Implementation of “Let’s Go Gothic” (SOI-GR-408)

Author: Polyxeni  Papari, State teacher of English Language and Literature

School/Organization: 1 st Lyceum, Serres.

Typing, and clicking occupy an increasing number of hours in the average child’s day. But brain research shows that writing by hand helps people remember better and learn more.

According to Van der Meer, digital learning has many positive aspects, but urges handwriting training.

“Given the technological development of the last several years, there’s a great risk of having the future generations lose the ability to write by hand. Researches have proven that “The use of pen and paper gives the brain more ‘hooks’ to hang your memories on. Writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain. A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sense experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. We both learn better and remember better,” says Van der Meer.

That’s why…

When coming across the Learning Scenario Let’s Go Gothic by Zane Silina, I was thrilled. Zane Silina taught her students the difference between handwriting and calligraphy and I esteemed it

was the perfect yeast for my idea to be incubated, and make my students aware of the importance of handwriting and particularly penmanship for their own learning development as well as their personality. At the same time I wanted to raise a red flag about social media and the impact it had on their development. I decided to reach the above realization through a comparison of writing by hand with texting.

Target group

The group of students in which the scenario was implemented, consisted of students aged 16 years old.

The scenario was implemented in the English language course and particularly unit 8 Social Media (for how new technology has seized teenagers’ life), and unit 7 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (for the inspirational excerpts the students used for their products as well for the

deft use of language ), in which the students took on a particularly active and creative place.

The key competences that are promoted in this story of implementation are:

 Literacy competence as students identify, understand, interpret create concepts, facts  in both oral and written forms. 

Personal and learning to learn competence as students interrelate with each other work both collaboratively and autonomously.Digital literacy since they had critical and responsive use of digital technologies and interrelated in a computer-mediated communication.

Introduction to the treatise

I started the lesson with a question to the students:“ How do you communicate with your friends?” and naturally the answer was: “we text via Instagram, messenger, Snapchat” but their answer to my next question:

T: “ what type of messages do you text?” (regarding grammar, lexical, syntax)

S: “What do you mean, we text exactly the way we talk”, reassured me of how essential it was to go back to basics and brush up on the principals of the learning process.

What about Texting?

Classroom time

Then students were asked to give a definition of the two terms, Handwriting and Texting.

After that, they were divided in pairs and asked to use their mobile phones and feel free to text to their classmate as they do everyday.

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They reflected on the time they spent through the procedure, the time of meditation, the movement of their hands, fingers, arm. Then they wrote a short message by hand and followed the same procedure of reflection as after texting. A discussion was inflamed on the benefits of the two styles of writing. They attached to the padlet wall.

I proceeded with the following question: “Do you think handwriting is a fundamental factor for our learning and personal development?”

The first answer I got was their bewildering faces; after a while they responded:

“I have never thought about it”, “It has to do something but I don’t know how”, “Maybe in the past but today technology has changed that”and that was the bridge that led to the video which were asked to watch at home at their own pace.(flipped classroom).

“Why Write?” Penmanship for the 21 st Century/Jake Weidman/TEDx

For a knowledge evaluation I asked them to visit

The way you hold your pen shows Who you Are!

Having acquired the knowledge of the importance of writing by hand (video at home) and after a short reflection we had in class I asked my students to take their pen and start writing while I went around to check out on the grasp of the pen. I asked them if they had ever considered that there’s a particular proper way to grip our pen when writing. They answered “there can’t be a proper way!”


Before the first attempts/Flipped Classroom.

They were asked to visit my google classroom, a) watch a video about arm movement and the proper grasping of the pencil, b) visit Europeana resources to learn and be inspired.

Europe’s First Printed Book

The rise of literacy in Europe Learning ABCs

Lighting the Way

Google classroom

Time for practice – First attempts

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The final productions were excerpts of the novel “Pride and Prejudice” by hand in penmanship. Beforehand I had asked my students to visit again the Following Europeana resources  to be inspired. Illuminated Initials, Schrijfvoorbeeld met schrijvende hand – Rijksmuseum, Public Domain.

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   Remarkable experience!

This story of implementation has certainly helped my students to improve their handwriting and their language skills in an engaging way. They also worked in the context of the flipped classroom, and then interacting with the teacher and their classmates in the classroom, they were led to master the new knowledge with the aim of creating texts in their own font (active learning).

They utilized digital literacy through the reversal of educational processes.

The students said that they enjoyed the lesson to the fullest. They had to… “control my hand while creating the final products”,… “to be concentrated so as to keep a steady rate and not to change my handwriting”,… “to grasp the pen with the fingers and not the whole had and that was quite difficult”,…“handwriting means coordination and dexterity”.

They were really as proud and thrilled as I was when they and I saw their works. “It was completely an unexpected way of lesson”, “It was an attractive experience”, “I had never heard that refined movements make a great handwriting” (some of their remarks).

The success of the lesson can be evaluated by their comments which are the best “assessment tool” that helps both self-assessment and give teacher feedback about what the students learnt at the end of the lesson.

Driven by Europeana

Using Europeana in order to implement my scenario was a positive change in my pedagogigal approach, it contributed to my progress in designing more personalized student activity and offered me the steps to make my lesson more comprehensible to my students and more

substantiated by the resources. What is more, Europeana’s collections of manuscripts enhanced my students’ motivation to their productions.

One more positive aspect is that you feel safe with what you are going to use. The truth is that one needs some time to familiarize with searching through the platform (to know how) but once you learn the ropes the journey is worth. The works the students have produced can be created on app but my main aim was my students to write by hand.

Demythologising  the mobile monster

The use of mobile phones as an educational tool inside the classroom I believe was of the greatest positives of the lesson as it took away the negative sign of mobiles in school.

Padlet app as well, is an easy and beautiful bulletin board for creating, sharing and collaborating whereas Kahoot platform is game-based learning if teacher wants to review students’ knowledge and can also be used for formative assessment, it is a challenge to keep the students’

motivation and engagement and make lectures more interactive and Kahoot helps to that direction exactly as breaking the class into smaller groups or using videos.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Let’s Go Gothic! (LS-ME-704) created by Zane Silina

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC0 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Statens Museum for Kunst.

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