The Dangers of Unsupervised Typing

Typing has become an essential skill for all in the professional workplace, and it would be hard to argue its usefulness in day-to-day life. As a result, students are experiencing typing at a younger and younger age, and are exposed to the keyboard in all sorts of formats: smartphones, iPads, laptops, and desktops. Students who have difficulties with handwriting are often told, “Hey! It’s okay! You will be typing most of your life anyway!” No one can deny its importance.

Oddly enough though, typing is often not taught as explicitly as handwriting. Students are given access to a keyboard, and expected to “figure it out,” told that they will “get faster with practise.” What happens, then, when students “figure out” awkward and slow typing styles which will get them by through primary school, but hinder them once longer writing tasks are required? They will rely on these bad habits, and it will be increasingly hard to break them.

The solution, then, is to teach the correct techniques before children have developed lifelong habits. This should be done through explicit instruction and monitored typing programs.

Explicit instruction includes going back to the basics: posture, wrist placement, and home row keys. Starting in the same way each time encourages consistency, and will reduce sloppy chin-propped-up-with-hand- style typing. Also, this involves teaching which fingers to use for each key.

Monitored typing programs means having an adult checking in on a child to ensure proper technique is being used. If sent off to complete a level or lesson on their own, some students may stick with the style of typing they are familiar with. This includes the dreaded ‘hunt and peck,” two fingers furiously typing the work of ten, searching for each letter the entire time!

To be sure, some students naturally develop a fluent typing style, and many will follow specific techniques of online typing programs. But for the many that don’t, teach explicitly, and make sure the students apply what they have learned!

For more information on monitored group or individual typing classes, contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at (416) 925-1225 or visit


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