Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship (Part 5)

Methods of teaching penmanship in the classroom

I was involved with classroom teaching of the Watkins Method which was really the Zaner Bloser method (which used Tamblyn instruction booklets). We taught 100 students per class 2 times a day. 1 hour in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon (the same students, twice a day). The process was to 'count' the strokes of a letter form and the students would work along with the count. A small 'i' was "up, down, finish" or 1, 2 3. We set copy for each student by sitting immediately beside each and demonstrating, commenting, suggesting. I think Palmer Method was taught the same way.

The finger motion and the arm motion

I am using the word 'motion' rather than movement as the latter may seem to be a bathroom duty.

When we taught arm motion p-ship we insisted on the arm doing all of the work. It was necessary to fool the students this way because if we had told them the fingers would be fine to use, the exercises would be all finger motion. So we emphasized the arm motion knowing that there would be enough finger motion to make it all work.

If you went to your local school today and see a p-ship drill class you would probably go to the next school board meeting and tell them a thing or two. I think the currently used Methods of P-ship do not use the basic drills that we used in the 1970s. Those drills are out of date although effective. Correct me if I am wrong. Our schools have some sort of block letters to cursive in grades 1-6. Then nothing but a teacher’s individual comments if needed.


The Madarasz item posted by Nick

Of course you can recognize the word 'instruction' is a filled exemplar for display purposes. There is no way to write the word the way it looks. He would have written it in regular copperplate style then filled the letters for the intended boldness effect. A great example of early advertising penmanship--to get the eye to read the words which might lead to a 'sale' of the item described.


Louis Madarasz specimen posted by Nick, explosive

The L Madarasz signature on the bottom of the INSTRUCTIONS was created with lots of lifts and fills. He purposely wrote this style to attract the attention of the reader. Plain ordinary penmanship is lovely, yes, but does not really sell much stuff. You seldom see cursive penmanship in any advertising. It is too 'sleepy'.

Thanks to Nick for the interesting post of LM items.