GUEST BLOG: Touch Typing

25/04/18

Hanna Craig works at Pitman Training High Holborn in London. In this guest blog she talks about her own experience with touch typing, why it’s such an invaluable skill to learn; and also offers tips and advice. 

Most jobs nowadays require you to use a computer. This means more and more people are finding their keyboard skills are holding them back, especially with the vast amount of emails they have to respond to. This is why self-taught typing has evolved and bad habits can be created, frustration and the temptation of throwing your keyboard against the wall sounds all too familiar, please read on!

I started working for Pitman Training back in 2007 after changing my career. Unfortunately, I had never had much use for computers in my previous job and when using a keyboard I was slow and constantly looking down, instead of at the screen.

Touch typing and computers were not taught when I was at school. So, when I took a touch-typing course at Pitman at the age of 30, I was surprised I could touch-type properly within 2 months. And, within another 3 months I had reached a speed of 60 wpm!

From then on I became focused in this area of learning as I couldn’t believe how many of our students didn’t know how to touch-type properly. From this we at Pitman Training then decided to run a 2-day touch typing seminar alongside our online course. As I had done so many typing inductions and corrected my own typing over the years, I was eager to take on the seminars.

I have been teaching this method for over 10 years now and what I found from most of my students, was that they like me, were not pushed at school to learn to touch-type and over the years just got on with it. Many were on my seminar because of similar issues:

  • RSI – repetitive strain injuries
  • Bad backs and shoulders
  • Constantly looking at the keyboard
  • Slow typing
  • Not able to type faster than 45 wpm
  • Bad habits, constantly using backspace

The first question I ask any student when starting a course in touch-typing is what method they are using at present. This always gives me an indication to what level they are at and what personal support needs to be given.

Four methods of touch typing - which one are you?

  • 1. Hunt and peck
  • 2. Buffering
  • 3. Thumbing - mostly used on smart devices

All the above are self-taught methods and usually need you to look at the screen and keyboard. Most people find that when self-taught they can only reach an average typing speed of 45 wpm with a very low accuracy (lots of mistakes).

  • 4. Touch Typing Method – Pitman Training

This method is taught through muscle memory and doesn’t need the sense of sight to find the keys. This means you can concentrate on other tasks whilst typing, you won’t make too many mistakes and will continue to increase your typing speed potentially as high as 60-70 wpm!

Typaz is an online software program that I use through Pitman. It has been designed for pupils at schools and colleges; therefore it is simple and easy to use. I have downloaded quite a lot of free and paid-for typing software and, without sounding biased, Typaz is the best.

Online self-study touch typing

The Typaz typing course is fantastic for home/centre study and can be done at the students own pace. This is how I learnt to touch type and within two months I was touch-typing at a speed of 20wpm with an accuracy of 90%. What I found great about this course was that even though I could go at my own pace I still had support from the Course Supervisors in the centre.

I find that most people find it hard to motivate themselves when doing a typing course so the 2 day touch-typing seminar is best as it tutor-based as well as using the online software. 

2 Day Touch-Typing seminar

This way of learning to type is condensed into 2 days and can be intense but you learn the method very quickly leaving time to practice your speed after the course.

I’ve even had students get to a speed of 20wpm, taken our Pitman Typing test and received a certificate grade in touch typing, all within two days!

Going forward

One of my biggest comments from introducing students to touch typing was “I wish I had learnt this at school”.

Unfortunately it is still common for schools not to teach touch-typing even though all children will eventually use a computer at some point in their life. From this, I have extended my typing skills, teaching students under 18 years old; to my amazement they learn very quickly how to touch-type and most of them only within one day. I have two kids, one at primary school, and have had discussions with parents and even the Headmaster about touch-typing; this is something they would love to be taught at the school.

This will be my next challenge, touch-typing in schools!

Tips on how to touch-type properly

If you are going to learn to type, the most important part is getting the method right. It is all in the movement of the fingers. Typing is a repetitive movement and once each finger learns a new key confidently you can move on to the next.

After your fingers have learnt the individual keys you will need to focus on accuracy; you want to be reaching above 90%. This is really important as this stops you from constantly using the backspace key and hitting the correct key each time.

Once you are typing with all fingers, without looking at the keyboard at an accuracy of 90% and at a speed of 15-20 wpm you are ready to concentrate on your speed and move away from online software!

 

 

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