なぜ Ball & Stick 体を使い続けるのか?(その1)


第5回 What and how


the difference between loneliness and solitude


今年になって、小英関連でいろいろな人と情報交換する機会を得たのですが、「handwriting そのもの指導体系を確立する必要がある」、という認識が共有されておらず、その結果、handwriting指導におけるBall & Stick タイプの文字の持つデメリット、弊害があまり認識されていないのであろう、という理解に達したところです。

英国のカリグラファーであったAlfred Fairbank は私の師匠も幾度か言及していた「大御所」と言える人物だと思うのですが、1970年の
The History of Handwriting Origins and Development で、次のように指摘(批判?)しています。


In 1913 Edward Johnston was asked to address a conference of London teachers on the teaching of handwriting. In putting forward an ideal scheme (it proved too difficult for teachers to adopt) he showed among other alphabets the skeleton or essential shapes of the Roman alphabets. It was seen that a simplification of letter-forms might be adopted for teaching beginners to write and this would also help children to learn to read. By 1916 experiments had begun in London schools. The style, now known as print-script, soon spread widely in this and other countries. Miss Marjorie Wise introduced a form of it into the United States of America, where it is known as manuscript writing.

Although useful for teaching infants, print-script has a serious lack as a handwriting style, for it does not develop naturally into a running hand. Accordingly, some other style is generally taught when the child uses a pen. Print-script is plainly uneconomical since it has to be abandoned and a poor foundation for the acquisition of a fundamental skill.

その少し後に出版された、A Handwriting Manual (1975年)でも、Fairbank はprint-script について項を立てて批判を加えています。

PRINT-SCRIPT (pp. 25-26)

Print-script (sometimes called ‘ball and stick’) is a simplified version of the Roman letter. It was introduced into schools following a lecture by the late Edward Johnston to L.C.C. teachers in 1913 when, in making suggestions as to an ideal course of teaching handwriting, he showed amongst his alphabets one which later was adapted for school use. Johnston regarded print-script as rather formless skeletons of Roman lower-case letters and did not wish it to be thought he was directly responsible for the form of print-script characters. Print-script is held by teachers of infants, who are doubtless appreciative of its simple character, to be of assistance in teaching both reading and writing, since one alphabet serves the two purposes. It has two shortcomings: there is nothing about it that gives a hint of development into a running hand and it has circular instead of elliptical movements (cf. p. 82).



The author hold that it is a sound principle in teaching handwriting that one should begin as one is to continue (‘As I am to go on, so I do’). Therefore, according to this principle, one should not begin the teaching of italic handwriting by the use of print-script since it is based on the circle and the vertical stroke and not on the ellipse and the slanting stroke, and also because it is no preparation for cursive penmanship.

Print-script, a simplified form of the roman letter, was introduced about 1916 by educational reformers who ignored or had not understood the lesson which history had taught, namely that because of the numerous pen-lifts the roman hand is not potentially fast, whilst italic, its cursive counterpart, certainly is, and the forms of italic letters have been developed by speed. What should replace print-script (‘ball and stick’) is therefore an italic print-script: i. e. a simple italic.

Experiments have shown that a child may be started off with an italic alphabet similar to that which would be given to an older child except that it would be written with pencil, crayon, or chalk, and would therefore lack the thicks and thins of the edged pen. Such a script is that illustrated in Fig. 45. The teacher of infants would generally wish, however, for something simpler to begin with, and therefore the alphabet in Fig. 46 (which is the bare bones of the pen-written italic alphabet and one easier than that of print-script) is suggested. The child can progress from the script of Fig. 47 to that of Fig. 48.

All the above relates to italic minuscule. The capitals of print-script are not rejected, but would be more fitting if slightly compressed and, for example, if the O was elliptical and not circular.
The use of a simple italic for writing is unlikely, in the author’s view, to complicate the teaching of handwriting.

