Teaching shorthand has been my great passion all my life. Since I retired, I’ve been teaching it on our local high-school’s community education program, off and on, for more than ten years. It has been an ongoing program; however, every time they could not get a sufficient number of students to sign up, they had to cancel the class, which was not infrequent. Now and then, however, they let me teach two students. Occasionally, only one.
At the request of the School District, I submitted for each term my “class description,” which they posted on line as well as in their program catalog. My promo words were:
< We live in a spectacularly advanced high-tech electronics age. Every aspect of this incredible technology benefits our daily lives. But don’t you feel, now and then, that you are somewhat controlled by this same technology? Rather than relying mindlessly on everything you can get from your iPhone apps, how about learning (or re-learning) Gregg Shorthand, so you could write at the speed of 100 words per minute. All you need is a pen and a notebook, and you can learn the shorthand signs. The process of learning this interesting skill is
also an excellent opportunity to exercise your brain. >
Now, since mid-2018, I’ve been exchanging e-mails with a wonderful woman stenographer from Melbourne, Australia; a well-established shorthand instructor in that country, and a true shorthand aficionado. In 2021, she published a book, “With Pencils Poised – A History of Shorthand in Australia – Barnes and Noble.”
In the course of our e-mail exchange starting in 2018, at one point, she called my attention to a medical journal article, appearing in Germany, entitled, “Stenografie Contra Demenz, (Combatting Dementia Through Shorthand).” I then decided to add, at the end of my promo words (= class description) for my School District’s Gregg shorthand class, that German article’s conclusive statement →
“It has been established in medical fields in Europe that shorthand may prevent, or at least delay progress of, dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
In early 2020, just as our coronavirus was starting to cast a dark shadow over us all, socially and individually, I started thinking about approaching certain senior residential homes in our area with my proposal to teach Gregg shorthand to their residents. Too late: they were off-limits, due to COVID-19.
I used to lament the general lack of interest in my Gregg shorthand class to my friends here in the U.S. and also in Tokyo.
Following are the comments I received from them:
(1) “The shorthand class may be in high demand when all the high-tech equipment fails! I wonder about our dependency on all this stuff.” – From my American friend.
(2) “No matter how IT may advance, this kind of technology, similar to languages, will never become obsolete.” – from my friend in Tokyo, a high-school alumnus.
(3) “Embracing technology is fine, but it’s important not to forget how the world once was.” – from our businessman son.
(4) “Is it (shorthand) really a dying technology, I wonder? Phonograph records (gramophone records) are currently being looked at, in a more positive light, by people who are getting tired of the CD’s and YouTube. Some people are also getting tired of digital cameras and the i-Phone photo taking. There are people who want to go back to the good, old Single-lens or the twin-lens reflex cameras, using actual film.” – my high-school alumnus in Tokyo.
What would be the best strategy to acquire serious steno students? Is there any venue where I can hope to assemble a meaningful number of Gregg shorthand students?