Not too fast, say the French

| August 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

What’s to be lost and gained as children abandon pen and paper in favour of digital devices is being studied in France.

Renowned French psychologist Stanislas Dehaene, working at the College de France in Paris, says that handwriting helps scholars create, imagine and recall, forming an integral part of a complex neural circuit.

Dehaene’s assertions are supported by US-based psychologist Karin James, who in 2012 found that the act of writing by hand increases activity in three key areas of the brain. And, at the University of Washington, Virginia Berninger has shown that handwriting causes children to generate more words and ideas.

All three researchers confirm that the ‘three Rs’ – reading, writing and arithmetic – can still be learned effectively the traditional way, particularly in a world where only 40% of the global population has access to digital technology. Responding to those teachers and parents who say that typing saves time, the three experts caution that children should cultivate the patience that comes with handwriting practice. The best solution is integration: incorporating apps or tools such as electronic styluses, which will reinforce the basic skills learned when forming letters on a page.

Category: Spring 2014

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