After hearing news reports that American businesses lose millions of dollars each year because of illegible handwriting, a 20-year Orange Coast College instructor devised a course to teach adults the basics of good handwriting.
Alice Kasparian, who has taught shorthand, calligraphy and such business courses as personal development and correspondence for management, looked at elementary school textbooks and found that handwriting is not emphasized in schools as it once was.
The result, she found, is that interoffice memos are being misunderstood, telephone messages cannot be read, accounting is hurt--all because of poor handwriting and printing.
Kasparian said she has seen job applications discarded just on the basis of poor penmanship. Some employers have encouraged workers to attend the classes.
Kasparian reviewed books on teaching handwriting but found that they contained too many rules and not enough practical exercises for the students.
Kasparian decided to simplify some of the methods for her class. She writes on the blackboard, showing the students how to form all the letters of the alphabet, how to hold a pen and even how to sit.
Sometimes the problem is easy to correct, and students catch on to the new techniques quickly.
Kasparian also believes that people who learn to write legibly will pay more attention to their spelling.
“People don’t realize this, but it’s true. Once they learn how to write, they can build up into improving many areas.”
The course, in its second year, meets three Saturdays beginning this week from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration is $35.