Almost anybody can master copperplate if you beat him enough. But nowadays teachers don’t punish the way they used to. We have a gentler arrangement. Bad handwriting is a part of it.
What works in the classroom?
F or most of Western history, we have written with feathers and pointed sticks. It wasn’t easy. Some shapes are difficult to make with these things, and had to be left out. Now we’ve got pens that can do anything.
Icelandic handwriting model, circa 1896
Average pupils a hundred years ago mastered handwriting that puts our own generation to shame. How was this possible?
Why did penmanship go down the drain? Various enemies of civilized life have been blamed. (The ballpoint pen, television violence, refined carbohydrates; name your culprit.) I have a suggestion of my own, and that is humanity. Bad handwriting is a price we pay for civilized life.