attempting to write using the same techniques and positioning as right-handed children leads to a number of problems for left-handers
Parents have voiced their concerns that left-handed children are not being given the correct guidance on how to develop a good handwriting technique by their schools.
Despite assurances made by the Teacher Training Agency over a decade ago, it appears that teachers still receive no formal training in the basic essential differences in left-handed writing technique and many are completely unaware that 1 in 10 of their students are struggling unnecessarily with mastering this essential skill, simply because of the hand they write with.
The issue has been highlighted by members of The Left-Handers Club giving feedback to a recent article on this issue published in the LHC Newsletter.
Being left-handed does not, in itself, make handwriting difficult, but it does require different techniques for pen grip, posture and paper positioning to those of a right-hander. Lauren Milsom, expert on handedness and author of "Your Left-Handed Child", confirms that attempting to write using the same techniques and positioning as right-handed children leads to a number of problems for left-handers including:
- Cramped hand grip,
- Poor pen control,
- Bad posture
- Slow laboured letter formation
- Smudged writing
As Ms. Milsom points out "All of these difficulties can be avoided if the left-handed child is properly positioned at the desk and in the classroom, and shown some simple, specific techniques for left-handed writing."
The important issue here is that because the teaching of a left-handed writing style is not a requirement of the national teaching curriculum it has not been included either in initial teacher training or inset training of qualified teachers. Therefore, the majority of primary school teachers are:
a) unaware that the issues exist, often assuming the struggling child may have learning difficulties or co-ordination problems
b) have no knowledge of the required techniques to assist left-handed writing.
The overwhelming response to the recent Left Handers Club article on this and the constant demand for writing aids and advice for left-handed children from specialist supplier AnythingLeftHanded.co.uk has prompted the LHC to re-launch its campaign for left-handed writing techniques to be formally included in all teacher training, and appropriate handwriting tuition given to all left-handed children in UK schools.
The Rights of Left-Handed Writers Campaign will be launched on Left-Handers Day, 13th August 2012, initially harnessing the power of parents to highlight the issues directly with their children's schools via a Teachers Survey on what guidance is currently provided for left-handed writers.
For more information and full details of the issues and campaign history visit:
Training videos for left-handed writing, cutting and links to equipment and teaching aids for left handed children can be found at http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/teachers
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Further information and to arrange interviews contact:
Left Handers Club
t: 020 3560 5934
Notes to Editors:
Being left-handed does not, in itself, make handwriting difficult, but it does require different techniques for pen grip, posture and paper positioning to those of a right-hander. This is because writing from left to write is an awkward movement using the left hand, as the writing arm is being pushing into the body rather than away from it, and the pen being pushed into the paper with the hand following behind, rather than pulled as it is by a right-hander.
Without guidance, the child will be forced to find their own ways of adapting the writing technique to try and overcome these problems, which leads to the classic tell-tale signs of a lefty we all see every day; the awkward "claw hand grip", body hunched over and bizarre writing angles with paper almost upside down to alleviate smudging.
Further information and links to relevant books, videos, equipment and aids can be found at: www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/teachers
The LHC is the leading pressure group for left-handedness, with over 100,000 members world-wide, providing information and advice on all aspects of left-handedness and raising awareness of related issues.
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