28 march 2014
The Schreibmotorik Institut gives a Lecture at didacta – Trade Fair for Education and Training: “Learning How to Write – It's all About Motor Skills.”
Learning how to write is first of all learning how to move the pen: If the motor skills are fine, the rest is easy. That's what a broad audience of experts learned from a joint lecture held by Daniela Westner, director of the Schreibmotorik Institut and Corinna Weis, research assistant at the Lehrstuhl Fachdidaktik Deutsch Primarstufe (chair of teaching methodology German for primary education) at Universität des Saarlandes (Saarland University) at didacta, the biggest trade fair for education and training in Europe.
This year's most important trade fair for education and training in Europe, which took place in Stuttgart attracted about 90.000 visitors. Teachers, educators, lecturers, instructors, trainers and educational staff informed themselves at fair stands and took advantage of the supporting programme with lectures, seminars, forums and special events.
The Iceberg Model – the Writing Is Only the Result, the Tip
Daniela Westner, director of the Schreibmotorik Institut and Corinna Weis, research assistant at Saarland University together gave a lecture on the importance of motor skills for the writing process. Their key statement: A good handwriting is the result of a successful learning process, which is based on motor skills. The individual handwriting is the visible result, comparable with the tip of an iceberg. Similar to the iceberg, the sustainable base under the surface is vital. This at first glance invisible foundation is the motor skill, more precisely the ability to control speed, pressure and rhythm and the transfer of these competences.
Daniela Westner explained relevant parameters to acquire good handwriting. Among them are the fundamental movements of writing like circles, strokes and curves as well as posture and the leading of the pen. Moreover she presented the WritingCoach® a software for analysing movement sequences while writing. That's how the foundation becomes visible.
Corinna Weis afterwards presented good writing tasks for elementary instruction.
Teachers wish for Help in encouraging Motor Skills
The Schreibmotorik Institut was present at STABILO´s fair stand. It informed about its empirical findings and methods and the transfer of those to pedagogical everyday life. To illustrate this, they presented two pedagogical products of the writing instrument manufacturer STABILO: Lettering Pioneer's Box and Writing Explorer's Box. The teachers were very interested in the offered information. The topic „graphomotor skills“ is highly relevant. Experience shows that boys have more problems than girls. It's also harder to motivate boys to write. Many educators wish for advice on how to encourage motor skills.
Lettering Pioneer's Box: Exercises for Pre-schoolers
Children preferably acquire the essentials for learning how to write successfully later on at a preschool age. The Lettering Pioneer's Box offers a variety of exercises to promote an early interest in writing and script. Children should develop good and efficient motor skills right from the start, so that writing stays fun.
Writing Explorer's Box: Exercises for Primary School Pupils
The aim of the Writing Explorer's Box. is to keep the fun while writing alive. Playful but yet demanding teaching materials help primary school teachers and pupils in the first two years to facilitate the transition to automatic writing. Motor elements like the extension and variation of the motion spectrum, varied exercises and sufficient motion experiences while writing are the focal point of the Writing Explorer's Box.. The fundamental scientific belief is that successful motoric learning isn't based on automating a predefined exterior form but on researching and experiencing individual solution approaches. Therefore, it is essential to nurture children's passion to write and to let them become little writing explorers. For example, children playfully practice their motor skills on a paper race track. A scientific study in Vienna showed that a graphomotor training only once a week already enhances the results clearly.
This new motor based method was developed by Dr. Christian Marquardt and Karl Söhl, Scientific Advisors at the Schreibmotorik Institut. They had scientific support from Prof. Dr. Julia Knopf's chair of teaching methodology German at Saarland University.