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Teacher training – comments on our article
– Views on left-handed equipment at school

We posted an article about Teacher Training and Left handed Children in March 2012 and received a huge response, with over 200 comments totalling some 30,000 words and hundreds of emails – this is certainly the biggest response to anything we have ever posted.

You can see the original article “Teacher Training and Left handed Children” here

and the follow up article with conclusions from the initial feedback here

We got a lot of comments on left-handed equipment and the lack of it plus the fact that where it was available teachers did not show the left-handed students how to use it properly.


There were lots of comments on this so here is a representative selection.   This is one that really frustrates us when we hear of teachers assuming left-handers should just use right-handed scissors and there is no difference.   They really should know that as a left-hander you need to have the blades reversed so the top blade in on the left and you can see your cutting line without having to twist the scissors to see over the top and then manipulate them to make the blades squeeze together to cut without tearing (see our video explaining this here).

What is even more frustrating is where left-handed scissors ARE provided but the teachers do not know how to use them and the students end up trying to use them like a right-handed scissors so can't make them work anyway.   They are then left as being completely hopeless and unable to use right-handed OR left-handed scissors.

It is not that hard – just hold the left-handed scissors in the left hand, relax and squeeze the handles together, looking at the cutting line on the RIGHT side of the scissors.   Of course, if you are cutting out a circle or curved shape you need to go ANTI-Clockwise!

  1. I was never taught to use left-handed scissors and now I can’t use them but I did make sure they were available for my child and for kids at school who needed them
  2. Many years ago, when I was in Kindergarten, I remember that left-handed SCISSORS were never available in class. It was frustrating trying to use right-handed ones (they just folded the paper as I tried to cut). My teacher told me I was just being difficult and I didn’t need different  scissors. Craft time often turned to tear time.

  3. I was ecstatic when I got my first pair of left handed dress making scissors as an adult and found that the handles did *not* cut into my thumb and fingers as right handed scissor handles do.

  4. Because of the lack of left handed scissors in my early years I learned how to cut somewhat horribly with my right hand and my handwriting is horrible.

  5. I was delighted when I discovered left handed scissors as an adult. I love it when right handers struggle to use my left handed gadgets – my favourite response is now you know what it’s like being left handed trying to use right handed things”


  1. The first truly lefthanded lecture hall desk (surface attached to chair) was due to a lawsuit filed in Mayfield Hts, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Now there is one in each row in most university lecture halls.
  2. I found this in College and even now when I go to courses as a grown-up – there are chairs with a table attached and every single one is for a right handed person.   In fact I don't think I have ever seen a left handed one which means I have to write either on my lap or find a table to use.
  3. I am a university lecturer and being mainly left handed am very conscious of the issue raised about right hand only attached tables to chairs. I got my classes to raise this as a complaint through the official channels and now left handed variants are being supplied in small numbers to rooms. The chair covers are usually of a different colour as well allowing for easy of recognition.
  4. I agree there needs to be more attention paid to helping left-handed children because growing up there were no left-handed desks in classes and if there were the teachers were oblivious to it and gave them to right-handed students. There was no left-handed anything growing up.

We have covered left-handed pens under the writing comments page.

If you have anything to add, please leave a comment using the box below.

Links to the other pages of results from this project so far:

The original article “Teacher Training and Left handed Children”

Follow up article on initial feedback and comments

Detailed Comments on teacher training and left-handed children

Teacher experiences and lack of guidance
Positive comments on teachers and lefthandedness
Views that teachers should NOT provide special guidance for left-handers

Writing left-handed

Equipment problems (scissors, desks, computers, other items)

Forced change of hand

Advice and guidance to help lefthanders


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10 comments on “Equipment
  1. Pauline says:

    My grandson aged 6 is a lefty who attends a very expensive private school here in Melbourne Aus. There is little to no help for him. They continuously stick his weekly spelling list on the left, causing him to cover up what he is attempting to copy. I despair for little ones like him. It’s hard enough for kids to learn without this sort of handicap added Thanks for all you do at ALH.

