Even with the proliferation of technology, writing forms an integral part of student life. Although adults can get away with messy or downright illegible handwriting, children constantly get pulled up by parents and teachers alike for the copy they present. And for good reason too!
Several research studies suggest that handwriting, acquired through practice, affects brain functioning and is representative of one’s intelligence.
In this blog, we throw light on how handwriting can be an indication of a person’s brainpower.
Handwriting is a combination of fine and gross motor skills
Writing, the product of fine motor, i.e., the muscles in hands, fingers and wrists, and gross motor comprising the larger muscle groups of the neck, shoulder and trunk, is the first skill that a child acquires while growing up. The gross motor skills allow postural control required of the muscle group involved to maintain stability in moving the fingers and hand to write. On the other hand, fine motor skills dictate precision in letter formation through coordinating the smaller muscles.
Writing makes learning easier
Yes, writing stimulates the brain to enable exact visualisation of the letters and the words they form, making learning easier for children. So, writing comes even before a child learns to read. A study revealed that the human brain gets stimulated in different ways in pre-literate children asked to write, trace, and type specified letters. This exercise concluded that the “reading circuit” of the brain acts better to perceive and phonologically comprehend handwritten letters.
The natural messiness involved in free-form writing stimulates the brain to recognise handwritten letters. Writing demands planning and executing the exact path the pencil will take to form the letter, making the brain exercise. Further, the result can vary in messiness every time early learners write, transforming the variations into a learning tool to read better.
In another study, one group of children wrote a new cursive script themselves, while the other group observed writers producing the script. Brain imaging during the experimentation shows only the children writing engaged their perceptual-motor network, leading to better letter recognition than the children observing do.
Writing leads to ideation
Writing activates the neural circuits in the brain for efficient processing of new information and generating ideas. Surprisingly, children with neat handwriting skills have a stronger working memory stimulation, influencing thought processes and the ability to understand concepts. With the thinking caps on in the literal sense, they ideate better, leading to quality compositions.
Cursive writing practice improves memory
Considered the epitome of good handwriting, cursive writing practice can prevent poor spelling in dyslexic individuals. Further, research has been done to understand the effect of handwriting to correct learning developmental deficits. It highlights how cursive writing can help dysgraphic students overcome motor-controlled difficulties in forming letters.
Cursive writing helps the brain integrate the senses to control movement and think simultaneously. Whether a child has learning deficits or not, practising cursives print strong visuals in the brain, aiding better recall, thus improving learning outcomes.
Messy or tidy handwriting does not indicate higher or lower intelligence
While popular belief suggests that messy handwriting is the sign of a genius, believe it or not, Einstein had neat handwriting. Messy handwriting highlights the fast-thinking capacity of writers who are individualistic and have no regard for the legibility of their writing. According to graphologists, messy or untidy handwriting indicate low self-esteem and confusion in the writer.
Neither mentors nor parents want their wards to lack confidence or exhibit confusion. However, our earlier discussion proves that handwriting practice can enhance learning and comprehension abilities, help with memory retention and inculcate deep-thinking capabilities, which are all clear signs of a higher level of intelligence.
The final words
The use of technology in classrooms may be the rage in present times. Nevertheless, taking handwritten notes help students focus on crucial points leading to a better understanding and further manipulation of concepts. Clearly, the writing is on the wall – handwriting makes better thinkers. So, it makes sense to set aside the screen and pick up a pen to write.
At the Samsidh Group of Schools, with our commitment to nurturing the innate potential of each child, we stress handwriting through the lower to higher classes to groom intelligent thinkers of tomorrow.