I (Debbie) have always found teachers show enormous interest in the teaching of handwriting. Teachers can lack confidence and they often respond more to this topic than other features of phonics provision.
Could it be that they don’t always feel confident because they’re not convinced they’re doing justice to the teaching of handwriting for every child? This could be a conscious or sub-conscious state of affairs of course.
It is also a question of being conscientious – teachers see at least some children struggling to write well or well enough and they simply want to do better for the children in their care.
Whether to teach joined handwriting or not is a hot topic with very different positions indeed when you look across the international picture. In some countries people may argue that teaching joined handwriting is a waste of time. In other countries, joined handwriting is taught from the very beginning – and any ‘print’ may be in the form of capital letters and not lower case. Do these differences even matter?
In England, I have become increasingly concerned about the rapid growth of teaching beginners a form of single letter shape (lower case) with ‘lead-in joins’ or ‘leaders’ – and this is instead of teaching simple print letter shapes at first – no joining bits added. I’ve been asking whether we shouldn’t have some kind of national debate on this issue. I think it’s that important.
And our use of language is so powerful, isn’t it, as I could ask, ‘Is this a trend?’ or I could couch the question in terms of, ‘Is this a fad?’ Either way, is this something that will come and go, or will it remain forever entrenched in England’s context as it is growing throughout the UK I hear?
I certainly will ask, ‘Is this really doing our youngest learners a favour?’
And how best to teach fully joined handwriting? Again there are certain materials and traditions for teaching joined handwriting – with the not infrequent question of, ‘What’s the point? This gets dropped by many pupils in secondary education.’
Discussion definitely required!
The live webinar is on Wednesday 10th March, 2021.
Here is a link to my ‘Handwriting 1‘ practice booklet for fully joined handwriting practice (my way of teaching joined handwriting). You may like to print this off for some literal ‘hands on’ practice during or after the webinar!
My handwriting site with many alphabet and handwriting resources, plus video footage, is:
You will find a series of screenshots below for the purposes of the webinar – hopefully these may serve to provide food for thought. What do you think of these examples? Please scrutinise them carefully and reflect on them from a teaching perspective and from the shoes of the children:
An example of fully joined handwriting with my style of spacing.