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Promoting Academic Achievement and Developing Cognitive Automaticity Dr. April Blakely Dr. Faye Deters Handwriting Instruction in a New Century.

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Presentation on theme: "Promoting Academic Achievement and Developing Cognitive Automaticity Dr. April Blakely Dr. Faye Deters Handwriting Instruction in a New Century."— Presentation transcript:

1 Promoting Academic Achievement and Developing Cognitive Automaticity Dr. April Blakely Dr. Faye Deters Handwriting Instruction in a New Century

2 Background

3 Public schools drop cursive requirement Why Schools Should Keep Teaching Handwriting, Even If Typing Is More Useful Handwriting Is on the Wall for Cursive Instruction The many health perks of good handwriting: Not only does it help the brain develop, it can also improve grades and confidence Does Handwriting Matter in a Digital World? You type. I type. Why bother with handwriting?

4 What teachers are saying… There are areas in the world without technology... I feel students should be equipped with tools to prepare them for whatever life brings for their future.” Middle School Language Arts Teacher “My school has been having many debates about handwriting lately. …many believe computers will eventually take the place of pencil and paper. My response is I only have 6 computers in my classroom what would I do if I needed to be able to read what the other 19 students in my classroom are writing?” 1 st Grade Teacher

5 What teachers are saying… “We live in a very technologically advanced society, and not teaching our students to use it to its fullest potential would be ludicrous. But I do think that we have to understand the written language before we can use technology to our advantage. For example, I have students who are proficient calculator users but when given a word problem the calculator is useless because they don't understand the basic process they are being asked to do. I think word processing is the same way. Usually my kids who have difficulty writing have difficulty producing a word document on the computer.” 5 th Grade Teacher

6 What teachers are saying… “I have always had my students practice in handwriting journals everyday as they come into class. This time spent in their handwriting journals is strictly handwriting/penmanship practice. However, I'm not really seeing an improvement in their handwriting since the beginning of school. My students must print legibly so that they can get their ideas across in writing. …I've realized that maybe having them write authentically and more for an intended audience every morning would be a better approach to handwriting practice, rather than just line after line of letter formation practice.” 1 st Grade Teacher

7 Handwriting Summit National Handwriting Day January 23

8 What does research tell us?

9 The Digital Shift  With the adoption of the CCS, many states are dropping cursive instruction totally.  CCS calls for a technology-based approach to producing and publishing writing, spending more time on research and reflection, and less time on actual composition.  Starting in 4 th grade, students under the CCS are required to take an exam demonstrating command of the keyboard by typing a minimum of one page in a single sitting.

10 Curricular Shift Formal keyboarding instruction begins. Shift to cursive handwriting instruction to build speed and fluidity; formally taught with practice required on assignments. Print handwriting instruction taught formally in classrooms with practice for homework. PK-3 3-4 4+ Formal keyboarding instruction with no cursive handwriting instruction. Print handwriting instruction.

11 Does Handwriting Still Matter? ACT/SAT college-entrance exams: Scorers unable to read a student’s writing assign an illegible score of 0. ACT/SAT college-entrance exams: Scorers unable to read a student’s writing assign an illegible score of 0. Test scores: Good handwriting can boost a test score from the 50 th percentile to the 84 th percentile while bad penmanship can drop it to the 16 th percentile. Test scores: Good handwriting can boost a test score from the 50 th percentile to the 84 th percentile while bad penmanship can drop it to the 16 th percentile. Improved writing: A study of 2 nd, 4 th, & 6 th graders indicated that students wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard. Improved writing: A study of 2 nd, 4 th, & 6 th graders indicated that students wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.

12 Indiana Univ. MRI Scans In children who had practiced writing by hand, the scans showed heightened brain activity in a key area, circled on the image at right, indicating learning took place.

13 Is Handwriting Faster?  Researchers who tested second-, fourth- and sixth- graders found that children compose essays more prolifically — and faster — when using a pen rather than a keyboard.  In addition, fourth- and sixth-graders wrote more complete sentences when they used a pen.  Forming letters by hand may engage our thinking brains differently than pressing down on a key. Source: Dr. Virginia Berninger, Univ. of Washington, 2011.

