How does someone edit his handwriting?

Learn to write: What handwriting does in the brain

"Wiener Zeitung": Finland wants to remove Latin script from the curriculum. What is lost with that?

Christian Marquardt: Handwriting is a cultural asset with a long tradition. It also plays a role in reading and writing. Writing by hand promotes the recall of the written content and increases the imagination of what one is writing about. Thus, the creative output is also higher: Writing on paper activates the brain more holistically than typing on a mobile phone, tablet or PC.

To person

Christian Marquardt

is a handwriting expert and researches the motor basics of writing. He received his doctorate from the Faculty of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich on the subject of kinematic motion analysis. Since 1990 he has been a member of the clinical neuropsychology development group at the Munich-Bogenhausen Clinic. Together with his team, he developed the computer program CSWin, which analyzes motor skills while writing. In 2003 he founded the company "Science and Motion" for motion analysis in sports. Marquardt is a scientific advisor at the Heroldsberg Writing Motor Institute for teacher training.

However, you have to define the writing exactly: handwriting and original script (this means block letters and Latin script, note) are not the same. First a child learns block letters and thus the construct. When he has mastered this, he learns the Latin spelling, which is shapely, slightly artificial and stylized for aesthetic reasons. This Latin initial font is the starting point for individual handwriting - a font that is more economical in terms of movement. Everyone will simplify letters, change direction or put them down more often: All styles are accepted as long as the writing is legible and can be written quickly.

What does learning to use cursive do for motor skills?

Motor learning begins when you have to write fast - it throws overboard anything that hinders speed. If a dictation sets a pace that the child cannot keep, they have to find solutions. Finland only wants to teach block letters in the future and everyone should write as they want afterwards. However, it is questionable whether a normal cursive script can be developed from block letters. I do not believe it.

What happens in the brain when you write a text by hand?

There are comparative studies between students who type in the lecture and those who take notes in the lecture. These show that the information is better anchored in the brain of the writers, while the typists were less able to remember the presentation afterwards. Thus, writers use many modalities in the brain. It can be assumed that the entire cognitive development of children is fertilized more by writing than by typing, because more neighboring functions - imagination, creativity, spelling, memory - are stimulated. The effects of learning to type but not to write has not yet been empirically tested - but I consider such an experiment to be relatively dangerous.

Multitasking often appears as the last resort for the communicative requirements of the digital performance society. Does that harm the intelligence?

No, digital media don't make you stupid per se. It only becomes difficult if you transfer your entire everyday life to them with all your senses: It's just something different, whether I'm watching a film about Africa or whether I'm there and breathe the air. So if everything is reduced to information via digital media, from which perception and empathy are extracted, this has an impact on our lives. We have to take what makes people seriously, instead of letting digital media shape everyday life to such an extent that we as humans step back in importance and only enter information.

Man invented writing. Is renouncing your own handwriting the renouncement of a form of self-expression?

Since we can fill our writing with feeling, the writing is anchored in our person and has personal meaning. As a result, a handwritten essay may be more creative than a typed one because it captures the thought process more holistically. When writing, many areas of the brain are activated at the same time - so handwriting is embedded in brain activity differently than typing content.

But you can also type emotionally - for example when you're angry and pounding on a keyboard.

But that doesn't change the screen font. However, if your handwriting makes a more expressive image than usual, then it's a bit like they're talking excitedly. One should not underestimate this psychological-social function.

Many teenagers enjoy experimenting with typefaces. Are there actually people who don't have this need?

In learning to write with their motor skills, children and young people have to try out a lot for their fitness. Teenagers who do not experiment with typefaces have a problem: the writing does not manifest itself for them and the process of learning to write is disrupted. In Germany, 30 percent of boys and 10 to 12 percent of girls now have problems acquiring writing skills: Writing lessons are not really successful with them.

That seems like a lot. Why do the boys do even worse than the girls?

If you are not interested in writing and not experimenting, it is difficult to learn it. Girls are generally more interested in this form of communication. Boys are less interested and are more willing to work on the PC.