Day twenty three of the ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge’.  Oh dear.  I’ve tried to write with my left hand.  I have ended up with the hand-writing of a four year old and the vocabulary of a fifty four year old.  It is as if I am back in infants’ school, sitting at a too small desk and dwarfing the other kids.

For the context of this blog I am referring to writing with a pen on paper.

As it happens I’m not a good writer, even with my right hand.  I blame my education.  When I was at that formative age I moved schools.  My father had a new job and we moved from somewhere north of the Tyne to somewhere south of it.  My new school was pleasant enough but they were ahead in terms of learning to write by hand.  I was still on forming individual letters yet they had moved onto joiny-up writing.

I remember asking the teacher what I should do and she, rather off-handed in my opinion now that I look back, said that I should just try and join the letters up.  She has a lot to answer for.  One off-hand comment has led to a writing style somewhere between illegible and general practitioner.  The education system has failed me.

By the way, the word to write has nothing to do with the word right.  The two words are from a different route completely.

As it happens I don’t write that much these days anyway.  For over a year now I have done all of my ‘writing’ on either my laptop or smartphone.  I’ve given up paper.  Apart from the (very) occasional shopping list the only time I pick up a pen is to sign something, a birthday card or an authorisation usually.  My right-handed writing has deteriorated noticeably as I get more and more out of practice.

Back to the left hand.  Holding the pen is fine but the characters come out all jerky.  The ink doesn’t flow across the page and I find I have to twist my hand round into an odd shape so that I don’t drag it across the words.  The shapes I form are recognisable but are far from acceptable for a man of my advanced years.  I find I can manage as long as I take it slowly.  If I go to fast my mind forgets what it is doing and the letters appear back to front (s, 3 and 5 are particularly difficult).  Joining the letters does nothing to enhance the look or readability.  No matter how hard I try I cannot sign my name.

For a full time left-hander things are much worse.  Ball point pens are designed to follow the writers hand.  They rely upon the roller ball to be pulled across the page, leaving their ink behind, yet for the left-handed the pen is pushed which digs into the paper and blots the ink.  To achieve a good result the left-handed writer would have to write backwards.

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there.  Spiral notebooks and three ring binders also present a problem.  The metalwork is on the left and so the user has to get their hand around the rings in order to write or work the book form back to front.  Finally, next time you are in the bank and try to use that pen on a chain you will find that once again it is on the right hand side of the desk.  Life is filled with left-handed problems.

3 thoughts on “Writing

  1. Have to comment – the education system is lagging well behind the digital age. Frustrates me no end. One of my son’s has a diagnosis of DCD which means that both his visual perception and muscle memory are not brilliant – which makes handwriting difficult for him as he can’t see when he’s formed letters wrong and does take a while to get going writing. But he’s a keyboard warrior from an early age. He gets constant complaints about his writing but because the exams have to be completed in handwriting – the constant refrain is ‘his presentation is messy’ and he has to learn to write. I very rarely write and I’m like 90% of the working population. But I do write – just with a keyboard instead of a pen – same action, different tool.

    He’s 13 and teaching himself Java – not even from a book just from the web!

    1. Mandy, it frustrates me as well but not from your perspective. Digital presents such an opportunity for creativity and development yet our education system often stifles it. Your son shows that the best thing we can teach our children is the desire to learn.

      1. As you know, I’m a lifelong learner !

        Oh Phil – don’t get me started on how the current education system fails the children of today 😉 Also why Information Skills (soft as opposed to hard icT skills) are so vital. All jobs will feature some sort of digital element to them – there are no us and them anymore. The skill of using information well is as important as being able to program (imho!). I think the set of information skills (being able to find, critique of sources, ability to extract, integrate it with other sets of knowledge and turn that integration into something – an essay, an article, a report etc) are even more vital to everyone. Life is about learning, integrating that and using it as a base to solve supposedly unconnected problems should be skill sets taught throughout the school career and beyond. Basically teaching kids to think about what they are doing, why they are doing it and the results that they get from doing what they are doing.

        Computer languages obey a grammar just as any other language so why not teach English in a way that encourages this transferability? (It is noticeable that my son who hates English is becoming more expert in grammar and spotting grammar mistakes since he took up programming seriously…

        I really believe that our young people would be best served by having cross curricular subjects for longer than present. Teach children the point of grammar by teaching them a computer language before teaching them English Grammar and they won’t moan about what’s the point of boring sentence structure and nouns, they’ll ace it instead. Use keyboards in class time and they’ll be used to using them and touch typing before they are six. Then at a point when their co-ordination skills are more developed start to teach the ancient and wonderful art of writing with a pen.

        It is part of an education philosophy that I was hoping would go into the free school bid I was involved with but for the moment that’s parked.

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