Teaching Online Contents
- 1 Developing the English writing skills
- 1.1 Teaching mechanics of writing
- 1.2 Steps in teaching mechanics of writing
- 1.3 Stage 2 : Learning to write
- 1.4 Stage 3 :·Mastering a mature style of hand-writing
- 1.5 Types of writing scripts
- 1.6 Characteristics of good hand-writing
- 1.7 Measures to improve hand-writing
- 1.8 General considerations while teaching writing
Developing the English writing skills
Writing is one of the most important skills of learning a language. The skill of writing should follow the skills of listening, speaking and reading. But it is not less important than those skills. The students should be taught to write English correctly and legibly. The real test of their knowledge of the language is their ability to express their ideas, in a written form in that language.
According to Francis Bacon, ‘Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man and writing an exact man.’
According to Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Fair and legible hand writing. Makes a man perfect in all walks of life.’
According to Bell, ‘Writing is a tool used to enable us to express what is in our mind and for some people is almost as important as speech.’
Teaching mechanics of writing
The following mechanics of writing should be taught:
(1) Controlling the small muscles of the fingers and wrist.
(2) Securing co-ordination of the hand and the eye to write letters of correct shape and size.
(3) Giving proper spacing between letters, words and lines.
(4) Using capital letters where required and putting punctuation marks.
Steps in teaching mechanics of writing
The teacher should know the proper order of steps involved in the mechanics of writing. He should not set the children on the path of practicing writing letters on the very first day of writing English. This is wrong approach. First of all, the child’s hand should be fully trained in various movements involved in writing, such as strokes, curves, circles, cemi-circles etc. He should be asked to write alphabet only when he has learnt the various movements involved in writing.
Writing is a difficult skill. It requires a complete control of the muscles of the wrist and hand. The child does not possess this control; he is to be trained for it.
Stages in teaching mechanics of writing
These are the three stages in teaching mechanics of writing.
Stage-1: Preparation for Writing
(i) Free-hand drawing-Free hand drawing should precede any kind of writing work. The students should have practice in all work. The teacher should give them ample opportunities to draw, on the black-board or large sheets of paper, fairly large objects of various shapes and sizes.
(ii) Controlled drawing-Various objects of art should be drawn within lines on a sheet of paper in order to give controlled practice of drawing to children.
(iii) Acquaintance with written forms-Students should become well acquainted with written forms before beginning the practice in writing. For this, the teacher may write the names of the pupils on heir books and exercise books, desks and other belongings. He may (llso write labels on boxes containing different materials. The students will become acquainted with written forms through such experiences.
Stage 2 : Learning to write
(i) Script writing-After a good practice in drawing, the child should start learning to write the letters of the alphabet. He should be made to learn writing small letters first and capital letter at towards. In the beginning, the child should not learn the letters of similar shape. For example letters written by strokes (i, k, 1, to x, y, z) can be presented in one group, letters, formed on the circle (c, e, o) in another group and letters, formed in curves (v, u, w), in another group. Last of all should follow letters involving all the above movements’ i.e. strokes, circles and curves, such as f, g, h, m, n etc.
(ii) Learning the alphabetical order-The proper order of letters of the alphabet in the written form should be taught towards the end of the first year when the students have learnt all the necessary movement in the skill of writing.
Stage 3 :·Mastering a mature style of hand-writing
The chief purpose of teaching the matter of a mature style of hand-writing is to help pupils to acquire the adult style of hand-writing. This stage should begin in the third year and continue throughout the remaining school period . Special attention should be given to those items which directly influence its legibility. The students should be trained in writing letters fluently in a way which is legible.
Types of writing scripts
There are two types of writings
(1) Script writing
(2) Cursive writing
(1) Script writing-Script writing consists of plain letter forms, usually based on straight lines and curves. ·
(2) Cursive writing-Cursive writing consists of naming letter forms joined together by links and hooks. The common practice is to start with script and tom to cursive writing after a year or two. The advantages of beginning with script writing are as follows:
(1) Letters in print script have simpler form as compared to cursive script.
(2) No strokes are needed to join the letters.
(3) Less eye and physical strain is involved in script writing.
(4) Pr in t script is suited to the muscular and motor development of small children.
(5) The children meet the print script in their readers. Thus, at the primary stage, they are saved from learning two scripts for each letter.
(6) Children can compare their letters with the printed letters and find their errors immediately.
(7) There is lesser need for supervision of the pupils while they are engaged in writing according to print script.
But there is the other side of the picture also
(1) It is pointed out that when ultimately the print script is to be given up and cursive script is to be adopted, then why not adopt it in the very beginning.
(2) The habit of writing the print script prevents and hinders the learning of cursive script.
(3) The Indian child is about 10 years old when he starts learning English. The cursive script and not the print suits that age.
