The ultimate Guide for Teachers to teach touch typing to children
In today's digital age, touch typing has become an essential skill that significantly increases productivity and efficiency when using a computer. Early teaching of touch typing helps children develop good habits that benefit them in the long term.
It is significant for teachers to teach touch typing to their students, starting from a young age to prepare children for their future success in school and beyond. In this article, we will discuss the importance of touch typing skills for children and provide a guide for teachers on effectively teaching these skills.
As a teacher, there are a few key things to keep in mind when teaching touch typing
- Firstly, it's indispensable to emphasize the correct positioning of the hands and fingers. Children should be taught to keep their wrists straight and rest their fingers on the home row keys (ASDF for the left hand, and JKL; for the right hand), with the thumbs resting on the space bar. This helps to distribute the workload evenly across all fingers and reduces the risk of strain or injury.
- Correct posture is essential when typing. Encourage students to sit up straight, with their feet flat on the ground and their shoulders relaxed. This not only helps to prevent strain on the neck and back, but also improves breathing and blood circulation.
- It's also important to provide age-appropriate activities that will keep children engaged while reinforcing good typing habits. Finger exercises can be particularly helpful for improving muscle memory and increasing typing speed. Consider activities like typing the same letter repeatedly or typing specific words using different fingers to help children practice proper technique.
- Finger exercises can also be beneficial for improving muscle memory and developing touch typing skills. Exercises involve performing repetitive movements with the fingers and hands to help build strength, flexibility, and coordination. They can improve circulation, reduce tension and inflammation in the wrist and hand, and increase the flexibility and strength of the muscles and tendons in the fingers and hands.
It is important to teach children about the value of ergonomics to prevent injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendinitis, and other musculoskeletal disorders. Encourage them to maintain good posture and proper alignment while typing to reduce strain on their muscles and joints.
- The keyboard and monitor should be at the correct height to prevent strain on the neck and shoulders. The keyboard should be positioned so that the arms can rest comfortably at the sides of the body, with the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. The top of the monitor should be at eye level to prevent the need to constantly tilt the head up or down.
- Proper lighting is important to prevent eye strain and headaches. The room should be well-lit, with no glare on the monitor or keyboard. Natural light is preferable, but if this is not possible, a desk lamp can be used to provide additional lighting.
- Children should be encouraged to take frequent breaks and stretch their fingers, hands, and arms to prevent muscle strain and fatigue. A 10-15 minute break every hour is recommended. During the break, children should stand up, stretch, and walk around.
By following these recommendations, children can learn ergonomic touch typing, reducing their risk of injury and improving their overall comfort while using a keyboard.
The first step in learning touch typing is to learn the location of keys on the keyboard. Start by teaching children the home row keys that the fingers rest on. Then, gradually introduce the other keys on the keyboard, starting with the most frequently used keys.
Practice is essential to learning key locations. Encourage children to use online typing tutors that help them learn and practice key locations. For example, Ratatype is a popular online typing tutor that children can use to improve their typing speed and accuracy. It provides tests and exercises that help children learn the proper finger placement.
Encourage children to practice touch typing regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes a day. This will help them develop muscle memory and increase their typing speed over time.
Muscle memory is the ability of our muscles to retain a memory of repeated movements. When we repeat a movement over and over, our muscles gradually learn to perform that movement without conscious effort. This is true for many skills, including touch typing.
There are several letter combinations that are frequently used in the English language, such as "th," "er," "in," and "ed." Introduce these letter combinations to children and help them practice typing them using the proper finger placement. There is a special lesson at Ratatype dedicated to teaching Common Combinations. This will help them develop muscle memory for these common letter combinations.
Provide Feedback and Encouragement: As with any skill, they are essential for improving touch typing speed. Provide children with feedback on their progress, and encourage them to keep practicing.
Also, it's important to encourage children to continue practicing touch typing outside of class. You can do this by providing resources and tips for practicing at home, such as recommending online typing tutors like Ratatype so that children can play on their own time. Praise children who practice outside of class by acknowledging their efforts and progress.
When children are learning touch typing, it's common for them to make mistakes. Here are some tips for correcting these errors:
- Looking at the keyboard. Encourage children to keep their eyes on the screen while typing, rather than looking at the keyboard. This can be challenging at first, but with practice, children will become more confident in their ability to type without looking down.
- Using incorrect fingers. Children may also make mistakes by using the wrong fingers to type certain letters. It's important to teach children proper finger placement and encourage them to use the correct fingers for each key.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Emphasize to children that typing accurately is more indispensable than typing quickly. Encourage them to take their time and focus on proper technique rather than speed.
Touch typing is a required skill for success in the digital age, and teachers play a critical role in teaching these skills to children. Ratatype is a typing tutor that offers a wide range of resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. Additionally, Ratatype offers a variety of lessons and exercises that teachers can use to supplement their lessons and help their students practice their skills.
By focusing on correct technique, ergonomics, key layout, and regular practice, you can help children develop strong touch typing skills and become proficient typists.