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    How Can I Effectively Teach Cursive Handwriting to Junior Infants?

    Cahill, Sinéad (2019) How Can I Effectively Teach Cursive Handwriting to Junior Infants? Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis aims to find ways in which cursive handwriting can be taught to junior infant pupils in an effective and child-centred manner, reflective of my ontological and epistemological values. Prior to embarking on this study, I was struggling to teach cursive handwriting to my junior infant class, as per our school policy. I felt torn and disoriented by the complexities and intricacies of teaching children in their first year of school how to read in one font, write in another and to make the appropriate connections between both. I found myself teaching in a traditional and rote way, disregarding my Froebelian values of collaborative learning, enjoyment in learning, and all children receiving what they need to succeed to the best of their ability. This led to my research question; how can I effectively teach cursive handwriting to junior infants? Self-study action research was the most suitable approach for this study, allowing me to investigate my practice as a teacher-researcher, while accounting for my pupils as participants. Eighteen pupils, aged between 4 and 5 years old, participated in the study. The intervention involved examining the effects of various teaching methods for cursive handwriting, reflecting and making observations on their effectiveness, or lack thereof, in my teacher reflective journal and triangulating data with accounts and work samples from my pupils. The findings suggest that children benefit from an approach to initial handwriting instruction focused on process and effort. The children were of a wide range of abilities and therefore an emphasis on the formation of perfect letters was unfair. Instead, focusing on, and praising the effort the children made in the process of letter formation meant every child could be successful. The children needed regular and varied handwriting practice, including a mix of tracing and blocked practice. Finally, designing a cross-age peer tutoring program for handwriting, which I named Pencil Pals, proved to be a highly effective way to teach cursive handwriting to junior infants. Pencil Pals provided the children with an audience, a cursive handwriting role-model and brought handwriting into the social setting. This study has not only evolved my own practice to teaching cursive handwriting, but also my school’s. Due to the success of Pencil Pals in my classroom, it was implemented as a school-wide approach. I feel well equipped to teach cursive handwriting effectively to junior infants, in such a way that is reflective of my values. I also feel prepared to continue to engage in informal action research, identifying areas in which I am not teaching to my values, and through reflective practice, continually improving my teaching.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Effectively; Teach; Cursive Handwriting; Junior Infants; Froebel; Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 13694
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 16:41
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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