Sunday, January 18, 2009
Do you ever have the kind of discussion that is really interesting but doesn't actually go anywhere?
Anne & I were talking about how we learned cursive writing. I remember that here in BC we used the McLean Method of Writing. This was about Grade 3 in the mid-1950's. There was a workbook that had guidelines to help us keep the letters in place. The style wasn't exactly like the one to the left but close enough.
In it I remember making miles and miles of the letter "O' joined together like a spring. Our task was to make them uniform and regular but at the same time fluid. Then we would do another few miles of what looked like a pointy '7' - over and over and over. The goal was for everyone to have the same rounded, right-slanting handwriting. And I think it did have that result.
In Toronto, there was a similar learning method but it had a different name. Like us, all the students used pencil for the exercises until they got really good. Then, we could begin to use a stick pen with a nib and a bottle of ink. Oh, that was heaven! But I also remember that it didn't happen until Grade 4. So a whole year of proving ourselves first.
As we grew older, we gradually developed our own style of writing. I wanted to have the straight up and down handwriting that looked like printing joined together. My friend from England had learned that method and I admired it greatly. So, I worked hard on the new style and it became mine. I can, however, still summon up the Mclean method if I have to.
We started wondering what method is taught in schools today. Is anything taught in such a uniform way? Do kids still practice the letters as we did? And we also wondered why, if we all learned the same basic method, did so many people develop different styles over time?
I've said that I made a conscious decision to change. But. what I find interesting is that my sisters and I have more or less similar looking handwriting today. And it's very like our mother's was . Is this genetic in some way? See what I mean about no conclusion? I'm sure there's a study on this somewhere. More research needed.