  2. Patricia says:

    I am left-handed, but learned to cut with scissors right-handed. I am very glad I was taught this way, because now I do not have to carry left-handed scissors with me through life.

  3. Susan says:

    I was born in 1953 and started Grade 1 in 1958. No kindergarten in those days. My teacher tied my left hand behind my back and tried to force me to write with my left hand. In those days everyone thought left -handers were “mentally challenged:. Once my mother heard about the hand tied behind my back, she put an end to that.

    I never had left handed anything to use. I had to learn to use everything with my left hand. My mother hated to watch me with a knife, thinking I would cut myself. I can’t use a computer mouse with my left hand, I golf right handed, use regular scissors in my left hand and haven’t mastered left handed scissors. I can’t write right handed without a great deal of effort. I write with my paper slightly turned to the right and only use inverted writing when I need a “legal” signature.

    Even now I get people commenting “I didnt’ know you were left handed”. So there is still some sort of stigma attached. I used to work in a fabric store and almost every day some customer made a comment about being left handed. I never had a respectable comeback to them, though I did have many that shouldn’t be said in public.

    Your article and other comments are quite interesting

  4. Melanie says:

    I am also a lefty. I had a hard time with scissors because right handed scissors hurt my left thumb and finger closest to it all the time. Growing up in art class there might be 3 or 4 righty scissor and only 1 lefty one, and that was in CT in the earily 80’s.

  5. Marti says:

    I guess I grew up in a very progressive area. I grew up in a small midwestern town in the 80’s. I am right handed & I remember that the only thing worse than getting the lefty scissors or hockey stick was the left handed desk! My 4 year old is left handed & hasn’t started school yet. So far she’s doing ok with making her letters & using “righty” scissors, but I guess I’ll need to watch these things more closely as she enters the public school system.

  6. Alex Smith says:

    Schools should remember PE when considering those left-handed.
    I spent many a dull hour having to just bash other kids’ ankles with my hockey stick because I couldn’t actually play with a ‘normal’ stick (purely to keep warm you understand!). Same problem with golf.

  7. Angie says:

    In high school we had the chairs with the desks attached…. to the right side. I always turned myself towards the right side so I could properly write.

    When I got to college, the problem I had was in lecture halls – all the desk attachments to the seats (think theater seats) were on the right side. There was no way to move so as to accommodate my left- hand. I would bring my bookbag with me to those classes, put it in the left seat next to me and pull up the desk attachment to the left of me. It seemed to work. Only problem was on testing days when they required at least one space between you and the person next to you. Because I was using the left desk, they always thought I was cheating. So I made sure to add an additional space to the left of me. It would throw off the row, but it worked and my professors soon understood why I did it.

  8. Jeanne says:

    I didn’t even know left-handed scissors exsisted until I was in college, so obviously I never used them. I just cut right-handed. And I tried using a left-handed desk in college but I was just so used to my elbow hanging out in the air that I just could not get comfortable in it, and I went right back to a right-handed desk.

  9. Jane Jackson says:

    A few years ago my head of department accidentally ordered a class set of left handed scissors. One day I asked my students (most of whom were right handed) to attempt to use them. To be fair to them they tried but it was interesting to watch them struggle. It really showed how difficult it is to use the wrong equipment. Even as a left hander I was surprised by how much they struggled. The positive out of this experience was that the left handed scissors were distributed throughout the classrooms and I no longer had to loan out my own personal scissors to left handed students.

  10. Christine says:

    I remember in my music class in high school we had chairs with attatchments for writing. All were fixed to the right side. I had to use two chairs, to the annotance of my classmates and the teacher. There wasn’t always a spare chair for me to use, so i had to rest on my knee, than I would get marked down for the state of my handwriting. I couldn’t win, glad when i could choose my lessons, I dropped music

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