And then, an elementary school student tried to write and dropped a red Caron d’Ache with his closed little hands. And then, the strict teacher calls out a pun: He has to write “I shouldn’t give up the pencil” 30 times – how it was back in the 1970s.
Bruno Mock (59), a trained elementary school teacher, psychomotor therapist and lecturer at Thurgau University of Education, also learned to write with a pencil which was a new type of coated cardboard at the time: “Then you could wash the pencil marks with soap. with.”
Although the German carpenter Kaspar Faber (1730–1784) encased the graphite core in the wooden shaft that is common today, the pencil took longer to find its way into Swiss classrooms: this is due on the one hand to its fragility and wear. and tear, and on the other hand paper as a carrier medium, which is a luxury product before industrial production.
And so, until the 1960s, the school rooms here relied mainly on pencils and 18 by 28 cm, wooden-framed slates: lines on one side for writing exercises, a case for arithmetic operations on the other – its Above included sponge and cloth. Drying: Wipe and Away!
Handwriting requires more perceptual power
The school museum in Koniz Bey has a large collection of historical slates. It’s amazing how yesterday’s writing devices resemble today’s tablets in color and format. It’s also the case that handwriting on a surface doesn’t stay as stable as a piece of paper – just wipe it off!
Tablets are being used more in schools. For example, in the canton of Aargau, when the new curriculum was introduced in early 2019, a recommendation was drawn up on the type and number of equipment. And in the Canton of Zurich, the “technology follows education” approach is being followed. “Tablets are one of a variety of mobile work devices,” says Mathias Schweizer, deputy head of the elementary school office in the Department of Education.
“The advantage that it can be operated with keyboard, pen, and finger makes it attractive for different school levels,” Schweizer says. However, psychomotor therapist Mock suspects that tablets are used more in conjunction with hand-typing technology: “The disadvantage of fast typing is that the screen leaves no noticeable impression for the fingers and the typing becomes random on the surface.” Is. “
In general, Mock states that handwriting requires significantly more visual and motor perception and that letters and symbols are more deeply anchored in different centers of the brain than pressing a key. “For beginners, learning to type only makes sense if they are learning handwriting,” Mock says.
Fountain pens lose importance in the classroom
The Department of Education is also aware of this. For example, the primary school curriculum in Aargau clearly states: “Students learn to use the keyboard effectively.” But also: “Students learn to write legibly and fluently in personal handwriting.”
With “normal” it’s been a thing for a long time: since the pen gets used up quickly after the first practice with the pencil, it’s mainly the ink that moves and spreads some handwritten text. The problem with left-handed people is that they keep blurring their own text – a real nightmare!
Until the 1950s, desks had holes for inkwells to dip nibs into or fill with fountain pens. Ink cartridges make the keg superfluous from now on, but the problem with writing ink remains. “The fountain pen is one of the more difficult writing tools,” Mock says. Their importance is rapidly declining.
Today school children commonly use rollerballs, ballpoint pens or fiber rollers. But Mock is convinced that handwriting and a keyboard won’t be enough in the future: “In school we also have to deal with new technologies like digital dictation, which translates spoken language into written form quickly.” Perhaps we will write using all three techniques soon.