(4) The ·cursive script enables the learner to acquire good fluency and speed on writing. The efforts to write each letter separately are jerky and tire out the hand of the writer, but the general practice is to begin with print script.
Characteristics of good hand-writing
Some of the characteristics of good hand writing are given below:
(i) Legibility-All the letters written should be quite legible.They should have all the fine aspect of legibility such as letter formation, regularity of slant, quality of line or stroke, alignment and spacing. The chief errors in letter formation, which make hand-writing illegible are:
(1) Difficulty in dotting like i, j
(2) Difficulty in crossing’t’
(3) Top stroke short as in ‘h’
(4) Failure to close letters as in ‘a’ and ‘o’
Studies have shown that pupils generally do not write five letters- ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘r’, ‘t’ and ‘f’ properly . The teacher should pay special attention to these letters.
- Uniformity of style-Whatever style the students adopt, it should be uniform in size, spacing and alignment. Good hand-writing is always uniform in style. It means that all the words should be written either in a vertical style or slating style. If they are written either in a vertical style, it should be either forward slant or backward slant throughout. Any style is good provided it is uniform throughout.
- Appropriate size of letters-The size of the letters should be neither too big nor too small. There should also be proportion between the letters and their size.
- Proper spacing-Proper spacing adds beauty to the style. The letters and words should be properly spaced. There should also be proper spacing between the lines.
- Writing straight-Good writing is in straight lines running parallel to the top of the page.
- Simplicity-Hand writing should be always simple. It means that it should have no unnecessary tails hooks or spokes and should be always easy to read. Simple shapes have a good appeal. Unnecessary spokes should also be avoided.
- Reasonable speed-Good hand writing is not a labored and slow process, but is carried out at a reasonable speed.
- Adjustment between writing and thinking-It implies that there should be no omission of words or phrases due to quick thriving in fast writing.
Measures to improve hand-writing
The following measures will help the pupils in improving bad hand-writing.
(1) Correctness of faults-The correctness of faults in handwriting is of a great importance. It should be through deliberate prompt and individual effort.
(2) Position of the pupils body-The student’s body while writing should face the middle of the desk squarely and bent slightly forward at the hips.
(3) Position of the desk-The student’s desk should be adjusted to his height in such a way that when he is seated normally, his height is at right angles to the lower part of his leg ‘and his feet are flat on the floor.
(4) Holding the pen properly-The pen should be held lightly and in such a way that the forefinger is below the thumb and at least one inch above the point of pen.
(5) No use of rough note-books-Children should not be permitted to use rough note-books because they conform to the habit of hurried ascribing. They should be encouraged to use four-lined note books.
(6) Position of the writing arm-The writing arm should be supported on the third and fourth fingers. The wrist should not be tilted more than 45 degrees. The forearm of the right should be perpendicular to the line of writing.
(7) Position of the forearms-Both forearms should be well up on the desk for holding the paper. The wrist should be raised and inclined slightly to the right. The pupil should be taught to move the paper upward and to the left as the writing progresses. The shifting should be done with the left hand, while the right arm is held in the correct position.
(8) Provision of desirable psychological condition-‘-To prepare the way for effective mastery of writing the provision of desirable psychological conditions is necessary. It is essential that the teacher should create ‘in the pupils a desire for improvement in hand-writing. This can be done by keeping some specimen of good hand-writing at convenient places in the class room.
General considerations while teaching writing
The general considerations given below should be kept in mind while teaching writing to the beginners-
(1) Choice of script-The teacher is, first of all, to decide about the choice of script for the beginners. The general practice is that children should begin with the print script and start with cursive script after a period of one or two years of practice with print script. But taking into consideration the fact that Indian children begin to write English at the age of about ten years of age, cursive script can be introduced at an earlier stage. They already have practice in writing the mother tongue in which the letters are joined together while writing. So, Indian children will not find any difficulty in shifting to cursive script after a practice of about 6 months of writing in print script.
(2) Choice of style-There are two stages of writing namely the vertical style and the slanting sfyle. The teacher has to decide which of these two styles should be adopted by the children. Then there are two forms of slanting style-forward slanting and backward slanting. Both these forms are equally good, provided only one of these two is followed by a student throughout his practice of writing. The letters written should necessarily have a uniform style.
(3) Writing material-There should be careful selection of writing material. In the beginning the students should be taught to write on a rough surface with soft chalk. The purpose is that they should acquire easy hand movement and eye co-ordination. They should learn to write on paper at a later stage. For this purpose, large size! Loft lead pencils should be used. Pencil writing should be followed by writing in ink.
(4) Posture-Children should be trained to adopt a good posture while they are engaged in writing. When at their desks, they should sit comfortably in their seats in correct position. Both their feet should rest on the ground. The body should lean slightly forward from the hips, but should not touch the desk. The head should be so held that the eyes are about a foot away from the paper. Both arms should be within two or three inches of the elbows and should rest lightly on the desk.