How to improve your pupils’ handwriting

As a class teacher, I was always surprised by how many pupils had a range of different handwriting styles, which they effortlessly switched between depending upon the needs of the audience.For example, if we were involved in a handwriting lesson, children in my class would generally produce beautifully formed letters, joined appropriately, to result in an artistic, finished piece of writing that would have not looked out of place in a medieval scriptorium.Later in the day, we would be involved in a literacy lesson where the focus was more concentrated on a grammatical technique or a descriptive device and, while not quite as technically formed as in the handwriting session, children’s writing would still be of a legible script and generally look neat and well formed.But in the afternoon, sessions of history, geography and other foundation subjects would tell a different tale. Remarkably for eight- and nine-year-olds, the children had somehow reached the conclusion that in these subjects content was more important than presentation and, like a crazed scientist – or perhaps the local GP – their written script now resembled the manic scrawl of an abstract artist with letter size and formation making way for a free-flowing and expressive scrawl. On many occasions, it had me referring back to their previous work, wondering if this was indeed the same child.

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