Listening, pronouncing words, speaking sentences, reading and writing are important steps in language development. Of these, a clear and neat handwriting is an important element of writing that requires practicing. It is important to practice good handwriting while in school. If a student’s writing is bad, teachers and guardians alike are bound to ask, “What on earth is this illegible scrawl?”
It is said that handwriting is a reflection of the individual’s personality, which may well be true. In Marathi, there’s a saying that having good handwriting is like possessing a lovely ornament.
A well-thought-out intelligent essay may not get the attention it deserves if the handwriting is poor. At the same time, good handwriting attracts the reader and encourages her to read further. It is rare to find someone who does not care to have good handwriting. But often, as students, we do not know how to achieve this, step by step.
In our school, we have been making special efforts to help students improve their handwriting.
‘Maze Akshar, Khup Sundar’ (‘My Handwriting is Very Beautiful’) is a project that we started in our ZP School at Bare Budruk.
First, we explained the importance of good handwriting. We showed handwriting samples, and pointed out examples of both good and bad handwriting. Then we distributed writing materials to the students – ink pens and ink bottles, calligraphy pens, graph books. We taught them how to hold the calligraphy pen, and had them practice drawing vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.
We demonstrated how to write the (Marathi) alphabet, with the signs for vowels and other sounds that are added to the letters. Students were given exercises where they were asked to focus on the task of writing each letter neatly and accurately, without any hurry.
Using the graph books, we demonstrated how each letter needed to be of the right size. Then we grouped together similar letters, which we asked the students to practice for a few days. This was to enable them to grasp the flow of each letter, and how to form it. Finally, we proceeded from simple words to sentences and paragraphs, where the handwriting remained steady and constant.
They enjoyed this activity so much that we continued it even during vacations – with some 40 students participating.
It is fulfilling to see the joy on students’ faces when they learn and master a new skill. Many students, who felt incompetent because they had poor handwriting, gained new confidence in their abilities. Interestingly, as their writing improved, our students’ performance in government-sponsored drawing competitions and exams also improved!
Our students have since gained fame for their beautiful handwriting: visitors to our school often ask to look at their notebooks, and admire their handwriting.
Writer: Suresh Sutar, Teacher, ZP Primary School, Bare Budruk, Pune District
Translation & editing: samata.shiksha team