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What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades - NYTimes.com


Stashed in: Young Americans, Brain, Writing!, Writing, Brain, Education, Cognition, Penmanship

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“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.

“And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize,” he continued. “Learning is made easier.”

So even if we use smartphones for note taking, we should "handwrite" them instead of typing them?

The article is about early childhood development and why it is important to teach handwriting beyond kindergarten and first grade.  It warns of the danger in switching children to keyboards too early.

"Our brain must understand that each possible iteration of, say, an “a” is the same, no matter how we see it written. Being able to decipher the messiness of each “a” may be more helpful in establishing that eventual representation than seeing the same result repeatedly.

“This is one of the first demonstrations of the brain being changed because of that practice,” Dr. James said.

In another study, Dr. James is comparing children who physically form letters with those who only watch others doing it. Her observations suggest that it is only the actual effort that engages the brain’s motor pathways and delivers the learning benefits of handwriting.

Ok, I get it. Kids should learn to write before they learn to type. It's important for cognition.

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