Educator Opinion
Educator Opinion
Results From the Educator Survey

Copyright © Nelson, R.H., Teulings, H.L. (2002).
Handwriting instruction questionnaire among primary school educators in USA.
(Update 2Apr2004)

Duplication permitted only when mentioning the above reference.

View the questionnaire:

Rand H. Nelson, V.P.
Peterson Directed Handwriting
1-800-541 6328

Hans-Leo Teulings, PhD
NeuroScript, LLC
Tempe AZ

#Responses=48 (25%)

Percentage±Standard Deviation (Standard deviation based on normal approximation of the binomial distribution with p=Percentage/100).
Q1. How would you rate the handwriting skills of the pupils in your class this year compared to pupil skills 10 years ago?

62±7% Children's skills are worse now
17±5% Children's skills are about equal
10±4% Children's skills are better now
8±4% No opinion
2±2% Other


  • Hand writing needs to be part of the daily curiculum. More time needs to be devoted to the improvement of literacy so that children can read and write appropriately.
  • I haven't been in the teaching business for that long and really can't answer this question. If I had to guess I would say that it's the same or maybe better than 10 years ago.
  • This is the worst group I have ever had for writing OR handwriting skills
  • We've recently started using Handwriting without Tears, and have really gone back to focusing on handwriting. Makes a difference.
  • Results were excellent using the program i designed.
  • They are better now because I teach handwriting now. Before I just allowed the children to experience the tools of handwriting and assumed they would develop naturally if they were given the proper environment.
  • Their handwriting is very difficult to read.
  • This must be a modified answer. The children's skills are worse because the staff refuse to *TEACH* penmanship. When we make the staff focos on this basic skill and do their job and teach penmanship, handwriting improves.
  • Perhaps children watch TV more and do more work on the computer. I also think parents spend less time with their children now.
  • Although I am not teaching at this time, the student work that I preview seems to reflect extremely poor handwriting.
  • I am a third year teacher so it is hard for me to accurately answer this question.

Q2. To what extent do you think that the curriculum offers sufficient teaching time for handwriting skill development?

77±6% The curriculum offers insufficient teaching time
10±4% The curriculum offers just enough teaching time
8±4% The curriculum offers more than sufficient teaching time
2±2% Other
2±2% No opinion


  • The curriculum at our school offers as much time as the staff want to take. It really doesn't matter if there is enough time. This is a critical skill, like reading, that is essential for these lower grades. A student cannot advance without it.
  • I make the time, especially since I have several at-risk children in my class this year. I strongly feel that most first graders are not ready to start slant printing in first grade. I have also developed my own vocabulary to help the children form the letters. It has been a success.
  • Teachers are required to teach so many subject areas in such detail, that handwriting is often not taught. Children look at the letter, do their own techniques to for the letter so it looks like what they see.
  • There are many other curriculum requirements that I feel are very important as well and it seems as though more time is spent on them rather than handwriting.
  • Curriculum now days are talored and are not adequately addressing nor correcting deficiencies. Class sizes are larger and many teachers are not trained in a Teacher's Education Program to correct and address some of these deficiencies.
  • Writing skills are not considered a priority.
  • Just checking to make sure the text form operates.
  • If you are referring to the curriculum adopted at my school. The question does not make it clear as to what curriculum you are talking about.
  • There are so many other curriculum details to take care of and I am a calligrapher and still have to squeeze time for hw.
  • Too much time involved with testing and evaluation
  • This refers to my program.
  • Our school is addressing this school wide by making it a priority with a new adoption this year

Q3. To what extent do you think teachers were trained to teach handwriting skills to children?

73±6% Teachers received too little training
21±6% Teachers received sufficient training
6±3% Other


  • Special ed teachers and OTs seldom are prepared with the graphomotor skills and physicality needed to teach handwriting.
  • If you want to know the truth, I don't remember being trained to teach handwriting in college over 30 years ago. I remember learning handwriting in third grade.
  • Most teacher trainings have no instruction on writing.
  • Teachers today receive NO such training.
  • Just checking to make sure the text form operates.
  • I got NO training in college, but my elementary school teachers taught me excellent penmanship. Curriculum training offered little or no training. But handwriting is one of those things that really don't need a professional to teach you. It takes practice and a good guide.
  • In school I was told it didn't matter as long as I was consistent.
  • This is my 30th year of teaching. It seems in the "old days" handwriting was taught more to beginning teachers through district held workshops.
  • Universities are not training teachers as they did in the past. Elementary teachers are not coming out of teacher education programs with little or not skills to teach elementary education. Most programs have been watered to or tailored to meet the need of students , or some just wnat a degree just to have a degree with no academic skills.
  • Teachers never did receive handwriting training in the colleges.
  • I for one have been moved around from grade level to grade level. At the early childhood stage it's hard to know what skills to teach in handwriting.
  • As a master teacher, most student teachers come to me with just their own handwriting skills, so good, some very poor.
  • I received no training at all.
  • Colleges don't spend much time teaching handwriting techniques and schools don't work-shop their staffs in teachig penmanship.
  • Teachers recieve close to NO training other than having teacher's manuals given to them for the program du jour. And MANY teachers have, themselves, very poor penmanship skills.

