Correct Positions for Classroom Writing
On this page are reproduced photographs of a class of students who are experts in the Palmer Method writing. While they knew that their photographs were to be taken, they did not change their every-day penmanship positions in the least particular. It was not necessary, because they had all acquired the habit of sitting in positions that are comfortable and which at the same time permit muscular freedom and control.
In elementary schools in cities, space is so limited that the use of tables or desks large enough to permit the square front position for writing is usually impossible. If the desks are too small for the square front position the half-right side position may be used.
Study these pictures closely; it will pay.
In the first picture, notice that the right elbow rests on or near the lower right corner of the desk. This position may be occasionally modified to suit the needs of pupils. As an example, a very fat boy or girl may find it necessary to let the right arm rest over on the desk a little farther.
A good rule to follow in finding the correct position of the right arm on the desk for writing is as follows: Place the body at the desk in the correct square front position, raise the entire right arm a few inches, and withdrawing control, let it drop. Wherever it strikes the desk it should remain. To draw the arm toward the side would force the right shoulder upward into an uncomfortable, unhealthful position, or would force the pupil to lean backward. On the other hand, to place the right arm farther over on the desk would force the body too far forward.
These photographs show that the pupils sit comfortably in the seats; that the upper ends of their penholders point a little to the right of their right shoulders — usually half way between the elbow and the shoulder; that the Palmer Method is placed at the upper left corner of the desk — being held open at the required drill with a rubber band; that the left forearm is on the desk in such a position as will keep the body upright, the left shoulder from drooping, reserving the free use of the left hand for changing the positions of the Manual and the paper as required.
In this position it is easy to push the sheet of paper forward as progress is made toward the bottom of the page; also to move the paper to the left when the writing has reached a third or half the distance across a line, and back into the first position for a new line.
The exact position of the body at the desk and the relative positions of the left and right arms in writing are very clearly shown in illustration 2, while the position of the left arm in its relation to desk, Manual, and paper, is best shown in illustration 3.
No student who fails in the matter of position will master muscular movement writing. Correct position is of the greatest importance, and it should be studied and thoroughly mastered before the writing itself is considered.