Pena: Handwriting | SunStar

Pena: Handwriting

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Pena: Handwriting

Thursday, August 03, 2017

IN TODAY’S high-tech world, lengthy handwritten letters are a rarity. E-mail, text messages, Viber and Facebook Messenges have replaced handwritten letters. I feel however that electronic communication is a little impersonal. Call me sentimental and old-fashioned, but I believe handwritten messages add a personal touch to the message.

I am guilty too of going with technology. In fact, I find it difficult to write even a one-page handwritten letter. My hands get tired easily. Recently, I read an article which says that there are actually some benefits in handwriting. Let me share the information which I got from my favorite environmental website treehugger.com.

1. It improves learning - A study published by the Association for Psychological Science found that taking notes in longhand, not laptop, improves comprehension, concluding that "laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning."

2. It encourages brain development - A report in Psychology Today describes the importance to brain development of learning cursive, during the course of which "the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking." Brain imaging shows how engaged the brain is while learning cursive:
To write legible cursive, fine motor control is needed over the fingers. You have to pay attention and think about what and how you are doing it. You have to practice. Brain imaging studies show that cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding.

3. It makes for better composition - Research reveals that students who write essays with a pen write more than those that used a keyboard; they also wrote faster and in more complete sentences.

4. It helps those with dyslexia - Deborah Spear, an academic therapist based in Great Falls, tells the Washington Post that cursive writing is an integral part of her work with students who have dyslexia. "Because all letters in cursive start on a base line, and because the pen moves fluidly from left to right, cursive is easier to learn for dyslexic students who have trouble forming words correctly."

5. It keeps older brains sharp - The Wall Street Journal reports on research that finds that by engaging fine motor-skills, memory, and more, writing by hand acts as a good cognitive exercise for aging brains.

6. It helps to-do lists get done - Of handwriting lists and achieving goals, researcher Dr. Jordan Peterson tells Forbes: "It appears possible that writing, which is a formalized form of thinking, helps people derive information from their experiences that help them guide their perceptions, actions, thoughts and emotions in the present... Clarifying purpose and meaning into the future helps improve positive emotion, which is associated with movement towards important goals..."

7. It can soothe the nerves - Dr. Marc Seifer, a graphologist and handwriting expert, says that writing a soothing sentence is a type of "graphotherapy." Writing a sentence like "I will be more peaceful" at least 20 times per day can actually make on more peaceful, especially for those with attention problems. "This actually calms the person down and retrains the brain," Seifer says.

So once in a while, send handwritten messages to the people important to you. I’m sure they will appreciate it.

Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on August 04, 2017.

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