Nibs that leak, outfits that are ruined, and weapons in the classroom. The fountain pen is making a comeback just when you thought that email and text messaging had eliminated all of the romance associated with writing.
Put away your PCs and your Blackberries. An independent school in the United Kingdom has mandated that all students aged nine and above must use only fountain pens when writing in order to preserve the nation's handwriting.
The headteacher of a primary school in Edinburgh named Mary Erskine and Stewart's Melville, Bryan Lewis, is certain that his students' education and self-assurance will improve if they are able to produce more attractive handwriting.
Do fountain pens improve handwriting?
It would appear that students who take their tests with fountain pens perform better on average. This may be because using fountain pens requires a higher level of concentration, which in turn compels students to focus on the correct usage of spelling and grammar.
If it is acceptable for the Prime Minister, then it must be appropriate for the students of Mr. Lewis. Tony Blair, who received his education in the Scottish private school system, uses a fountain pen and longhand to write all of his speeches before handing them off to his secretaries to be typed.
It would appear that Mr. Lewis and Mr. Blair are not the only ones who are bemoaning the decline of the skill of writing with fountain pens. When it comes to the debate between fountain pens and ballpoint pens, some bloggers take a defensive stance, while others are positive that the quality of their education would have been lower if it weren't for fountain pens. There are even fan sites dedicated to fountain pens for people who simply cannot function in a world without an inky top pocket.
It is possible that the return of pens and ink will also bring with it a resurrection of the art of handwriting, but educators should be wary of this possibility. The pens were the source of many a dispute in the classroom, and while the times and technologies may change, the students in the classroom do not. It won't be long before kids learn the joys of the ink pellet, which is the biggest fear of every instructor.
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