Many schools are not aware of how many left-handed students they have in the school and no policy for noting a child’s hand preference on any records
Parents of left-handed children across the UK are harnessing parent power to address the lack of appropriate teaching their children receive in school, particularly relating to handwriting. As the school term begins, parents are able to download a survey form to take directly to their children’s school in an effort to establish how much or how little guidance is given to their child that is appropriate to learning new skills as a left-hander.
The survey marks the first stage of the Rights of Left-Handed Writers Campaign by the Left-Handers Club (LHC), the leading pressure group for left-handers in the UK. The campaign is a result of the constant concerns of parents among their 100,000+ members at their children’s difficulty mastering the basic essential skill of handwriting. Their concerns and frustrations are evident from the hundreds of heartfelt comments on this topic on the Left-Handers Club website, and the unprecedented interest in the subject by a record number of visitors to the site for the campaign launch on August 13th 21012 - Left-Handers Day.
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."
Having spent many fruitless years in discussions with teaching authorities, Teacher Training Agency and the Minister for Education attempting to ensure left-handed writing & cutting techniques become compulsory knowledge for all teachers, the LHC are now harnessing the energy and commitment of the parents of these left-handed pupils to take the necessary information and training directly to the teachers in their own local schools.
The first stage is to determine the level of awareness that individual schools have of the issues facing their left-handed pupils, and even whether a child’s hand preference is noted. (Many schools are not aware of how many left-handed students they have in the school and no policy for noting a child’s hand preference on any records). A free Questionnaire has been produced by the LHC which parents can download and take in to their child’s class to harness directly the assistance of teachers to establish how well left-handed students are catered for.
The survey form covers:
• Whether schools note the handedness of pupils and have any policy or guidance in place for teachers on how to help them
• Whether teachers have been given any training regarding left-handed children either while they were qualifying or in their schools.
• What provisions are made to help left-handed children with handwriting
• Information on scissors and other tools and the level of support available.
The LHC have committed to collate all the information with the aim of producing a set of suggested guidelines for best practice in appropriate teaching for left-handers in schools.
Any parents of a left-handed child or adult involved in teaching or education in any way can download the free survey form and complete the simple process here-:
(three A4 pages with 20 questions in total)
Give it to their child's teacher and explain what it is for
Get the completed form back together with copies of any documents that are available and enter the results into the LHC web form available at the same address as above
For further information and to arrange interviews contact:
Left Handers Club
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:
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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