From BBC Online Fountain pens boost 'self-esteem' Pupil writing Exam markers require neat handwriting in exam papers. The headmaster of an Edinburgh school where pupils have gone back to using fountain pens said they helped to raise academic performance. The writing policy at Mary Erskine and Stewart's Melville Junior School in Edinburgh means children a young as seven are using the pens. Bryan Lewis, the school's head teacher, said the practice helped boost youngsters' self-esteem. It is thought the pens make pupils write neatly, which helps exam markers. Fountain pens have been used for many years by older pupils. The move comes after the Scottish Qualifications Agency said markers had difficulties with poor handwriting on exam papers. Mr Lewis said in the past four to five years the use of fountain pens has been extended, with seven and eight-year-olds using them 80-90% of the time. He said: "We believe if you write in fountain pen you must write neatly, but if you use pencil or ballpoint pen you can mask bad handwriting. "We have a particular writing style and we have developed it very carefully and found a way that allows left and right handed people to write without smudging. "We think children deserve to be able to show their work neatly. We think children need to be literate and numerate and the way society is now we have to work harder. "The role modelling is not always there, so they need it in school." Reaped benefits Mr Lewis said developing neat handwriting was something pupils could then show to their family, who in turn could take it on board. He claimed being praised for good handwriting reaped benefits later and was one of the skills that has suffered as a result of progressive teaching approaches which meant less emphasis was put on basics such as grammar. A large number of pupils join the school aged 10, and have varying standards of handwriting. But within a matter of months they are able to get to grips with the fountains pens and a cursive, or joined-up, handwriting style, the head teacher added. The Headteachers' Association of Scotland believes handwriting basic skills should be taught as a "priority" as soon as children begin primary school.That said, as regular recipients of my letters know, it is unfortunately not always possible to write in a fountain pen. This is usually because I have lost the thing- I easily get through for or five pens a year and a £8 a pop that aint cheap! Even so, like the eternal snob I can sometimes be I am rather specific about my ink colour. It has to be black, blue ink just doesn't work. I find something deeply enhancing to the eye about black ink... I don't have any such opinion of people who send things to me though, i more enjoy the fact that i have received something handwritten in the post. Indeed I try to live this out where possible by, if typing a letter always signing it by hand. Right better stop procrastinating as have some letters to write but a pen to find first.... Take Care Y'All John
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The Joy of Text
There is nothing I enjoy more, when communicating then writing a letter. Whilst I am notoriously bad at consistently writing I feel so much more involved when writing then when texting/emailing. The reason this is is because I do try to write with a "real" pen. I have always been a fan of the fountain pen. There is something magical about the way it just glides across the page, winking slightly with the wet ink. Whereas the 'umble biro allows all forms of writing to be got it just seems to stick into the page when writing. The words and thoughts flow with a fountain pen and it improved my handwriting no end! It appears that one of the main private schools in Edinburgh also had the same thought....