All this matters, educators say, because evidence is growing that handwriting fluency is a fundamental building block of learning. Emily Knapton, director of program development at Handwriting Without Tears, believes that "when kids struggle with handwriting, it filters into all their academics. Spelling becomes a problem; math becomes a problem because they reverse their numbers. All of these subjects would be much easier for these kids to learn if handwriting was an automatic process." That concern, in part, prompted the addition of a written essay to the SAT, which is graded for content, though not legibility. "If you put something like a writing test on the SAT, children's skill level will begin to be addressed," says Ed Hardin, a senior content specialist at the College Board. The trickle-down effect to middle schools should eventually reach third grade, where the trouble so often begins.
これは本当に重要なのです、文字を正確に書けることが学習の基本要素であると、分かってきたのです、と教師たちは言う。Handwriting Without Tears社のプログラム開発担当責任者のEmily Knaptonは、「書くことに苦戦している子どもたちは、彼らのすべての学業で苦戦すると思います。スペリングが問題になるのです。たとえば、数学で問題が起きます、数字を(上下左右)逆に書くからです。こうした子供たちが無意識に字を書くことができるようになれば、どの科目もずっとわかりやすいものになるはずです。」これを少しだけ考慮して、SATにエッセイが追加された。SATでは、字の美しさではなく、内容が評価される。 「SATに筆記試験のようなものを入れれば、子供の記述能力に注目が行くようになるだろう。」と大学入学試験協会の上級コンテンツ専門家、エド・ハーディンは言う。中学校へのトリクルダウン効果は、最終的には問題が頻繁に起き始める3年生で顕著になるはずだ。

No one is predicting, or even recommending, a return to the days when children obsessively practiced the curlicues on their Palmer Method capitals. Beauty seems to be less important than fluidity and speed. Graham's work, and others', has shown that from kindergarten through fourth grade, kids think and write at the same time. (Only later is mental composition divorced from the physical process of handwriting.) If they have to struggle to remember how to make their letters, their ability to express themselves will suffer. The motions have to be automatic, both for expressive writing and for another skill that students will need later in life, note-taking. "Measures of speed among elementary-school students are good predictors of the quality and quantity of their writing in middle school," says Stephen Peverly, a professor of psychology and education at Columbia University's Teachers College. "I don't care about legiblility."
子供たちがパルマー・メソッドの大文字を書くために装飾の渦巻きをしつように練習した時代が戻ってくることを予測したり、推薦したりする人はいない。美しさは、流ちょうさや速さより重要ではないようだ。グラハム氏らが、幼稚園から4年生の間に、子供たちは考えながら書けるようになることを証明している。 (この後すぐに精神的な気質は手書きの物理的プロセスから切り離される)。手紙の書き方を身につけるときに苦労することと言えば、自分自身を表現することの難しさだろう。表現力豊かな文章と、後で人生で必要となる別の技能:ノートをとること、の両方について、こうした動作は自動的で(意識することなく自然に)なくてはなりません。コロンビア大学の教員養成大学の心理学教授Stephen Peverlyは次のように述べている。「小学生のときの(文を書く)速さは、中学生になったときの文章の質と量を判断する材料になります。私は字がきれいかどうかは気にしません。」

Predictions of handwriting's demise didn't begin with the computer; they date back to the introduction of the Remington typewriter in 1873. But for at least a generation, penmanship has seemed a quaint and, well … schoolmarmish subject to be emphasizing. Now, backed by new research, educators are trying to wedge it back into the curriculum. After all, no one has suggested that the invention of the calculator means we don't have to teach kids how to add, and spelling is still a prized skill in the era of spell check. If we stop teaching penmanship, it will not only hasten the dreaded day when brides acknowledge wedding gifts by e-mail; the bigger danger is, they'll be composed even more poorly than they already are.

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