Page:Theory and Practice of Handwriting.djvu/169

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151
APPENDIX II

the object of these photographs. They ought by no means to raise a complaint against the teacher of the obliquely-writing children; I am convinced that he at sight of such a bad posture at once interposes with severe reproof, that he does this incessantly every day from year’s end to year’s end, and is forced to do it because the children, not by his fault, but through the fault of the oblique writing, after a few minutes always wrinkle up again like moistened pasteboard. What the photographs ought to teach is, that the teachers in obliquely writing classes perform a labour like that of Sisyphus when they try to train the children to sit erect, that the little ones only pull themselves up by fits and starts in consequence of the command, and almost only during the time it lasts, and that in the home-lessons a picture such as that represented presents itself without any resistance. We must really also confess to ourselves, quite in confidence, that even in the school, when the teacher does not constantly preach “sit straight,” when, following his principal task, he buries himself in the subject he is teaching, often enough the photographic pictures present themselves. In the taking of them neither the children who wrote vertically nor those who wrote-obliquely were commanded to sit upright, in order that the conditions might resemble as much as possible those that exist in the daily home-lessons. That the posture of the former, therefore, is incomparably better, is obvious from the photographs.

It is a matter for congratulation that the theoretical treatises on Vertical Writing issuing from Middle Franconia have been tested also in other parts of Germany and caused practical experiments in many classes.

According to information received by letter from Principal Scharff at Flensburg, in May 1889 the Prussian Government of Schleswig-Holstein issued through the district School inspectorate a circular in which it was required that in writing the angle of elevation of the characters should amount to not less than 70°. By this enactment the authorities in Schleswig seem desirous of finally doing away with the excessive obliquity of 45° which has hitherto been generally demanded. At Scharff’s suggestion the teachers of Flensburg went a step further still, and after the above-named teacher had first had one class writing vertically since December 1888, in June 1889 introduced Perpendicular Writing into most of the public schools. At the close of the school year Scharff declared in a lecture that the bodily posture in Perpendicular Writing is an unconstrained one, does not hinder the writing-activity, and is employed by the scholars in their home-lessons also. Perpendicular Writing, he said, by its superior clearness most perfectly accomplishes the object of writing, and is easiest to