On January 23rd, Handwriting Day is celebrated around the world. We have talked to the Head of the Department of Clinical Psychology of the SUSU School of Medical Biology Alena Astaeva, as well as with a linguist and senior lecturer at the Department of the Russian Language and Literature of the SUSU Institute of Media, Social Sciences and Humanities Alena Tezina, and the Head of the Department of Technology and Design of the SUSU Institute of Sport, Tourism and Service Tatiana Vekovtseva to discuss why it is important and necessary to write with a pen on paper, what the handwriting development trends are, and what tasks this type of writing solves in the life of human beings.
– In your opinion, could keyboard and gadget screen fully replace pen and paper?
“Definitely not. In any case, writing by hand and typing are complicated processes in terms of the neural connections arrangements in brain structures. But according to neuropsychology, with regards to evolution, the process of writing by hand is more complicated as it involves a big number of crossfunctional connections. Roughly put, brain does a parallel analysis and synthesis of graphical images and motor automatisms. At the same time this process must be cognitive and random, that is, you must not only write something, but write it in a proper (without reversions or mirror-like images) and beautiful way. Written narrative must be correct in terms of spelling and syntax! And these processes also depend on the ontogenesis of the phonetics-and-phonematics synthesis and analysis of the information that enters the temporal regions of the brain, what forms the phonemic hearing (recognizing the sounds of native speech and further synthesis of the sounds with the images of graphemes and letters),” explained Alena Astaeva. “Writing by hand stimulates and forms or reconstructs the connections between brain regions, which participate in simultaneous memorizing of the auditory, visual and motor images. It also stimulates the regions that ensure the arbitrary regulation of mental activity in general, what improves the thinking potential and develops speech as well.”
– According to your observations, does the educational process mostly involve writing by hand, or do technologies overpower it after all?
“If we talk about preschool education or primary school, then there is almost no alternative to writing by hand. First of all, it develops the brain and keeps it fit. Secondly, schools are oriented at forming classical basic skills, which a literate person must have, including writing by hand, obviously. School pupils do their written in-class and home work by writing it by hand. Final examinations are also traditionally taken in written form (even tests are done writing them by hand),” shared Alena Tezina. “However, in universities writing by hand is gradually yielding its positions to typing in the educational process. Students file more and more written homework (especially in the humanities) in the form of typed text or in digital form altogether. At lectures many students use tablets and laptops to take notes. This is more convenient both for students and teachers. Typed text is much easier to edit, transform, copy, store and check. In addition, many teachers specifically ask their students to opt for this form of completing written assignments, thus developing the students' culture of executing research and official texts in written form."
– In terms of design, is writing by hand a mechanical type of work, or does it also solve creative tasks?
"Writing by hand solves a great number of creative tasks: creative composition, calligraphic writing of letters, and solving the decoration and ornamentation tasks as applied to text. And it's simply beautiful after all!
Manual drawing tools are used to create pictures, sketches, paintings and other graphical works. They help us convey our imagination, emotions and impressions through pictures or paintings.
Such types of writing by hand as calligraphy and lettering are very popular today. There many online and offline courses available. Write and draw, and you’ll always be young at heart, and your brain will stay young as well!" commented Tatiana Vekovtseva.