What essential skill is almost never taught in schools?

So here’s the question: What essential skill is almost never taught in schools? It’s not a trick question, but it’s one that we are pretty sure that few people could answer with confidence.

The skill in question is most definitely an essential one, but also overlooked by almost everyone.

Touch typing is an essential skill.
It’s a skill that children will use on a daily basis; a skill that doubles productivity, improves the quality of writing, and exam results in general.

Have you guessed what it is?

Well, it’s simple: touch typing.

Many people – perhaps yourself included – don’t even realise that touch typing is an essential skill.

Why should all children learn to touch type?

Well, one very good answer to that question might be: All children in Finland do.

Now that might seem an irrelevant point, but anybody that keeps abreast of the world of education would tell you that Finland is usually at the forefront of educational thinking, policy, and results. Put simply, if Finland are onto it, it should tell you something – and learning to type is mandatory in all Finnish primary schools.

During their lives children will do most of their writing on a keyboard. Pen and paper are virtually redundant in today’s workplace. And, in schools, more and more examinations are now being sat as computer-based exams.

As The Telegraph puts it:

“All children are given endless hours of coaching in how to use the most common computer applications. Yet they are taught how to use these programs without being taught the most basic computing skill of all – typing. It is the modern-day equivalent of teaching a child to do joined-up writing without ever showing them how to hold a pencil.”

Touch typing: setting the context

There are 4 important processes that come into play when typing a sentence. First, remembering; followed by putting into working memory, chunking into characters, and finally hitting the right key.

Essentially, mental actions must be transferred into motor actions. A touch typist has automated motor actions and can prepare the next keystroke naturally, without thought. Research has found that this reduces errors in writing amongst children and results in kids being able to write longer – and better quality – stories.

The improvement in quality of writing is caused because no time is spent searching for the correct keys. This stimulates creative freedom. Ideas become the central focus of concentration and no part of the brain is occupied by the mechanics of transferring thoughts to writing.

It has also been shown that is easier for children to learn touch typing than it is for adults. A finding you can probably identified with if you ever tried to learnt a new skill or language at a later age.

Another advantage of touch typing – which is often forgotten but definitely worth remembering – is that it can prevent injuries because it encourages better posture.

The most important benefit is that typing speed is increased by as much as five times. Obviously, this will save a lot of time and will lead to increased productivity.

So, is it all good with touch typing then? There must be a downside?

Well, yes, there is a drawback – learning typing can be quite boring. It requires repeating movements time and time again until it becomes automatic. This results in many kids not wanting to learn to type because it feels like a punishment.

For this reason we have built TypeKids and worked hard to make it he most fun typing course in the world. Children participate in a pirate adventure and learn to type along the way. Repetition is kept to a minimum because the course is based on an algorithm that adapts exercises to the needs of each student.

Before committing, it is important to let your child try a course. Allow them to evaluate if they like it. This greatly increases the chances of your child becoming a touch typer in no-time. It is also the reason we allow you to try the first three lessons of Typekids for free. Register for a free trial and see if you like it.