Touch typing is the ability to type without looking at the keyboard, and requires a lot of persistence and patience to learn. As someone who was taught touch typing at a young age, and having been terrible at it at the time, I know very well how difficult a skill it is. Many people end up finding their own way to get the job done, but with increasing pressure on competency with technology; it is absolutely vital to know how to do it the most efficient way.
Even in education we are seeing change. Those with learning difficulties are allowed to use computers/laptops to complete their exams, and my understanding is some of our students here at SML College also plan on doing so. I personally believe that all students should be given the option, as some are simply faster on a keyboard than with a pen and paper and when timing is so vital, it seems almost like a handicap to have to write. If I had been given the option to type instead when I was 16, I’m sure I would have scored considerably higher.
When students ask me how I became so fluid, I tell them that those initial lessons gave me the foundation to leap from, and it was my own extensive practice at home that solidified it – of course when I tell them that the urgency of talking in an online game/chatroom is what motivated me to reach such high speeds and accuracy, we tend to laugh!
The students range from learning the very basics, to having their own typing habits, which in some cases need breaking. One common theme, however, is their ability to take feedback and see almost immediate improvement. A perfect example of this is when one student in particular saw a huge boost in her typing score; due to learning the correct position for just a single key, which naturally gave her a lot of joy and enthusiasm. We aren’t looking to increase their speed as much as their technique and accuracy, but the instant gratification element of this process is very strong, and that is the main reason we use typing tests to aid their learning in each session. I frequently need to peel the laptops away from them after the session has ended, so that others in the college can use them to do their work!
I am also amazed by those who are actively trying to break their bad habits and learn the correct method of touch typing. In some ways this can be harder than starting from scratch, and the determination that I see in some of the students is truly admirable. There have been clear cases of students spending time outside of the sessions on it, and they often come to me with evidence of their latest high score from when they were at home. I make sure to log all their information in my tutor notes, which we go through to find patterns in their learning and discover things for them to consciously work on.
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with each of them, and I can’t wait to look back on their first sessions in a couple of months; because the difference in their typing will be an amazing representation of the effort they’ve put into a skill they will have for life.
Eleanor Mayne, Learning Adviser