Arm & shoulder muscles for writing

I wrote in relation to the video on Shaeffer pens & history of writing:

One thing I noticed in the film is that while it’s very clear all the ortho-alphabet writers were using finger writing, it appeared that the shorthand writer was not using her fingers at all — definitely using her shoulder muscles.

Does anybody use their shoulder muscles to write? I can’t remember whether the author of the “Penmanship” exercises article wrote specifically about finger drawing or using the whole arm, but I believe that is what Dr Gregg was talking about when he said one had to *write* Gregg rather than *draw* it.

Who uses just fingers to write (either long or shorthand)? Who uses whole arm?

Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences?

(by sidhetaba for everyone)

 

8 comments Add yours
  1. Cricket's was first reply

    cricketb wrote on Jan 6
    My son had occupational therapy for handwriting. Most teachers here don't learn how to teach it, they just start with "a" and say what the strokes are. Some pay attention to posture.That works for many kids, but not all.

    The therapist emphasized the entire arm. Every new stroke, letter, groups of letters and word was first written on a whiteboard on the wall, about a foot high, then in a tray with the tip of his finger, about 6 inches high, then with a pencil about an inch high, then with a pencil at his preferred size. The motions were broken down, and learned by the bigger muscles first.

    Gregg works with flow, not with tiny, precise marks. Larger muscles are better for that.

  2. Two references from Mr. Gregg:

    In "Gregg Handwriting", by Mr. Gregg and Mary Louise Champion, copyright 1931:

    p. 9: "While the mental picture controls the making of the characters at first, the execution afterwards is transferred to the muscles of the writing arm and hand.

    p. 19: "…the arm, hand, and fingers are to get acquainted with each other and with the pen and the book as they work together to gain facility in producing the form upon which longhand writing is mainly based–the left-motion oval.

    Until all parts of this human writing machine adjust themselves together comfortably and quickly, no attention should be given to the artistry to form the oval. Concentrate, therefore, on securing a freedom of writing movement–a rapid, comfortable swing of the pen across the paper. Correct posture means good health, and god health means happiness, ambition, and accomplishment."

    There are many instructions in this book to rest on the forearm muscles, and to roll on the forearm muscles, as well as quite a few posture and relaxation exercises.

    Here are J. J. Bailey's instruction on handwriting:

    On movement, which nicely addresses the question of whole arm and fingers, in his lovely hand, with a bit of info on him:

    http://www.zanerian.com/Bailey.html

    The series from which that page was taken:

    http://www.iampeth.com/lessons/practical_penmanship/JJ_Bailey/j.j._bailey_index.html

    In the early 60s, I was taught that the posture of the entire body and its parts, and breathing, all contribute to writing well. We drew letters in the air, using our whole arms, while holding our pencils as if we were actually writing, before writing the letters on paper.

    Mr. E. C. Mills, was very well respected. His book, with examples in his beautiful hand:

    http://www.iampeth.com/books/mills_modern_business_penmanship/Mills_Modern_Business_Penmanship_index.php

    A bit of info on him:

    http://www.zanerian.com/MillsBP.html

  3. replycricketb wrote on Jan 6

    My son had occupational therapy for handwriting. Most teachers here don't learn how to teach it, they just start with "a" and say what the strokes are. Some pay attention to posture.That works for many kids, but not all.

    The therapist emphasized the entire arm. Every new stroke, letter, groups of letters and word was first written on a whiteboard on the wall, about a foot high, then in a tray with the tip of his finger, about 6 inches high, then with a pencil about an inch high, then with a pencil at his preferred size. The motions were broken down, and learned by the bigger muscles first.

    Gregg works with flow, not with tiny, precise marks. Larger muscles are better for that.

  4. I am sad to say that I must agree with cricket here. My daughters are in 5th and 7th grade now and they … well they just cannot write with a pen.

    The teacher they both had for kindergarten didn't even do what you are saying. (I liked this teacher, I just wish she had taught writing differently.) She would hand out a worksheet with a letter and basically let the kids go. She never even gave an order for making the strokes. One of my daughters has the most awkward way of creating letters. And she has resisted cursive entirely, partly I think because the order of strokes she makes is completely incompatible.

    I often wonder why they teach cursive anymore. It seems a waste of time because it isn't done well, and it is only used when specifically required and it isn't required past the actual lessons introducing it.

    When I have ask teachers and others why they don't teach it differently or require it, they all respond with something like "well, I'd really prefer they just typed." … But they don't teach typing either and just assume the kids will figure it out.

    Teaching physical skills like writing and typing (even running and jumping, ever watch a coach "coach" lately?) have passed out of our education system. The only place I've seen it is in music. My daughter plays cello, and the teacher actually has worked with her on technique. No way!

  5. Our school sometimes teaches typing. They encourage the kids to go to an online typing tutor (DanceMat Typing — actually pretty good) during their computer time. The most popular computer in our house has an ergonomic keyboard, and many of the letters are worn off, so my kids are learning.

    Running and jumping is still in the early years. Yes, the kindergarten teachers learned how to teach kids to do that. My son's totally uninterested in anything physical, and individual coaching during class would turn him right off. He loves to swim and sets his own goals, but refuses to take lessons or even the "swim alone test" at the pool.

    Another thing Gregg meant by "write" rather than "draw" is you think about the entire outline as one concept. Move the pen easily, rather than carefully move it, bit by bit, to make a perfect shape. When I started pushing my speed, there was a speed where my penmanship improved.

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