For our column, Ask an Educator, we turn to educators, whether teachers, tutors, or principals, to answer frequently asked questions from parents. To send in your question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, our question is:
“Why Should My Child Learn Chinese Calligraphy?”
Answering for us is Li Jiao, Chinese Teacher at That’s Mandarin.
Calligraphy is widely known as a traditional Chinese form of writing with a brush and ink. While today calligraphy is mainly used for decorative purposes, it is actually more than just an art form. Practicing calligraphy offers plenty of advantages for both adults and children.
Writing with a brush requires much more complexity than holding a pen and running it across the paper. Calligraphy requires a high level of concentration and patience. There is a certain way to hold the brush, and there is the right way and the right order to “draw” each line of a Chinese character, which is known as “strokes”. The direction of, and the pressure applied on, the brush are equally important to produce beautiful calligraphic writing.
Since there is a thought process that goes along with each stroke of the brush, children who regularly practice calligraphy can benefit from a boost of creativity and imagination as well. In addition to training their patience and cultivating a good sense of Chinese artistry, calligraphy can also improve their dexterity.
In our classroom, children are encouraged to explore the different calligraphy styles, each reflecting a different personal character, and to find one that suits their own personality. Not only will learning calligraphy improve their handwriting and character recognition, it will also give them an understanding of the Chinese cultural state of mind. In a way, learning calligraphy can provide a solid foundation to both Chinese culture and language.
Photo: courtesy of That’s Mandarin