Saturday, November 10, 2007

Left or Right

I am right handed. There is no doubt about this. I write with my right hand, I bat right handed, and I throw right handed. The only thing I have ever done exclusively with my left hand is play my French horn. Even with this unquestioned dominance learning to write in cursive legibly was one of the more difficult tasks of my childhood.

I am old enough that handwriting was a required part of the elementary curriculum. The handwriting curriculum of choice in my elementary school was the Palmer Method. About 15 minutes of each school day was spent doing handwriting exercises. The exercise I remember most clearly was writing loops like you would use to make Os. Line after line of loops.

Despite the best efforts of my teachers I had hideous handwriting. My writing was small and pinched to the point where it was illegible. My fourth grade teacher took this on as a challenge. She was going to improve my handwriting if it killed her, or me. Instead of the usual 15 minutes of handwriting, I was assigned to do 30. Slowly but surely this extra time began to have an impact. My handwriting slowly but surely was approaching legibility.

When your handwriting was deemed acceptable you were presented with a certificate that announced to one and all your membership in the "Golden Pen Club". I don't remember when this became the carrot of my efforts, but at some point it became a real possibility that I would attain membership. When I finally achieved the necessary skill and received my certificate I was very proud. I'm pretty sure my parents still have it.

When I was in sixth grade another handwriting challenge entered my life. One of my classmates was doing a research project on handedness with her classmates as her guinea pigs. Each night for about a month we were required to write 25 lines or so of text with our non-dominant hand. The only restriction was that we could not do our regular homework with our non-dominant hand - to save our teacher's sanity I'm sure. I don't remember how much improvement I made in writing with my left hand during this time.

I still do most everything with my right hand, but if pressed I can write clearly enough with my left hand to be understood. It won't get me another "Golden Pen Club" certificate but it will get me through in a pinch.

You can find more Sunday Scribblings here.

1 comment:

Kathe said...

I remember doing those O's too! Third grade. Mrs. Short.

And belated Happy Birthday, Chelle. :^)