Want to learn something new? Pick up your pencil.
New research suggests that despite the ease of using a computer for typing notes or watching videos, people learn certain skills much better and faster when writing them by hand.
“The question for parents and educators is why our children should spend time writing by hand,” said Brenda Rapp, lead author of the study, professor of cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University .
“Obviously, you’ll be a better writer if you practice it,” she said in a college press release.
“But since people write less, then maybe we care? The real question is, are there other benefits of handwriting related to reading, spelling and writing. to understanding?
The researchers conducted an experiment in which 42 adults learned the Arabic alphabet. The participants were divided into three groups of learners: editors, typists and video observers.
Everyone learned the letters one at a time by watching videos of their writing and hearing names and sounds.
The video group then had a flash of a letter on the screen and had to say if it was the same letter they had just seen. Those who were typing found the letter on the keyboard. The writers copied the letter with pen and paper.
After up to six sessions, all groups were able to recognize the letters and made few errors in the tests.
But the writing group reached this skill level faster than the other groups. Some were able to repeat this skill after just two sessions.
“The main lesson is that while they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at all other measures. And it took them less time to get there,” said the author. principal Robert Wiley.
Wiley is a former Johns Hopkins University PhD student who is now an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
The researchers said that handwriting reinforces visual and auditory lessons. The act of handwriting provides a perceptual-motor experience that unifies what is learned about letters, including their shapes, sounds, and motor planes.
“With writing, you get a stronger representation in your mind that allows you to scaffold yourself towards those other types of tasks that don’t involve handwriting in any way,” Wiley explained in the release.
The study participants were all adults. Still, the researchers said they would expect the same results in children.
“I have three nieces and a nephew right now, and my siblings are asking me, should we buy them pencils and pens? I say yes, just let them play with the letters and start writing them and write them down all the time, ”Wiley said. .
“I bought them finger paint for Christmas and I said, ‘Let’s make some letters,’” Wiley said.
The researchers suggested the findings have implications for classrooms who have switched to using tablets and laptops, as well as adults who learn languages through apps or cassettes.
The latter should complement this learning by writing on paper, the researchers said.
The results were recently published in the journal Psychological Science.
Scholastic offers more on the benefits of handwriting.
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