Friday, November 28, 2008

On Handwriting, Notes, etc.

During college (I’m an education graduate) we had this subject called HPC or the Handwriting Proficiency Course. We were taught how to write cursive. The subject was difficult, but thanks to an understanding instructor, I got good grades. It was difficult because I did (and still do not) not write in cursive.

This is just an observation and not, in any way a generalization: among my pupils, the smartest usually have the most unintelligible handwriting. This drives me crazy because most of the times I could not understand them. But the surprising thing is, after deciphering the hieroglyphics, I findd that what they had written are correct! But the ones with good penmanship just do average on quizzes and exams. This is a phenomenon that I think every teacher knew. (Of course, as far as my experience is concern, this is more prevalent among the bioys.)

I think it has to do with energy, instead if channeling their energy to write beautifully, they channel their energy to think. This is just a thought. Another thing is the smartest pupils hate writing! They hate writing on their notebooks! “I know that already! I understood the lesson why do I have to write it down!” These are their complaints. But it’s true; they do know the lessons already. Usually those who do not have notes, I have observed, relied on logic to figure out the relationships in grammar and those who have notes, whenever difficulty arises, search for their notes, or sometimes they “peek” at their notes during quizzes. Of course logic is not always applicable in grammar because of the numerous and nefarious exemptions in the rules, but still its amazing how these pupils could figure things out simply by deduction (or induction)!

Here’s the psychologist Erich Fromm’s theory on notes:

“Students in the having mode of existence will listen to a lecture, hearing words understanding them in their logical structure and their meaning as best as they can, will write down every word in their looseleaf notebooks—so that later on they can memorize their notes and thus pass an examination. But the content does not become part of their individual system of thought. Instead they transform the words they hear into clusters of thought…which they store up. The students and the contents of the lectures become stranger to each other, except that each student has become the owner of a collection of statements made by somebody else…Students in having mode have but one aim: to hold on to what they learned, either by entrusting it to their memories or their notes…they are disturbed by new ideas…

(I remember cramming for my licensure examination. I did sample tests using reviewers. I read a text book on research, measurement and evaluation, psychology etc. knowing that all I was doing was for one purpose, and nothing else—to pass the licensure examinations. But after passing the examinations, I had no use for all that information’s temporarily stored up in my head!)

It’s intriguing, the relationship between intelligence, penmanship, and notes.

Anyway, I’ll write some more about my teaching experiences and thoughts (or other people’s thoughts he, he, he…) when I have the time.


Joey said...

My handwriting is fairly good but I just hate taking notes and I also don't have the energy to think. hahaha

George. said...

:-) Maganda din naman sulat ko :-)