I wish I Could Have Written This by Hand

Studies show that handwriting matters for learning, but schools don’t teach it


Handwriting has been shown to aid conceptual thinking.

Darya Pahlavan, Guest Writer

I won’t sugarcoat it. My handwriting is bad. I’ve tried to deny this in the past, but I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will never have the ability to write in beautiful fonts. I know that I am not alone in this struggle. Many kids’ handwriting gets sloppier as they age, but schools can prevent this from happening. If we are taught handwriting throughout our younger years of education, teachers could help students improve their handwriting and their studying abilities. 

When in elementary school, I was never taught how to have better handwriting. My mom would always say that it was bad, but there was nothing I could do about it. The furthest any teacher ever went was teaching the class basic cursive. Learning cursive in 3rd grade was the only form of handwriting I was truly taught. Even that became useless because, after my 3rd-grade class, it was no longer required that kids use cursive. How is it that the only time I was taught about handwriting was for a type of handwriting that many people my age can no longer decipher?

Timed essays are the bane of my existence. Not only are they physically draining, but hard on my teachers. When I get my papers back, I am in awe that my teacher could read the last few paragraphs of my writing. If we taught how to have good handwriting in school, timed essays wouldn’t be as hard on me and my teachers. It is already difficult to have good handwriting, but the added time constraint makes the situation even worse. In the past, I have had to rewrite some of my sentences during timed tests because they were illegible. This should not be an issue students have to worry about during timed assignments. The focus should be on the writing; however, for people with bad handwriting, there’s an extra challenge to timed essays. 

Countries around the world have swapped handwriting classes for typing classes. While this is a good adaptation to the changing times, handwriting is still used in a person’s day-to-day life. I find it important that typing classes are now available, but that should not replace handwriting classes. According to a study done by psychologists Mueller and Oppenheimer, writing on paper helps people synthesize material better than those typing on computers.  This indicates that handwriting should take precedence over typing because it is better for learning. Since handwriting is better for studying, it is important that the writing is legible. By teaching it at a young age, students can become more efficient students because they will be better studiers. 

A study done by UCLA and Princeton found that “hand-writers ended up with a stronger conceptual understanding across the board” because the process and the ability to look back at notes is more effective with handwriting. It is difficult to understand your notes if you have bad handwriting. By teaching handwriting from a young age, teachers can build better studiers who can process and study information quicker than typers. 

Handwriting is a struggle for many people and puts them at a disadvantage in life. They are not as effective at studying as people with good handwriting and they struggle with timed assignments. Teachers must add handwriting back into their curriculum for students starting at a young age so they can be better students in the future. The importance of handwriting seems futile because its importance is often overlooked in today’s technological society. While the world is changing, handwriting remains crucial, which is why it should be implemented as a part of the teacher’s curriculum. If this is to happen, fewer people like me will exist in the future.