Q4. Which of the following possible developments would be beneficial to teaching handwriting to children? Multiple answers are possible.

75±6% Offer more training to teach handwriting
62±7% Allow teachers more time to teach handwriting
48±7% Offer more modern materials for handwriting instruction
23±6% Offer more conventional materials for handwriting instruction
8±4% Other
2±2% No opinion


  • Just checking to make sure the text form operates.
  • Knowledge of the importance of actually teaching stroke formation to young children is important. Like me 10 years ago, I just thought it would develop until I stressed it one year and saw amazing differences in their READING abilities.
  • Knowing how stressed teachers are in the district where I worked, another training session would not be what they would want. They are overworked and "meeting-ed" out as it is. perhaps have an outside person go in and teach handwriting to the children.
  • By "more modern materials" I mean in particular materials that combine good teaching-methods with the simplest and fastest style I know.
  • Students come to school already writing. Changing the way they form the letters is often quite difficult.
  • The ability to write the whole alphabet in 40 seconds or less, by the end of first-grade, ensures that children will become successful readers. Once this is understood, a new world will dawn.
  • Integrate handwriting with spelling instruction.
  • with NCLB in place, at third grade we only get 5-10 minutes/day for handwriting. They either get it or they don't.
  • Teachers have a slavish devotion to "loopy cursive", even though most of them don't write it competently. Boys (about half of all students) do not want to learn to write this way and instruction in a method that WOULD benefit them is often completely ignored. I think parents need to be encouraged to help their student choose from one of several possible methods and then the work and practice needs to occur in the home under the supervision of the parent. this is because of our discover that teachers will often refuse to teach an italic program (which enables the student to achieve legibility and success much more quickly) to students who would benefit from it.
  • The culture of school has changed, as has all of society. A modern system of handwriting would be fast to learn and could be taught consistently across districts. The European italic system is such a method.
  • Start in kindergarten with an 'Italic', slanted, oval script. The transition to cursive is so much easier.
  • Most teacher themselves have horrible handwriting, thus, it should be made part of their teacher training that they at least turn in one assignment in their own handwriting and then you can assess the teachers's ability to communicate written documents fuly.

Q5. Would teachers make an effort to use computer-assisted methods in handwriting instruction (for example, Animated Letter Cards via

40±7% They may or may not make effort if required
33±7% Most teachers would make the effort
15±5% Few teachers would make the effort
8±4% Other
4±3% No opinion


  • Teachers are profoundly enamoured of "technological" solutions, even though most of them are ill prepared to implement them. Teachers would dislike it if it were not a loopy cursive method, in my expience. Teachers are both risk averse and disinclined to change.
  • To learn handwriting, the student needs to work 'hands-on.'
  • To make effective use of any materials, the teacher needs to UNDERSTAND handwriting.
  • I went to the site. I'm going back on Monday to try it on real kids. Looked fun and very workable.
  • Computers are too expensive to be made a regular part of any curriculum.
  • Most teachers would make the effort if required. There are many teachers who are still fear working with computers. This may cause a problem, and require more training.
  • I'd have to see it to see how appropriate it would be for intermediate students
  • Providing it is easy to use allowing independent student use.
  • An excellent idea.
  • I did not like the animation I saw at It was not fluid, I did not like the words flashing below the letter being made and the pixels were too jagged. So I would NOT use this program. I have developed a much more fluid program on a powerpoint program.
  • No !! Only a knowledgeable teacheer and students with PENCIL and PAPER are needed.No more gimmics.
  • I'm not sure this would work. I guess I don't have an opinion in this case.
  • I would have to see this program. I do not think writing on the screen would be of benefit, but seeing the stroke actually being made may be a benefit.
  • This would be a good idea only if the program was on each computer in the computer room, and if our schedule would allow us to go to the computer room. (I would want to evaluate the program before using it.)

Q6. Under what conditions would teachers make an effort to use computer-based handwriting instruction in their classroom? Multiple answers are possible.

85±5% If it helps the children to learn the letters
77±6% If it helps the children to achieve neater handwriting
65±7% If it helps the children to improve fluency
62±7% If it helps the teacher to identify general handwriting problems
56±7% If it helps the teacher to assess progress of skill
50±7% If it helps the teacher to assess skill level
48±7% If it helps the teacher to identify learning problems
8±4% Other
4±3% No opinion


  • The program would have to be very efficient.
  • This woul enhance instruction and teachers would have a good command of problems before they get out of hand.
  • It will not happen until schools get more money.
  • I would have to see what it does actually do before I could answer this correctly.
  • If it can be used as an independent learning station.
  • Forgive my cynicism, but teachers, in my unfortunate experience, will not do what is right for students in this area, regardless of what tools you give them. Teaching REAL penmanship skills requires time and focus and energy that third and fourth grade teachers consider beneath them. They honestly expect K-2 teachers to teach ALL the skills necessary to get a child through high-school. The teaching of cursive in the second half of third grade is a pernicious disruption of basic penhand skills that are still developing for most students but especially for BOYS. Penmanship, in our experience, needs to be taught all the way through 9th grade! This is something that is unacceptable to most grade school and junior high teachers. They want it done and over with, even when they see, year after year, that older students LOSE their skills after 3rd grade!!!!! There are only two answers
  • I am no longer teaching, but I do substitute. I will forward this survey to the staff. Perhaps some of them can help answer these questions more effectively. I still work by substituting.
  • If it saved the teacher time.

