Handwriting – writing by hand, has shown to improve brain function, at all ages.
It allows children to learn how to communicate with language, improves memory recall for high school and college students, and improves workmanship in adults with creative outlets like handwriting. Writing is an activity that allows the brain to function at a different level, and causes some interesting results.
In school-age children handwriting functions as a connector of fine motor skills and communication. Handwriting movement exercises have shown to have a powerful impact on a developing brain. One of the big reasons for this country’s rising illiteracy rates are due to neglecting intensive penmanship, something that has resulted in many studies. However, studies done in Europe decades ago regarding handwriting’s physiological and psychological link. They found handwriting has a singular capacity to train the brain. Almost 100 years ago Maria Montessori, the famed doctor and educator, knew that the hand is central in developing intellect. Studies have proved Montessori’s theory, yet the United States still continues to eliminate extensive handwriting in its’ school systems.
In the studies conducted they found the biggest asset handwriting gives us is its interactive capacity. Since the left brain controls the right hand, the inherent physiological influence in repetitively manipulating the fingers causes a major shift in dominance from the right brain to the left where the language capacities are located. The entire handwriting process trains the brain and incidentally includes impulse control, which is something that all children can stand to be trained in. The inherent interactive stimulation of handwriting and the resulting movement also encourages students to improve their focus, attention and organization skills.
Research done on the brain also shows that handwriting, handedness and fine motor control are all linked to grammatical and syntactical components of language. Since handwriting is an interactive sensory process, it literally ensures brain development. The students’ hands are training their brains how to communicate using language, putting thoughts into words.
High school and college students notoriously have the laborious job of note-taking. With the technological advances made students are more and more likely to take notes using a laptop, an easy and compact way of staying organized. However, a recent study conducted by Princeton University revealed the true difference between using pen and paper versus using an electronic device.
In the study, 65 college students were asked to watch various lectures and were provided with either pens and paper or a laptop for taking notes. The students were then tested on questions that involved either recalling facts or answering conceptual questions. Both groups answered equally well when the questions regarded recalling facts. But the pens and paper group did significantly better on the conceptual questions. The researchers concluded that the laptop users focused too hard on transcribing while the long hand group just listened for the most important information and then wrote it down. They also reported that the process of writing down the information by hand was a more effective method of note-taking when long-term memory was tested.
As adults, there are few opportunities to write, unless it is a hobby. The practice of writing was left behind at either high school or college, for the most part. But there are significant benefits to gain when writing is a daily activity. A particular foarm of writing called “expressive writing” grants its practitioners a long list of benefits: lowers stress levels, improves immune system function, lowers blood pressure, and improved working memory. A study was done by the San Francisco “State psychology department on 400 colleagues and employees. Those who had a creative outlet, like expressive writing, were found to be more helpful, creative, relaxed and in control when at work.
The results showed that it may benefit employers and organizations to encourage employees to consider creative outlets. For example, Google has a 20% rule, which means it allows employees to spend 20%of company time on side projects they are passionate about. Google found huge boosts for both the company and employees.
Adults, teens, and children can all benefit from writing. Research has clearly shown the multiple benefits writing provides people of all ages. Handwriting allows students to build communication and fine motor skills simultaneously. Writing long-hand is the most effective method for college students to retain information. Adults lower stress levels and boost their job performance when they participate in creative activities like writing. There are only benefits when you write, SO KEEP WRITING.