We are robbing today’s youth of the tools for thinking!

Posted Tuesday April 29, 2014 by Ian Spence

I wrote it, and now I am thinking it.

I wrote it, and now I am thinking it.

Thinking is a complex mystery. No-one knows how thinking happens, or how it can be improved. Somehow we pull experiences from our memories,  and then string together hunches and connections, and if we are to share them, we choose vocabulary that helps us communicate.  Traditionally in school, we learned to improve our thinking by writing down our thoughts, then edited and changed our words until they made sense to us.  But this was in a generation in which we learned to write cursive, or to type. Writing or typing became mindless, so we could concentrate on crafting our sentences, which in turn clarified our thoughts.

Can we think deep thoughts without molding/reworking/shaping them on paper?  I do not think so, nor have I seen any study that can make the claim that well-shaped thinking can occur without writing and rewriting!

Today’s youth are not being taught handwriting, and they are not taught touch-typing.  They are given time to play on some of the commercial keyboarding programs, but it is rare that a teacher checks to see if they are using the proper fingering – so they learn to hunt and peck, and when they are asked to write a homework assignment, its completion is a chore, partly because they are inefficient in finding the keys. Spelling is another issue that is not addressed, so the students are spending energy to both think of the spelling of  the words, and key hunting.

We need a scientific study that compares two groups of students; those who have learned touch-typing and applied it to word processing, and those who have not.  The outcome to measure is their ability to think and develop thoughts, plans, and conclusions.  In the meantime, if you want to help your child be a leader, have him learn touch-typing!