A letter to the teachers of English: 65Develop writing skills of your students (4) [Archives:2004/788/Education]

November 8 2004

Dr..M.N.K.Bose ([email protected])
Associate Professor of English,
Faculty of Arts, Ibb.

Dear Fellow teachers,
My last letter may give you some idea about the teaching of writing in the beginners' class, but I'm afraid you don't have much help by way of materials. I'm planning to produce some useful copybooks soon, which will help you and your learners in this task.
After practicing the strokes and curves for quite some time, learners can move on to write the letters; you should be with them to guide them at this stage because it is a crucial stage. Letters a, c, d, e, g, m, n, o, q, u can be drawn out of curves and other letters out of strokes. Tracing the letters can help the learners before they start writing the letters. Tracing means making them practise each letter overwriting it on the shape of the letter given in dots. This is useful for the beginners for getting the shape of each letter correctly.
The next step will be writing each letter independently; there should be more practice at this stage under the supervision of the teacher. Attention should be paid to the hand movement, size and shape of the letters; they should also be taught the difference between the shape and size of small and capital letters. It is suggested that, while using the four-ruled copybook, the capital letters are written using lines 1, 2 and 3 (no capital letter will touch line 4) and the small letters using lines 2 and 3 except in the case of b, d, h, k, l, where we use line 1, in the case of g, j, p, q where we use line 4 and in the case of f where we use all the 4 lines. This point will be clear only if you look at a good copybook or the handwriting books accompanying the CECY books.
After successfully practicing individual letters, we should teach them how to join the letters with one another. Before practicing joining the letters, they can practice writing words without joining the letters for some time. Joining the letters follows certain rules according the shape of the letters. For example, letters a, c, d, e, h, i, k, l, m, n, t, u end with a right hand curve (the hand moves towards right while ending the letters) whereas the letters b, g, j, p, s, y end with a left hand curve, and so joining the former with the following letters will be easier than the latter. The latter, therefore, are not joined with the following letters at all; similarly letters q, r, x and z are not joined with the following letters. The letters f, o, v and w are joined with the following letters at the top. The capital letters are not joined with the following letters at all. These rules, if followed, will make your writing easy, fast and legible, which are the qualities of good handwriting. I am aware that all these are better understood while practicing writing than through my explanation in this letter.
It is unfortunate that I am not able to provide you with a model for whatever I have said in this letter because of my insufficient technical knowledge in the use of the computer. Insha Allah, the Inspectorates in the Ministry of Education will be able to help you with some useful materials in this regard. If you want more information in any of the aspects that I have discussed in these letters, you are welcome to contact me. Try to teach your learners good handwriting at whatever level they are. I learnt the italic writing only when I was a teacher trainer. Age is no bar for learning. You can learn italic writing before you teach your learners. Good luck.

Yours fraternally,