while we’re on the Master Chef analogy: if the plating of the dish is messy – i.e. if your child’s handwriting is illegible, it will also be penalised.

So, go and buy more pens and pencils next time you go to the iStore. Not only will your child practice his/her critical hand-eye-co-ordination skills, but stand a better chance of acing his/her next exam.

Reasons why many people think hand writing skills are a thing of the past:

  • Children need to practice typing skills as all learning will eventually be computerised
  • Schools are switching to e-books, tablets are used in classrooms, homework tasks are given on tablets
  • There are many apps available for online learning, assessments, note taking – replacing the pen and exercise book

Reasons why children still have to practice writing:

  • It has been proven that reading and spelling are linked to the formation of letters in the early years
  • Study notes, class work and assessment are all still done on paper with a pen
  • It will still take some time before all learning will be computerised

Illegible handwriting costs marks:

“labored handwriting creates a drain on mental resources needed for higher-level aspects of writing, such as attention to content, elaboration of details, and organization of ideas.” *

* Spear-Swelling, L. The Importance of Teaching Handwriting. Retrieved from

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