TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: School Shuns Tech, Teaches Fountain Pen

Re: School Shuns Tech, Teaches Fountain Pen
12 Dec 2006 07:43:26 -0800

Ben McConville, AP <> wrote:

> But the private school's principal believes the old-fashioned pens
> have helped boost the academic performance and self-esteem of his
> 1,200 pupils.

> "The pens improve the quality of work because they force the children
> to take care, and better work improves self-esteem," principal Bryan
> Lewis said. "Proper handwriting is as relevant today as it ever has
> been."

That is quite true.

Using low speed devices forces people to think about their task.
qThinking first improves quality. I use the word processor now but when
I used a typewriter I was forced to first think through what I wanted
to write to save the trouble of endless draft retyping. (The often
parodied IBM "THINK" sign was created for a resaon.)

If I were a secondary or college level teacher I would require _one_
homework assignment to be done neatly in longhand. This is to
demonstrate the benefit of thinking ahead and reinforce the skill of
writing. Computers have replaced many things, but we still have a
need for handwritten notes that are legible. Power tools are great,
but we should know how to use hand tools as well.

Fountain pens also reproduce much better than ball point on copying and
fascimile machines.

I once told somebody my fountain pen was actually a digital device that
read the computer screen. They believed me.

But the flip side is that fountain pens can be a nuisance. Most pens
today use pre-filled cartridges. They go through them quickly and
cartridges are expensive. If you use a bladder and an ink bottle the
ink is cheap, but filling is messy. (Even changing cartridges can be
messy). If you flick or jar a fountain pen it will splatter staining
clothing. I'm not sure it's a good idea for such young kids to be
using them given their rambuctiousness. I must admit I have some
fountain pens out of service since they need to be cleaned and filled
and it's just easier using my inexpensive "Bic round stick".

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I do feel that forcing a _fountain pen_
on students -- as opposed, let's say to a 'ballpoint pen' or something
similar -- is perhaps a bit extreme, for the reasons you suggested,
but I definitly would require students to work out at least one
problem in 'long-hand' and _circle their answer_ and explain how they
arrived at that answer. The rest of the test could be done on computer
for all I care as long as they knew what they were doing.

For a test once in high school, Paul said take a couple pieces of
paper, compute (in your head, not on computer!) some mathematical
formula of (number). That's your test, pass your papers forward. Either
you know how to do it or you don't know. Count on your fingers and
toes if you wish, but I want a detailed explanation of how you arrived
at your answer.

Well, try that approach in most high schools these days, and see how
many children can pass the test. PAT]

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