While most people would be tempted to think that handwriting has disappeared, Paris has just hosted a mass spelling contest on the famous avenue Champs-Élysées, with almost 1,400 people taking part.
To make the event possible, the organisers used around 1,700 desks which they laid out along the sumptuous boulevard, turning the scene into an open-air classroom. The session consisted of three rounds in which participants had to listen to a text and transcribe it without errors. It was not an easy task, as French spelling is known to be complicated, but the competition proved to be a great success as it showed people the importance of such an activity in the educational process.
Recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest competition of its kind ever, this event also highlighted the importance and value of handwriting as literally the driving force behind the entire dictation exercise.
Of all those who took part in the contest – school children, adults and even seniors, children seem to have found this session the most difficult. Proving the quality of education in the good old days, a 65-year-old lady managed to finish the competition by making only 2 mistakes, saying “I expected it to be much harder.”
Beyond the dictation exercise, it was uplifting to observe so many people holding a writing instrument in their hands, and it only makes me think that handwriting is flourishing, now more than ever.