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Handwriting & Learning A Second Language

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The Wall Street Journal has a somewhat interesting article (and video) today titled How Handwriting Trains the Brain.

I was particularly interested in what it says about how writing helps the brain learn a new language (over using a keyboard). That makes sense to me. In my teaching ELL’s, computers supplement language learning, but the majority of writing is done by hand.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Larry,

    Wow….new studies revealed that? Writing texts manually can benefit the health of my mind, help me to memorize things better, fight the big A, etc.etc. I remember my father telling me back in the Netherlands, in 1960 to write down the troublesome German lists of conjugation in order to memorize them with more ease. He didn’t stop advising me to write, write and write: résumé’s, lists etc. I applied the technique -even using color pencils- to all my French, English and History facts I had to learn. My father told me: “When you write down the things you have to learn, those facts will really find a front seat in your brain”. Years later I couldn’t read a book without a pencil in my hand, annotating everything. Even now it’s damn difficult to read something without a pencil within reach.
    And now, in the era of keyboards, they come up with this new scientific discovery that ‘it’s a good strategy to pick up the art of handwriting again. Most probably however they will not use paper for this but simulate the handwriting using touchscreens on desktops and handhelds. Nice technology to learn the shape of individual letters but, I don’t see myself jotting down all the German conjugation lists on a small -or even big- touch screen!
    Kind regards,
    looooooove your blog!

    Willem

  2. I absolutely agree with this. My early childhood education was severely stunted because I never wanted to write on paper and kept using a computer. It’s only after I went to remedial lessons (where I was forced to write out everything manually) that I started to get better in my second language (Afrikaans). Funny how the brain works…

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