Q7. What type of computer(s) is/are in your classroom? Multiple answers are possible.

94±3% Any Microsoft Windows system
33±7% Microsoft Windows 98
31±7% Macintosh
31±7% Microsoft Windows 95
12±5% Microsoft Windows XP
10±4% Microsoft Windows 2000
6±3% Microsoft Windows NT
6±3% Other
2±2% Microsoft Windows Me



  • Not enough computers for the whole class to use.
  • ...and the staff often do not have clue one on how to use them.
  • I have 5 computers in my primary level classroom.
  • Just checking to make sure the text form operates.
  • na
  • I am not a teacher, but the moderator of a listserv for k-1 teachers teaching children to write
  • I don't know if the programs at school have been updated. I have a Macintosh. Most programs at school are forms of Microsoft.
  • If you are proposing this program, don't forget the Mac's.

Q8. What would you estimate as the maximum investment that you or your school would make to turn one classroom computer into a modern handwriting instruction workstation?

21±6% The school would invest 0$
19±6% The school would invest $51-$100
17±5% No opinion
17±5% The school would invest $201-$400
12±5% The school would invest $1-$50
10±4% Other
4±3% The school would invest $101-$200



  • I don't know.
  • Handwriting has a very low priority in our schools.
  • Would software work with the crayola tablet?
  • The computers are alsready in too short supply
  • Budgetary constraints does not allow for such luxury in most school system.
  • No money now for other must haves. . .
  • My program requires the purchase of one program per computer at $40.00 at present, although the price may change as I update software.
  • Just lost a millage bond issue.We will be cutting programs.
  • the budgets in Oregon have been cut for years. In Lincolon County, a rural, poor county, we have especially suffered. We no longer have counselors, high schools do not have electives, libraries do not have librarians. I district has outsourced services to save money. We have all taken cuts. I don't think they would spend any money on handwriting, I'm sorry to say.
  • Again, we would have to see the program.
  • There is no way of knowing. If they thought that it would get them off the hook on their performance evaluation, they would impoverish the school to do it. they are constantly lobbying for software that enables them to shift the responsibility of teaching skills (math, reading) so why not penmanship??

Q9. Can new hard/software readily be added in classroom computers? Multiple answers are possible.

38±7% There are no real obstacles
33±7% Teachers have limited experience to maintain new hard/software
31±7% Teachers have limited time to maintain new hard/software
21±6% Computer administrators have limited possibilities to maintain new hard/software
17±5% Teachers would do it themselves but are not authorized to install new hard/software
12±5% Computer administrators are restricting new hard/software
6±3% No opinion
4±3% Other



  • varied skill levels - Most wouldn't bother
  • We use a computer lab once a week. Technology is high on our district goals.
  • I cannot answer this question.
  • There are several constraints facing the teacher. administratively there are not enough manpower to help maintain and operation the servicing and upkeep of the system.

Q10. What best describes your function(s)? Multiple answers are possible.

35±7% Teaching Grade 3 and higher
27±6% School Administration
25±6% Other
17±5% Teaching Grade 1
12±5% Teaching Grade 2
10±4% Teaching Kindergarten
2±2% No opinion




  • I substitute for 1-5 Title I and ELL. I did teach 3rd grade for many years.
  • I do most of my work with adults (including physicians), but also consult with (and provide demonstration lessons/inservices for) schools/teachers/homeschoolers seeking better handwriting for their pupils/children.
  • At present, I tutor.
  • District-level administrator
  • High School
  • I have been a founding member of the first Charter School in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am a long-time school reformer. I was a lead academic member of the Board of Directors of this school for 4 years. I am currently an academic advisor to this school. I worked with teachers to get an italic penmanship program implemented and, after 6 years of them telling me they would teach penmanship, we finally just bought the program and handed it out. The staff rebelled and turned the school inside out over this issue. Students with deplorable penmanship were put on the Getty-Dubay program and improved at an amazing rate. The staff refuse to care that this program actually helped *real* students with *real* penmanship problems and are lobbying to go back to the old program (any kind of looped cursive program is fine with them even though they themselves do not actually write in a looped cursive hand). The parents whose students recieved italic and dramatically improved became advo!
  • I will log in and do the form again using a new version of Microsoft Explorer.
  • Teach all levels, children and adult, in a private setting.

Q11. What type of school are you representing?

65±7% Public elementary school
17±5% Other
10±4% Private elementary school
6±3% Charter elementary school
2±2% No opinion



  • I operate as an independent handwriting-consultancy service, not as a school.
  • Randy
  • District of Columbia Public Schools.
  • Our school goes from K-9.
  • Public school district

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Date and time of questionnaire completion

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