14 Handwriting’s Impact on the Brain  If you write yourself a list or a note — then lose it — you're much more likely to remember what you wrote than if you just tried to memorize it.  The more one practices a skill such as handwriting, the stronger the motor pathways become until the skill becomes automatic. This automaticity allows one to focus on the subject, rather than worry about how to form letters.  Handwriting engages different brain circuits than keyboarding. The contact, direction and pressure of the pen or pencil send the brain a message. Source: Dr. Katya Feder, Univ. of Ottawa

15 Current Research

16 To acquire an understanding of the nature of handwriting instruction currently implemented within our state, and To determine whether the state’s Core Academic Standards’ recommendations to replace handwriting instruction with keyboarding are empirically sound. Purpose of this Study

17 Research Questions What is the status of handwriting instruction in public schools? What instructional methods, materials, and time allotment do teachers use to teach handwriting and keyboarding? What are the implications for students of the handwriting instructional practices in schools?

18 Data Collection  Pilot survey sent to sample of elementary and middle grades teachers statewide.  150+ Teachers participated in the pilot phase.  Responses will be examined against state reported testing data for reading and writing.  Teachers invited to participate in a focus group. (72+ volunteers)

19 Preliminary Survey Results

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27 Handwriting vs. Keyboarding  I cannot spend valuable class time teaching handwriting if it is not a CCS.  Students can't read cursive much less write a correct signature due to lack of instruction.  We realize that in today's society that everyone must know how to type on a keyboard, but we also feel that it is just as IMPORTANT that our children may express themselves without the use of technology!!  This is not taught until 9th grade....how ridiculous! This needs to be a rotation class along with PE, music, etc. in middle school.  Keyboarding will allow students to effectively use written expression skills to complete essays and assignments with greater efficiency in later grades.

28 Manuscript PK-2/3 Cursive 2-4 Key- Boarding 6+ The 21 st Century Writer A forward-balanced approach Digital Handwriting Tools PK-12 Hand to Text Voice to Text Tech Familiarity PK+

29 Major Resources American College Testing. (2011). Scoring guidelines. Retrieved January 30, 2012 at http://www.actstudent.org/writing/scores/guidelines.html Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Augsburger, A., and Garcia, N. (2009). Comparison of pen and keyboard transcription modes in children with and without learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 32(3), 11- 18. Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Jones, J., Wolf, B., Gould, L., Anderson-Youngstrom, M., et al. (2006). Early development of language by hand: Composing, reading, listening, and speaking connections; three letter- writing modes; and fast mapping in spelling. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(1), 61-92. Cutler, L., & Graham, S. (2008). Primary grade writing instruction: A national survey. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 907-919. James, K., & Atwood, T. (2009). The role of sensorimotor learning in the perception of letter- like forms: Tracking the causes of neural specialization for letters. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 26(1), 91-110 James, K., Wong, C., & Jobard, G. (2010). The case for letter expertise. In Gauthier, I., Bub, D., & Tarr, M. (Eds.), Perceptual Expertise: Bridging Brain and Behavior (305-331). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Jones, D., & Christensen, C. (1999). The relationship between automaticity in handwriting and students’ ability to generate written text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 44-49. Longcamp, M., Boucard, C., Gilhodes, J., Anton, J., Roth, M., Nazarian, B., et al. (2008). Learning through hand- or typewriting influences visual recognition of new graphic shapes: Behavioral and functional imaging evidence. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(5), 802-815. Longcamp, M., Zerbato-Poudou, M., & Velay, J. (2005). The influence of writing practice on letter recognition in preschool children: A comparison between handwriting and typing. Acta Psychologica, 119, 67-79. National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. (NIH Publication NO. 004769). Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office. Vander Hart, N., Fitzpatrick, P., & Cortesa, C. (2010). In-depth analysis of handwriting curriculum and instruction in four kindergarten classrooms. Reading and Writing, 23, 673-699.

30 Support Resources http://stateimpact.npr.org/indiana/2011/09/29/why-schools-should-keep- teaching-handwriting-even-if-typing-is-more-useful/ Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/01/25/18handwriting_ep.h31.html ACT Scoring Guidelines http://www.actstudent.org/writing/scores/guidelines.html Handwriting in the 21 st Century? An Educational Summit http://www.hw21summit.com/ Hanover Research White Paper https://www.zaner-bloser.com/media/zb/zaner-bloser/pdf/hw_hanover.pdf Indiana Public Radio Interview w/Dr. Karin James and Dr. Steve Graham

31 Contact Information Dr. Faye Deters Faye.deters@eku.edu 859-622-2159 Dr. April Blakely April.blakely@eku.edu 859-622-2396 Department of Curriculum and Instruction Eastern Kentucky University 215 Bert Combs Building 521 Lancaster Ave. Richmond, KY 40475


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