Writing proficiency is a critical requirement in a child’s education because it determines academic success and communication in life. Writing proficiency is one of the problems that the education system has been facing because many high school graduates are unable to meet writing proficiency needed by colleges and potential employers.
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Writing proficiency consists of both writing and reading skills, which is essential in enhancing literacy levels of students. Given the significant difference in handwriting proficiency among students, it has become evident that several factors are responsible for effective development of appropriate handwriting.
Rosenblum, Parush, and Weiss (2002) concluded that, process of developing handwriting is very complex as it entails periodic motions of the hand. It is a complex interaction of cognitive, perceptual, and sensory-motor elements as children grow and develop.
Due to the complexity of interactions involved, a significant number of children have been unable to develop appropriate handwriting proficiency, hence, affecting their literacy and academic performance.
In evaluation of poor handwriting proficiency among students, most educational researchers have examined physical factors that affect appropriate development. Portela (2007) observed that, poor handwriting is a form of disability that affects effective coordination in children.
If the perception that poor handwriting is a developmental disability, it may mean that some children have trouble in writing while others do not.
However, the observation does not explain why a discrepancy in handwriting development exists among students who do not have learning disability. Due to the inconsistency of handwriting proficiency among students, this could mean that other factors influence handwriting ability of students.
Current literature has delved into physical attributes of writing that involve factors such as sitting posture and pencil grip, which determine the development of a child’s handwriting proficiency. Selin (2003) discovered that, pencil grip significantly determines eligibility of handwriting and speed of writing.
Thus, children require skills essential in enhancing them to hold a pencil using various styles that promote quality handwriting skills. In addition to pencil grip, sitting posture affects development of handwriting because it influences coordination of sensory-motor and cognitive functions.
Lam, Au, Leung, and Li-Tsang (2011) added that, due to difference in visual and motor skills, accuracy and speed are two factors that differentiate handwriting proficiency of dyslexia and normal children.
Thus, educational researchers, who focus on physical attributes of students, assume that handwriting proficiency largely depend on coordination of motor and cognitive functions.
Although physical attributes significantly determine proficiency of handwriting among children, they do not account for the disparity of handwriting proficiency among students. Therefore, apart from physical attributes, the social influences the development of handwriting proficiency among children.
Rosenblum, Parush, and Weiss (2002) have noted that social relationships and emotions influence development of handwriting among children. Thus, social environment coupled with teaching experiences determine development of handwriting proficiency among students.
Since social environment influence the development of handwriting proficiency among children, this research seeks to establish how negative criticism affects writing proficiency. Brina, Niels, Levi, and Hulstijn (2009) have discovered that, handwriting proficiency shows whether a student is developing normally or abnormally.
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Given that development is subject to the social environment, the research indicates that criticism is a social factor that has a considerable effect in development of handwriting proficiency.
Since two types of criticism exist in a social environment, negative and positive, the research will focus on the effects of negative criticism on development of appropriate handwriting proficiency among children.
Although negative criticism discourages children from improving their handwriting proficiency, its impact depends on the source of the criticism: that is from either siblings or no-related children.
Therefore, objective of the research is to examine the effect of negative criticism by siblings and nonrelated children on development of appropriate handwriting proficiency among seven-year-old subjects.
The research will consist of 20 subjects aged seven years, 10 males and 10 females. The subjects will fall into two groups each having 10 subjects, 5 male and 5 female subjects. The researchers will subject one group to negative criticism from siblings, and another group to negative criticism from nonrelated children.
During the process of conducting study, researchers will measure development of handwriting under the influence of negative criticism using Children’s Handwriting Evaluation Scale (CHES).
Phelps, Stempel, and Speck (1985) assert that, CHES is a reliable, effective, and efficient tool of measuring development of handwriting. Hence, the research will use CHES as the main tool of measuring development of handwriting among the subjects.
The main hypothesis of the research is that, children who receive negative criticism from nonrelated children are more likely to develop appropriate handwriting proficiency as compared to children who receive negative criticism from their siblings.
The research will examine how negative criticism from both siblings and nonrelated children influence the development of appropriate handwriting proficiency in a number of subjects.
The research also hypothesizes that, the source of negative criticism has a different impact on development of appropriate handwriting proficiency in children in that, negative criticism from siblings is not the same as negative criticism from nonrelated children.
Therefore, the research assumes that negative criticism and relationships are social factors that influence the development of appropriate handwriting proficiency among seven-year-old children.
Brina, C., Niels, R., Levi, G., & Hulstijn, A. (2008). Dynamic Time Warping: A New Method in the Study of Poor Handwriting. Human Movement Science, 27(2), 242-255. doi: 10:1016/j.humov.2008.02.01
Lam, S., Au, R., Leung, H., & Li-Tsang, C. (2011). Chinese Handwriting Performance of Primary School Children with Dyslexia. Research in Development Disabilities, 32(5), 1745-1756. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2011.03.001
Phelps, J., Stempel, L., & Speck, G. (1985). The Children’s Handwriting Scale: A New Diagnostic Tool. Journal of Educational Research, 79(1), 46-50.
Portela, N. (2007). An Assessment of the Motor Ability of Learners in the Foundation Phase of Primary School Education. Human Movement Science, 1-114.
Rosenblum, S., Parush, S., & Weiss, P. (2002). Temporal Measures of Poor and Proficient Handwriters. Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Graphonomics Society, 119-125.
Selin, A. (2003). Pencil Grip: A Descriptive Model and Four Empirical Studies. International Reading Association: Abo Akademi University, 1-140.