Irrational Bias in the Guardian

This recent Guardian article whines about today’s children not being able to use a pencil properly because all they do with their hands is press buttons and screens. But of course they had to make a large point of holding your pencil properly. Their is no proof there are any advantages to holding your pencil properly.

They show 4 ways to hold your pencil in a diagram and only the “dynamic tripod” grip is considered correct. To make it abundantly clear they mark the other three methods with an x and the dynamic tripod method with a check.

I personally use the five fingered grasp when I draw or write. I can write as neatly as people with the dynamic tripod grip. I can write as quickly as them. I can write for just as long without my hand cramping up. What, may I ask, is the advantage? You know besides the fact that most people use it.

They try to tie it to “fine motor skills” while never saying how the dynamic tripod grip is better for this. This is pure bull$#!+. The dynamic tripod grip only uses two fingers and a thumb whereas my grip uses 4 fingers and a thumb. Obviously my way is superior because it exercises more fingers.

I can even prove that my handwriting is just as neat. Every teacher from grade 1 to grade 8 that I had took it upon themselves to force me to write the proper way. After noticing they would then show me the dynamic tripod method. And every time for the next two days they would make sure I only wrote in this way. So I know how to write with the dynamic tripod method. It’s just that I automatically pick up the pencil or pen in the five finger grasp. So how can I prove that my handwriting is just as neat? Why it’s the same in the five fingered grasp as it is with the dynamic tripod grip. Handwriting might very well be a product of the wrist.

And who picked out these names? Dynamic tripod? It sounds like you are getting ready for more action. And they made sure the other three ended in “grasp” while not using this end term for the dynamic tripod. They’re not a way to grip the pencil, just a grasp.

Did I mention that I can draw well? I’ve been paid for coming up with political cartoons that I draw. I can do this because I’m a talented enough artist to get a likeness of most people. Here is my Escher inspired drawing of hands drawing hands with my five fingered grip.

So maybe art doesn’t need the precision that musicians and others need.

I can play guitar fairly well and know a smattering of bass and keyboards that I also can play. I’m a very good crokinole player (which involves flicking buttons with precision across a board with obstacles).

I have never felt even slightly cheated because of the way I hold my pencil. Others have tried to make me feel this way. They are ignorant. To me today’s pencil holding is yesterday’s left handedness. Get a grip, the Guardian, and no I don’t care which one you use.

More on the Proper Way to Hold a Pencil

I take pride in the idea that my blog site contains as much truth as other sites that don’t call their writings “rants”. So when I was called out about my rant about the Guardian being wrong I at first ignored it but eventually decided to write this piece which corrects my mistakes and makes a clearer case against the Guardian.

I did overstate my side of the argument with the Guardian when I said, “Their is no proof there are any advantages to holding your pencil properly.” My sister pointed out to me that she holds her pencil improperly in a different way than I do and she gets hand cramps earlier than other people do from writing for too long. So with some pencil grips there is not as much stamina for the user. This is not true for my grip.

I have been trying to find the science behind pencil grips on the internet. I have found one occupational therapy post with a broken link that is supposed to tell us that different grips do not lead to less legible writing. So neatness will not become better if you force a student to write the proper way.

Then I tried looking up speed effects and came up with I think the same study that was discussed at 4 different sites. It involves testing grade 4 students with different pencil grips including the dynamic tripod. The study shows that none of the pencil grips was faster or neater than the others.

The only studies I found out about said that pencil grip doesn’t affect neatness or speed. In some cases it might affect stamina.

But why am I so sure that the Guardian was wrong to begin with?

It’s because I had the one anecdote of myself where my odd pencil grip was just as effective as the dynamic tripod. You may have heard that single anecdotes don’t help prove a theory. But for disproof a single anecdote is good enough. A single datum or replicable point on a graph is also good enough to take down a theory. It’s a lot harder to build up a theory than to take one down.

Of course the new theory may simply be the old theory with one new exception. That’s where the Guardian got it wrong. They might have said the dynamic tripod method of holding a pencil is sometimes better than other methods. But they didn’t. They just mark the dynamic tripod as being right which one assumes is in all cases. So the Guardian is blatantly wrong on this subject, because of the way they reported it.

About Larry Russwurm

Just another ranter on the Internet
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