Pupils bullied over bad handwriting, expert warns


This is an edited version of an article in the 23 October edition of TES. To read the full article, subscribe to TES

Children are being bullied online for having bad handwriting, an expert has warned.

Melanie Harwood, who provides writing coaching in schools, told attendees at a round-table discussion about handwriting in London that children were taking photographs of their classmates’ schoolwork, and then tweeting it or posting it on Facebook. Other classmates then commented on the quality of the writing.

“They say, ‘They’re not very bright, because their handwriting isn’t very good’,” Ms Harwood said. “Good God. It’s horrific. You can’t have that.”

A Twitter search for the phrase “bad handwriting” brings up examples such as this:

Ur the best @Flanny44!! Thank u and love u:) too bad ur handwriting is like a first graders lol pic.twitter.com/Wt4KMLWgBB

— Meggie Flanigan (@meggiemflanigan) October 1, 2015

And this:

@MegWearsHats Maaate, maaaaaaaate. Heheh. pic.twitter.com/lkmDChaXge

— Alex Spooksmith (@Stelios78910) September 28, 2015

Ms Harwood was among a number of teachers and handwriting experts who met in central London to discuss whether or not handwriting lessons were necessary in the digital age.

She called for every school to have a coherent handwriting strategy, with all teachers using the same method. This was echoed by Charlotte Clowes, deputy headteacher at St Alban’s Catholic Primary School in Cheshire.

“It would be nice to have a consistent approach, through every teacher,” Ms Clowes said. “An approach that we support teachers in using. Anything works best when it’s consistent from class to class.”

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