Dr. Claudia Crump, Professor Emeritus of Education, volunteers to teach handwriting to aspiring teachers

3rd July 2024

By Faye Camahalan, Dean of School of Education

With the use of modern technology, many are asking if we still need to learn handwriting. We can use our smart phones to type or dictate the groceries we need to buy, things to  do, reminders, and other ideas we need to write down.  However, I personally would love to receive a birthday card with handwritten notes. I still carry my notebook to work meetings and write notes by hand. Call me old school but I go around the grocery store with my handwritten grocery list. I find joy in writing my name or my signature by hand on a form.

Despite the increased use of technology for writing, the skill of handwriting remains important in everyday life. According to the national Handwriting Association, “Without fast and legible handwriting, students may miss out on learning opportunities and under-achieve academically. Beyond formal education, most employment situations will involve at least some handwriting, and many require the communication of critical information (e.g. medical notes, prescriptions).”

Troy Hubbard and I teach Education Pathway courses on the IU Southeast campus to high school students at Greater Clark County Schools, who aspire to be teachers. We invited Dr. Claudia Crump, Professor Emeritus of Education and active community partner of the School of Education, to teach long-hand or cursive writing to our students. Dr. Crump said, “Handwriting remains an important skill of communication. You can choose your own handwriting and you can say that it is part of your identity. The goal is to write legibly and send your message clearly to your readers.”

Dr. Claudia Crump instructs aspiring teachers from Greater Clark County Schools on the values of handwriting.

Dr. Crump compared the simplicity of the 26 letters in the English alphabet with only a few different symbols for the large upper-case letters to Japanese writing with over 300 precise brush strokes. She added, “It was made easy for us compared to other cultures.”

Hubbard, who was a former student of Dr. Crump, learned to value handwriting from Dr. Crump’s methods of teaching courses at Indiana University Southeast. “Dr. Crump visited our class and demonstrated why she continues to be a wonderful teacher,” said Hubbard.  “Her lesson on handwriting was educational, enlightening, and fun. Several of our students commented on her lesson, with ‘this is amazing’, ‘I get it now’, ‘I need to work on my handwriting’, and ‘OMG, I didn’t think I could do this’. Dr. Crump has inspired thousands of children through her teaching.  Many of the current and past teachers were taught by Dr. Crump, and she made a huge positive influence to many elementary education teachers within our region.”

The students practiced and learned the stages of teaching handwriting. Activities include practices on handwriting slant, movement, and letter strokes and styles. Participating students learned that handwriting is a combination of motor and cognitive skills coordination. To hold a pen or pencil properly, remember letter formation, recognize how to organize space to write legibly, and stringing your thoughts together to make meaning of what you are writing are not easy tasks. Dr. Crump added, “It doesn’t matter if your handwriting is narrower or broader, slanted or more upright than any model of good handwriting. Your choice of handwriting indicates a personal script, suited to you, your hand and personality. What is important is you can communicate what you have written by hand.”

Shifting to electronic modes of writing could be useful to those who are challenged with writing legibly by hand. Many computers have handwriting recognition capability. No matter what tools you use for writing, what is important is to make are you are communicating clearly. 

Overall, it was a great learning experience with Dr. Crump who emphasized that teaching handwriting, including cursive, is essential not only for practical and cognitive reasons but also for its role in personal expression, cultural continuity, and holistic development of an individual.

For those wishing to brush up on their handwriting skills, Dr. Crump wishes to share a one-page/one-hour lesson guaranteed to add legibility to handwritten notes and a polished signature to your current one.

TAGS: , , , ,