As in my previous two blog posts, I will continue to trek through my five “teacher” resolutions. Here is number three.:
This year, I will have students turn in more handwritten writing and less typed writing.
Seems backwards, no? In our hyper-connected, electronic age, why would you want students to actually turn in a final copy on paper and in ink? Isn’t that a little retro, if not antiquated? Well, yes, it’s retro, but it is also a good idea.
Now, I am all for the slick, professional-looking, typed copy, which is easy on the eyes, and with the proper application of spell check and grammar check, is frequently a higher quality product. But there’s the rub. Word processing can mask writing problems.
I am trying to prepare students for life, and life does not always come with a grammar and spell check. In their immediate future, these kids will face achievement tests like the Ohio Achievement Test, the Common Core writing test, the SAT writing section, and the ACT writing test. Each of these tests has the potential to shape a child’s opportunities, and thus, his/her future. NONE of these assessments provides access to spell check or grammar check.
When a student uses a word processor to write a rough draft, I do not catch these errors when I conference with the child. On a handwritten draft, I can easily identify problem areas, and thus I am able to address them. Furthermore, when a child turns in a final draft, which should be his/her best work, I can determine if the student really knows the finer points of grammar, such as where to put an apostrophe and how to properly punctuate a compound-complex sentence. I need to identify student needs in order to address them.
Handwritten papers, though a bit retro, can provide excellent and valuable information that word processed papers can obscure.
To read parts one and two of this "Resolution" series, please click HERE.