We all learn in different ways and as a teacher it’s a good idea to try to use as many as possible within one course. Of course in my little Book ABC Uncials, I am limited to teaching via a manual! But I have tried to curtail the written instructions and encourage kinesthetic learning.
The ways of learning are Visual; Auditory; Reading and Writing; Kinesthetic (VARK) Neil Fleming
Blackboard demos are visual and auditory, because you talk the letter through explaining stroke order, direction shape etc. I use large sheets of wallpaper lining stuck to the white board with masking tape. Then I use a 15mm wide balsa pen (wrapped in masking tape to keep my fingers clean) and walnut ink. I like the way the ink runs out and also learners can see the stroke joins much more easily. If you are going step-by-step with the class, then it is also kinesthetic as they are mimicking your movements and listening to your instructions while trying them out. Kinesthetic means ‘by doing’.
This sort of demo is also visual and auditory, but it is more passive as learners need to observe and listen, then memorise or take notes. (Note taking is a valuable way of remembering observations or comments), A similar and very necessary demo is to sit at each person’s desk and look for letters that need refinement (praising the good ones of course). e.g. if all the e’s show the same basic mistake you would use their pen and show them how it should look. You need to be gentle and not over critical and only deal with the most glaring issues! Remember to encourage them.
Then of course students learn by actually trying the letters or kinesthetically. It can be in response to blackboard work or notes or a manual. This is usually recognised as one of the best and the most popular ways to learn. In ABC Uncials I constantly suggest tracing in addition to free-writing. For this reason the Uncials in the book correspond exactly to specific nibs (C-0 and Brause 3) To trace letters, you need the same sized nib as the sample and very thin layout paper (45gsm) to trace on. Other thin papers bleed when you use ink on them and real tracing paper reacts to the ink by cockling. By tracing letters you can quickly feel the correct pen angle and the shape of the letter.
Sometimes it helps to hold the student’s hand and guide them. In Kinesthetic learning the movement imprints itself on the brain subconciously so it becomes a memory movement.
The theorists forgot to mention humour helping us remember information! Brother Finbar the Monk is an important addition to ABC Uncials.