It’s pi (π) day. Have you ever asked your students to write the Greek alphabet? I have not, but π day got me thinking about Motor Learning Theory. Some letters of the Greek alphabet like alpha (α) and epsilon (ε) look like English letters a and E. There are some letters like xi (ξ) and psi (ψ) that do not resemble any letter of the English alphabet.
Children with dysgraphia need these letters broken down into parts when they are first learning much like when a child is learning to draw simple objects like a kite of baseball cap. They not only must learn the sequence of writing the letter, but they must also learn the finesse of using the pen to create the effects of the Greek.
Negative emotional memory of writing the English alphabet may creep back like a freight train for children having this disability. They truly need a reason to remember and recall these letters. π has an advantage over many of the other letter since we celebrate its numeric representation 3.14 each year. Yes, March 14th. It is not the only Greek letter that has a numeric representation. Mu, Sigma, and Epsilon (μ, Σ, Ε) are used in mathematical formulas. Since the angles of the letters are skewed from the English alphabet, the Greek letter get mistaken for something that they are not representing.
So, I ask, do we really need to teach our children with dysgraphia these letters? Most likely no. However, we should teach them how to locate the letters in the word processing program that they are using. If they do need to write them, a visual cue will reduce the anxiety associated with the negative emotion associated with handwriting something they cannot remember.
I hope that today’s blog didn’t throw π in your face. (I just couldn’t resist the pun.)
Have a great week and keep #writingitbyhand