Foreword to the Book: The Left-Handed Child in Elementary School

von Dr. Johanna Barbara Sattler, Auer Verlag, Donauwörth, 1993

Until recently, primarily elementary school teachers were being confronted with a phenomenon for which there was no explanation. There were children coming from kindergarten, who appeared to be of normal intelligence, enthusiastic, and active. Once in school, however, these children suddenly began to change. By the time they reached the first grade, they had already started to fall behind. On the outside, they appeared to be somewhat aggressive and timid. Learning ceased to be a joy for them. Since this phenomenon did not just involve an isolated minority, teachers began to search for an explanation. For a time, it was assumed that the causes for this change might lie in the families of the children; the atmosphere of the classroom; or even in the teachers themselves. These early attempts at finding an explanation were mostly without success. Who would have guessed, however, that the roots of this problem could actually lie in the conversion of inborn handedness?

In 1987, the State Institute for Pedagogy and Educational Research for the School Advisory Center in Germany compiled materials on “The Left-Handed Child Starts Elementary School”. At the request of the Bavarian Ministry for Education, Culture, Science, and Art, this material was then expanded and addended in 1989 to become Suggestions for the Reception of the Child Into School.

Scientific journals and media reports then repeated the information to be found in these materials adding new dimensions to the issues to be discussed. Soon, it became more and more clear that a problem had been hit upon which was of the utmost importance for all those affected. Moreover, it became increasingly evident that it was impossible to be against the conversion of handedness without modifying, learning and work conditions for left-handers. Thus, in order to truly help left-handers and stop them from being disadvantaged members of our society, the real-life barriers facing this group had to be torn down step by step.

This new work represents the first, comprehensive, user-friendly guide for teachers and educators. It has been specifically designed for these professionals, as they are often the first ones to come into contact with children of the age-group most vulnerable to this issue. We hope that the information provided here will be quickly and efficiently distributed.

Dr. Peter Igl

Director of the Department of Primary and Secondary Education in the State Institute for Pedagogy and Educational Research Munich, Germany
© Copyright: Dr. Peter Igl
Consulting and Information Center for Left-handers and Converted Left-handers
(Erste deutsche Beratungs- und Informationsstelle für Linkshänder und umgeschulte Linkshänder)
Sendlinger Str. 17, D – 80331 Munich (München), Germany / Europe, Tel./ Fax: +49 / 89 / 26 86 14, e-mail: