Page 5 - Martin Howard Folio
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In 1976, Barbara Nichol, a teacher at New- market S tate H igh School i n Queensland, took the initiative to conduct research into methods of improving handwriting skills for high school students. In 1978, as a result of this work, she was awarded a Department of Education Professional Development Grant to study with Tom Gourdie in Scotland and Reginald Phillips in Oxford, England.
The best system for constructing the letters of the alphabet depends upon parallel down-strokes formed by following the 10 degree slope lines provided.
The slope here is 10 degrees forward of the vertical. A different slope is acceptable as long as all downstrokes are parallel. In order to get this 7 degree slope, the palm may need to be rolled down to face the page and the wrist tucked in rather than curved outwards. Point the pen cap towards the body.
Cursive forms of writing can slope very far forward of the vertical. To create this effect the pen clip end must be pointed to the centre of the chest–an uncomfortable posture if your desk is too high. Another option is to tilt the top corner of the page upwards, rest your forearm on the desk and keep it parallel to the sides of the paper.
The pen is best presented from below the Dotted Line not hooked around the Red Line. If the right hand is hooked above the writing lines, the slope of the downstroke will be more vertical. Left handers who hook their hand above the writing line, will often produce a pleasing forward slope.
In summary: pen presentation determines the slope of writing.
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By Barbara Nichol Handwriting Specialist & Churchill Fellow
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Let inspBirIaGtio.n reign
Barbara Nichol at Penultimate – Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
In 1980, this enthusiastic young teacher was awarded a Churchill Fellowship. On her return from the UK, Barbara Nichol began a movement to reform the teaching of handwriting in Primary Schools.
In 1981, Barbara was appointed to trial her methods of teaching handwriting in Queensland primary schools. In the same year she became a consultant to the Victorian & New South Wales education departments. Barbara Nichol has made a study of the history of writing. Now one of the country’s well known calligra- phers she has a knowledge of all forms of writing and is also an expert witness for
students and teachers through workshops and tutorials. She can be contacted
Page 45
Correct Right-handed pen hold with index finger extended for easy flexion
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