Thursday, 17 September 2009

Love of the Land: Physical Dexterity

Dexterity Physical

penmanship, touch typing, typewriter,sms, texting, technology : Dry Bones cartoon.

When I was a schoolboy in the "old days" in America I, like the kid in panel one of today's cartoon, was forced to learn "penmanship". And what we dutifully practised was called the "Palmer Method".

"In America, the idea of a prescribed form of handwriting was championed by Austin Palmer over a century ago. While working for the Iowa Railroad Land Company in the 1880s, he observed that clerks doing ornamental penmanship "flourished all capitals with a free-arm swing, with the arm completely off the desk." They used an entirely different movement to write normally. "The most swift and tireless penmen appeared to keep the arm on the desk at all times and formed their letters with little or no motion of the fingers — a free and tireless style of penmanship." Palmer realized that his "muscular movement writing" was something that could be taught and that advertising his "system" could help him to change the world — that everyone's handwriting could be efficiently executed while basically looking the same. There need not be confusion in the world because of a messy scrawl! The Palmer Method of Business Writing sold one million copies in 1912. By 1927, the year that Palmer died, 27 million Americans had learned the Palmer Method." -more

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I got a fancy new phone today. It's like the one that the kid in the last panel is using ...and I haven't written a "proper" capital Q (see the chart above) in thirty years! I wonder what Miss Batzel (my first grade teacher at P.S. 67 in Brooklyn) would say.

Love of the Land: Physical Dexterity

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