The complexity of handwriting

by Sivia Passerini

Handwriting is a complex act that requires many different and transversal skills, all integrated with each other. To do this, it is necessary to observe the world of chirography from multiple points of view: neurological, psychomotor, perceptual, emotional, intellectual. In this sense, I am referring to one of my works “education and guidance in writing” (Onthewave Edizioni).

The activity of the writing hand is not a mechanical action, but the product of complex brain functions. The hand is just the instrument at the end of a sequential and functional chain involving several interdependent cortical areas of both hemispheres.

Studies by Norwegian and French neurophysiologists have shown that handwriting activates many more areas of the brain than electronic typing by typing on a keyboard. In fact, in handwriting the movements of the hands and eyes accompany and participate in the formation of the letter, while in typed writing this involvement does not occur and therefore the sensory areas are activated to a lesser extent. measure.

Other studies conducted by Indiana University have confirmed that children who often use handwriting have a greater neurological activity in the part of the brain devoted to learning than those who prefer the keyboard.

The widespread use of digital electronic media is leading to a reduction in memory, perception and space-time organization and a separation between thought and action.

Today we know that motor activity is an aid to brain function: motor behavior stimulates brain activity. But we must also keep in mind that intellectual activity is the trainer of motor activity, that is, the former is used as a means to stimulate and improve motor behavior to achieve the goal.

Like any learning process, the acquisition of writing also involves multiple skills and the dynamics of controlling the execution of the act.

The praxis involved in the act of writing is ideomotor and visual-constructive, as the copying or execution of graphic signs requires a detailed visual analysis of spatial relationships.

The key element in learning is motivation, which, along with curiosity, arouses interest and gives meaning and meaning to actions, creating gratification in doing the work. The teacher must know the motivations that underpin the student’s learning path and must also keep in mind that, as stated by Haward Gardner (American psychologist and professor of Cognitivism and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education of Harvard University), we are all endowed with at least seven intelligences connected and interacting with each other, although each operates with its own biological processes and bases. Every intelligence is conceived by Gardner as an observable potential only if used.

Some have developed all the intelligences, while others have high levels of only a few. Less developed intelligences can be empowered and trained to reach satisfactory levels, but this process needs stimulation, stimulation, enrichment, and education.

The Gardnerian intelligences that facilitate the learning of the graphic gesture are the Kinesthetic Intelligence and the Visuospatial Intelligence.

It is necessary, therefore, that kindergarten teachers begin, through playful exercises, to exercise the different intelligences in children, to train them evidently in those who already possess them, and to increase them in those who are a little lacking.

Haward Gardner believes that standardized cognitive psychometric tests should take into account the existence of different intelligences, through an assessment that is capable of estimating different human abilities, and not be based on questions that require only application. of linguistic and logical intelligences. the current ones.

To learn to write enthusiastically and effortlessly, it is also important to have a certain emotional balance. Emotion education begins at birth, with the child’s relationship with the mother first and then with both parents, but also continues during school age. Daniel Goleman (professor of psychology at Harvard and scientific contributor to the New York Times) says that our personality is also made up ofIntelligence emotional which has an important place in the growth process. According to Goleman, emotions guide behaviors, influence the construction of “knowing how to be” and are decisive for school success or failure.

Kinesiology also deals with writing using the Brain Gym method, which allows learning through movement.

Kinesiology in general is “the scientific study of the movement of the body”; in particular the Educational kinesiology he wants to “throw himself through the movement.” The goal is to restore energy balance and strengthen the psychophysical and emotional structure, weakened by conditioning, habits and compensations, through direct responses of the body, without the filters imposed by the mind.

The Brain Gym learning technique, which acts on the reprogramming of movement patterns, was developed in the early 1980s thanks to educator Paul E. Dannison. It was born from the observation of the school difficulties of dyslexic, dyscalculic and dysgraphic children and has been confirmed as one of the best learning training techniques by the National Learning Foundation. Dannison observed that when something new is learned, parts of the brain that are latent are required because they are generally poorly stimulated in automated actions.

When it comes to writing, certain Brian Gym exercises stimulate the skills needed to grab the graphic instrument, draw, and write in italics.

It is recommended that teachers have specific transversal skills to teach writing, so that young people learn to write with agility and naturalness. In addition, both teachers and parents must always stimulate, encourage and motivate children so that the encounter with their own path does not become a shock, a negative fact that can damage the relationship with their writing.

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