ここで Fairbank のいう a simple italic は彼が作った初期の教則本で1950年代の終りに既に世に問われています。


Print-script が広まった背景には色々あるのですが、その英国から米国への移入(移出?)に関連して、アイスランドの巨匠、Gunnlaugur SE
Briemも、そのプレゼンテーション Handwriting Repair (2008年)でこうコメントを加えています。



The print script disaster

The biggest handwriting mistake in recent times is probably the print script, or manuscript writing if you prefer. About 1913, Edward Johnston, the great English calligrapher, gave a lecture to a broad audience of educators. He talked about skeleton forms, and they took off in a direction he never intended.
This is what he showed them, just a way of understanding letter shapes with shadings of thicks and thins.

One of his students, Marjorie Wise, introduced an inferior model in the United States. It was also meant to be a first step to writing with a broad edge pen. This is an average example of modern print script. It is unnecessarily ugly. One example of that should be enough. Look at the capital letter R. It is too wide. Make it one-fourth narrower, and it looks all right. People who don’t see this shouldn’t design model alphabets. The first hurdle of print script is that a circle is an absolute form. It’s either a circle or it isn’t. Letters that are based on a circle are more difficult to write than letters based on an oval.

An egg shape is flexible. It doesn’t have failure built into it. Ball-and-stick letters also make life very difficult for dyslexics. Letters that are not symmetrical are hard enough. The writing movement can go wrong, too. You can easily begin a print script letter a at the bottom and end it at the top. The italic
letter a, on the other hand, begins at the right point and ends with the pen in the proper place for a join to the next letter. And the same people who like print script also have ideas about pens. Of all the writing instruments we can choose from, they make young children write with pens that feel like broomsticks.


日本では「書き順の権威」として認識されているらしい、Rosemary Sassoonですが、文字指導に当たるのであれば、洋の東西を問わず(ラテン文字だけでなく、ということです)必読な一冊が、

  • Handwriting: the way to teach it




4. The choice of a handwriting model (pp. 4-5)

The choice of a particular handwriting model must be a whole school decision. First of all there needs to be discussion about whether to have a strict model at all, or to adopt a more liberal attitude to letters. Everyone involved needs to be happy about what they will all have to teach. It must be remembered that at first it may be difficult for some people to change from any other accustomed model.

Four different ideas for handwriting models

You will notice that the models within this book all have exit strokes on all the letters that terminate on the baseline. Exit strokes help to promote the flowing movement that develops easily into joins. This is in contrast with the stiff straight letters of print script that terminate abruptly on the baseline. When you use a model, you train the hand in a certain movement. Children who are trained to be neat within the precise movement of print script often find it difficult to progress to a flowing joined writing. With straight print script letters maximum pressure is on the baseline, but with an exit the pencil pressure is relaxed as the upstroke changes direction and lifts towards the next letter.

The decisions that you make for five-year-olds are likely to have a lasting effect, so the choice of some features of a model is a serious matter. At first glance the four alphabets may appear similar. You need to look closely to notice the differences in slant and proportion. It is not usual to have to discriminate between such details, so this choice of model plays its part in helping you to think carefully about letters.

“The way …” の初版と改訂ニ版との間に出版された、Handwriting of the Twentieth Century (1999年) の中で、R. Sassoonは、文字指導の歴史を洋の東西を跨いで振り返りつつ、Print script の導入と普及・支持の経緯、そして、それへの強烈な反発と批判を詳しく書いています。

  • Chapter 7 Stylistic issues after 1950 (pp. 107-111)


Handwriting of the Twentieth Century

Handwriting of the Twentieth Century

Print script の普及拡大での最大の功労者は、ここで取り上げられている、William S Gray なる米国の教育者で、「ユネスコ」の看板を背に、The Teaching of Reading and Writing (1956年)を編み、米国他で広く受け入れられたようです。ただし、ここでSassoonが言う、「英国では必要なかった」という意味をよく理解しておく必要があると思います。
というのも、英国ではこの1950年代までに、Marion Richardsonらによる文字指導の体系が広がりつつあったので、a fluent joined hand に移行するのに、学び直しせざるを得ない print script に教育的価値を認めない人たちが多くいたことは十分に理解できるのです。そして、イタリックハンドの見直し(復権?)を経て、Nelson や Sassoonへと続いていきます。



本日のBGM: Sticks and Stones (The Divine Comedy)