Why should a family misspell their last name?

Most children begin to write (their names) by hand when they are four years old - researchers warn that wrong attitudes become entrenched

DARMSTADT. Preschoolers tend to be highly motivated to learn to write. Now the Schreibmotorik Institut, Heroldsberg, has determined the first attempts at writing in a survey among mothers. Because even in the age of digitization, handwriting remains of crucial importance. An international symposium at the TU Darmstadt will deal with this topic.

Most children - 61.4 percent - start writing their names as early as four years of age. In this age group, drawing skills are usually not very developed, but it seems essential for the children to be able to write their names already. And they do this independently around 400 times before they start school. These are the results of a representative survey of mothers carried out by the Schreibmotorik Institut, Heroldsberg. "The correct writing of the name and the praise of the adults for it is probably the first consciously perceived educational success of a child", explains institute director Dr. Marianela Diaz Meyer - the step for further development should be assessed accordingly.

"The keyboard is a great blessing"? No way - just let the children do handwriting!

"Discovering handwriting is voluntary and intrinsically motivated, with curiosity and the absolute will to learn to write," says the ergonomics expert. After all, four- and five-year-old children write their names by hand an average of 3.8 times a week, and 82 percent of children do so with a lot of joy, according to their mothers. Particularly motivated children even get a total of 490 times that they write their name by hand before they start school. They do this more often (4.7 times a week), and an above-average number of them enjoy handwriting noticeably (91 percent). On the other hand, there is no difference between girls and boys: On average, they like to write their names about the same frequency and to the same extent. This leads to the question of where the boys lose their motivation: According to research by the Schreibmotorik Institut, 51 percent of boys have problems with handwriting.

Because more and more words are added as the process progresses, the majority of children should write by hand every day until they start school - according to the researchers at the Schreibmotorik Institut. “There is a great chance that children will develop joy in handwriting and learning,” says Dr. Diaz Meyer. "But there is also a danger in this." Because: "Children have to learn to precisely coordinate more than 30 muscles and 17 joints in order to develop the necessary motor skills so that they can use the 'precision tool' pen." solidifies, could lead to permanent handwriting problems.

Survey: 79 percent of teachers see handwriting deterioration

The recommendation of the Schreibmotorik Institut to the parents: "Please make sure that you sit and hold the pen correctly, but also that the paper is correctly positioned right from the start!" Fathers and mothers could save their children a lot of problems with writing as well as later bad postures if they use the right posture Pay attention to the position of the pen and the position of the paper so that the hand can write in a relaxed manner. Later - this is shown by the experience of many teachers and occupational therapists - it is almost impossible to relearn. From the teachers' point of view, this is one of the most serious causes of writing problems for children in Germany. Three quarters of the children cannot write legibly and without tension, according to the institute's surveys of teachers. *

An early training of hand muscles and coordination is therefore important. "The sooner children become familiar with the pen and the more they practice with fun, the easier it will be for them to learn to write later in school," says Dr. Diaz Meyer. Research in cooperation with renowned universities shows that children who were offered a variety of playful exercises to train their writing motor skills at an early age learned to write significantly faster, better and more motivated. One hour a week is enough. N4t


Second International Symposium on Handwriting Skills 2017

"The media change, but the handwriting remains." And: "Education needs handwriting in a meaningful digital context." These are two working theses that scientists, teacher trainers, representatives of ministries of culture as well as school practitioners and occupational therapists at an international symposium of the Schreibmotorik Institut in Want to discuss cooperation with the Institute for Ergonomics of the TU Darmstadt on November 10th in Darmstadt. The focus is on the opportunities and risks of handwriting in the context of digitization - an examination of fundamental questions of educational practice of the future.

For several years now, there have been international efforts to increasingly replace handwriting in schools with typed letters. The contributions to the symposium show which problems arise from this for the acquisition of education. Because handwriting promotes cognitive development. "Only three fingers hold the pen while writing, but the whole brain works." This is the title of a lecture by Prof. Dr. Ruud van der Weel, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Norwegian University of Science & Technology.

Prof. Dr. Gerald Lembke, Professor of Digital Media, DHBW Mannheim, will speak in his opening lecture about the opportunities and risks of digital education. But the fundamental question “How fit is the child for writing lessons?” Will also be dealt with during the symposium. For this, Dr. Christian Marquardt, Scientific Advisory Board of the Schreibmotorik Institut, presented a new, simple writing motor test for beginners, the "SMI KompetenzSpinne". In addition to scientific knowledge, practical experience is also conveyed.