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Serious Handwriting issues with a GCSE student

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by suzette, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone can help. I've just picked up a Year 10 student and his handwriting is hard to read. This is not just a teenagers scrawl, but it is light, no finger spaces and generally can't be read at all. He has some fantastic ideas, but when it comes to writing them down, his handwriting is letting him down. His teachers at school are no longer giving him help to alleviate this either. I have suggested that he do the following to try and help with this.
    - When writing, press hard on the pen and paper when writing, so that it is clearer. (At the moment it is a bit like a ghost is writing because it is so light on the page).
    - Invest in a handwriting pen; or a roller pen (ideally with a grip facility). They usually write darker than a biro.
    - Try to not write cursive. It is slightly easier to read when it's not. Also it can make it clearer to see your finger spaces.
    - Practice writing everyday. He mostly types things on the PC, so I've suggested that even if he writes a few paras (copying from a book or something), it might help.

    I know that in GCSE exams they don't look at handwriting, but he's said that at school they've said his writing currently can't be understood so the meaning of the text is lost. I'm inclined to agree. So therefore it's a bit of a worry. Has anyone got anymore useful ideas can give him?
     
  2. jcstev

    jcstev New commenter

    If his writing actually cannot be read the school should be carrying out formal assessments with the intention of getting permission for exam access arrangements (scribe, use a laptop). They should really have begun this in Y9, got it on place early in Y10, and then ensured that these arrangements were in place in lessons (access arrangements should reflect "normal way of working"). This is something the parents can pursue with the school.

    Or, it's not that bad and he's exaggerated "what the school said"
     
  3. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    No, I don't think he's exaggerated what the school have said. His writing is really bad.
     
  4. jcstev

    jcstev New commenter

    In which case - advise the parents to ask the school about access arrangements, as using a laptop or a scribe is not likely to be successful than trying to improve handwriting this late on.
     
    never_expect_anything likes this.
  5. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Have you tried an angle writing board? Maybe leaving a line between each line.
    Try bigger/smaller lined paper? Maybe try getting him to slow down when he is writing. Can he read his own writing?
    Are there some letters that are harder to read than others? I teach Maths I have one student and his 5 and 3 look the same. I make him go back over them until they are clear. You could try posting on the SEN page or primary page.
     
  6. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Thanks for that, but he's in year 10 at secondary school so I don't think he's going to use an angle writing board and the other things. He can't at times read his own writing and I've told him about finger spaces, slowing down and different pens but to no avail. I will try and post on the SEN/secondary page to see what happens.
     
  7. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Oh I’ve met this before. Needs a new font. The Germans teach everyone a new font at Year 7. Get him a handwriting book and tell him he’s learning a new font. Letter formation and everything. Add some calligraphy for side fun.

    and also, if he has dysgraphia then nothing is going to work. He needs to take the exams on a laptop.

    My starting point is pen grip. Can you describe it? If it’s bad...Make him write with a handwriting pen that has curved bits for the fingers.

    But year 10 isn’t too late. A handwriting book, some calligraphy workouts and he will then be remedied if he doesn’t have dysgraphia. To be honest, some of this lies with the English teachers. I train all of my English teachers to fix handwriting.
     
  8. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    How much of an issue does he think it is? Is he worried about it? Is he willing to do homework? If he is a bit oblivious to it then everytime he writes a sentence may be you could make him copy it out until it is a passable level. In the hopes that he gets bored of this so starts to try harder the first time so he doesn't have to copy it out again. Praise him when you can see he is trying. If you are honest with him and say if he can't read what he has written, then he may as well have not written anything. What do his parents think? If you speak to them and say that you can't really help him unless his handwriting improves/he is allowed to type his answers. Then be honest about the amount of effort you expect.
     
  9. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    I have encountered pupils where very faint or very tiny handwriting is a manifestation of MH/self esteem issues. You can’t criticise their work if you can’t read it.
    As said above - word processing his work is the way forward if it’s a physical/neurological problem with dysgraphia or dyspraxia.
     
  10. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    No, no and no. It's not dyspraxia or anything like that, I think he generally doesn't care about it. He's more of a maths person, rather than an English one and generally because doesn't have to write much in maths, he's happy about that.
     
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    If he won’t make the effort to write nicely it’s because there is no intrinsic motivation to do so. That’s why we do the calligraphy. They start to desire to write nicely because they are exploring the art of the pen strokes.
     
  12. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    If he doesn't care, then there is nothing you can do. All the strategies in the world won't help if he has no desire to improve his handwriting. Maybe he needs to fail his GCSEs. Have you done a mock paper with him? I find that sometimes the best motivation is seeing a paper come back with a U for students to realise it is serious.
     
  13. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I can't even read when he writes his name! But to be quite honest I'm going to bin him as he's not producing homework, he's disengaged and generally seems to come to tutoring under duress.
     
    bramblesarah likes this.
  14. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    He hasn't got anything like dysgraphia and as he's in year 10 in secondary school, a handwriting book would be a bit too babyish for him because he's 14. I have suggested a handwriting pen,but he's not interested. Generally he's a bit lazy and no, it isn't to do with the handwriting, it's more to do with the fact that he doesn't want to be tutored, but his parents feel he needs it.
     
  15. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Best to drop him then. He is not going to benefit if he doesn't want a tutor and it will not be nice for you trying to tutor him.
     
  16. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I got quite a few year 10s onto handwriting books and calligraphy. You will be surprised at how well they take to it.
     
  17. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Yeah. Already done!
     
  18. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I'm afraid this bloke is too worried about his street cred!! So he would definitely not do it. Anyhow, I've metaphorically given him the boot as he felt tutoring was well beneath him.
     
  19. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Sometimes life's tapestry weaves a longer route for some than others. One day he will grow up.
     
    suzette likes this.

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