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Left-Handedness Cured In Schools

Left-handedness cured in schoolsA 1922 newspaper story about schools in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA reported that:

“An intensive campaign to cure left-handedness among pupils in local schools has resulted in a reduction from 250 to 66, which is less than one half of one percent of the total of 13,000 pupils.”

Given that the real level of natural left-handedness was almost certainly more like 10% of pupils, that is an awful lot of suppression and forced hand-changing!

This was included on page 215 of a huge work on left-handedness published in 1967…

Left-Handedness – Behavioural Implications and Anomalies

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11 comments on “Left-Handedness Cured In Schools
  1. Roger says:

    I grew up left handed. I remember my teachers trying to make me right handed but I was too stubborn. They talked to my parents who asked why I should write with my right hand. They said that I would smear the ink when I started writing with a pen. My father then asked them if every Arab and Chinese writer was left handed because they write from right to left and would smear their ink if they were right handed. That stopped the teachers from trying to “cure” me right away.

  2. Paul says:

    A teacher in my middle school tried that stunt. When my father found out it never happened again. Turns out he went to Catholic school when he was a child and the nuns rapped his knuckles with a ruler.

  3. Dr. Billy Levin says:

    Left handed is associated with ADHD ,Either right brain dominance(behaviour problem) and/or left brain immatirity (learning problem,

    • Roger says:

      In a left handed person can the brain functions not be a mirror image of those in a right handed person? After all, identical twins can be “mirrored”.

  4. Dr. Billy Levin says:

    Left handedness is associated with Right brain function, You can force the right hand to take over but you cannot change the brain, Roger Sperry,s Nobel prize explans all.

  5. Diana Amaniera says:

    I am a 71 year old left handed female. I was born and raised in NYC, USA and I attended 12 years of Roman Catholic schools. Also some college but not catholic. As a very young child (under 3) I learned to write at home and I used my left hand – no one else in the family was left handed. When I started school at 5 it was obvious that I was going to have a problem. Nuns who taught the classes tried by scolding, beating my hands, embarrassing me etc. When we were taught script in 3rd grade I would shift my paper so that I could comfortably write without inverting my hand. Always a problem.

    • Paul Miles says:

      From the Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday January 1st 1902
      Left handed children should not be taught to do violence to a strongly-implanted instinct and use the right hand, whether they will or not. Such a training not only inflicts upon the child a useless amount of hardship and inconvenience but may do him serious harm, even to depriving him of the power of speech. According to the latest scientific discoveries, all manner of havoc may be wrought with the brain by the adoption of this mistaken method of teaching left handed children to use the right hand. This discovery is the result of experiments lately made at the University of Chicago, which has gone more deeply into the modern subject of “child study” than most of the universities. It is Professor Smedley, director of the department of pedagogical investigations, who has made the most fruitful experiments with left handedness. He discovered that by far the greater majority of mothers looked upon left-handedness as a defect to be overcome at any cost and that the child was, in consequence, forced into a most uncongenial system of training.
      The greater number of children so trained, says Professor Smedley, are defective in speech. By endeavouring to substitute the use of the right hand, the nice balance of the brain is disturbed and, besides producing far less manual dexterity, the power of speech may be impaired. It is also a matter of record that left handed persons are in games of skill more proficient than those who are right handed.”
      So in 1902 it was known that forcing lefthanders to write with their right hand caused disturbance to the brain – even brain damage. Therefore it must be considered a crime for anyone to continue forcing such a change – this can also be termed child abuse. I have taught such children and bear witness to the psychological problems they have suffered. And yet there are still those who, even today, perpetuate such abuse of children. Report them to this group, please.

    • Brian vaughan says:

      I was in my first school age 5 in 1952 and my teacher to tie my hand behind my back if she saw me using my left hand I was a twin and he’s not left handed she said I was stupid while he was bright .my Mother went to see the head master but he didn’t want to know so we ended leaving that school. Far from being stupid I have two degrees . My point this was the 1950s not the dark ages

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