English Teacher Uses Typewriters to Improve Spelling

Posted by Community Relations Department on 1/18/2012

English teacher Ryan Adney likes typewriters.  He collects them, refurbishes them and uses them in his classes.  He discovered a 1952 Royal typewriter in the school library a couple years ago, brought it to class, and the students were fascinated with it.  He decided to experiment with   14 typewriters of every size and shape in his 10th and 11th grade English classes, to find if students could improve their writing skills.  Here were his findings: 

“1) Students who use a typewriter on a daily journaling activity and coupled with intensive spelling corrective activities tend to score higher on spelling assessments than students who complete the same intensive spelling corrective activities without a typewriter. 2) Most students feel that composing on a manual typewriter imparts their work with greater value. 3) Students enjoy using typewriters in a classroom setting. 4)  Old technology can be highly interesting to adolescents,” Adney reported.

 Apparently that old technology is coming back, like turntables and records.  Adney’s quirky approach to teaching attracted the attention of CBS Morning News reporter Bill Geist, who visited Alhambra to do a story about the Adney and his class, January 17.  

Adney published a report on his typewriter experiment, and found that 68 percent of his students felt their spelling had improved and 100 percent said they enjoyed using the typewriters to write in their daily journals.