March 15 2014

I Love Steno: The Student Edition- Theory

Theory is every students introduction to stenographic writing. Steno theories can range from writing everything out, to “short writing,” to a combination thereof.

Theories that emphasize writing everything out focus on getting a stroke for every syllable of a word. Writing a word out syllable-by-syllable is a very useful skill to have in your writing repertoire. This method of writing especially comes in handy when you encounter words that are unfamiliar to you. It can also be helpful when you are writing multisyllabic words. However, a theory that focuses on “getting a stroke for every sound” can be very constricting when you are writing steno at high speeds.

Steno theories that emphasize “short writing” encourage the writer to write words with a minimum number of strokes. This type of writing can be advantageous when writing with speed. However, when it is not combined with the skill of writing unfamiliar words syllabically, it can lead to hesitation when the writer hears unfamiliar words.

There is also another very important part of stenographic writing, phrasing. Phrasing is usually also emphasized in “short writing.” Phrasing provides one-stroke briefs for oft-heard phrases such as, “I don’t think so, what is your name, I don’t know, etc.” In my opinion, phrasing is a very important part of the formula to successfully writing at high speeds. Phrasing is also helpful in relieving writing fatigue. Being able to write multiple words in a single stroke greatly cuts down on hand movement.

As a student, you have a great stake in the writing methods that are taught to you in theory. These methods will be the foundation of your writing and have a direct connection to how successful you will be at writing at high speeds.

Here is where students can benefit from my 20/20 hindsight. This is some great advice that I wish I knew as a student: If you want to get an idea of how effective your school’s theory is, ask the students in the last speed class, particularly students who are at the 225 testing level.

Be aware that some schools will teach you to write everything out. Some skills will also fail to teach you the skill of phrasing, or will introduce phrasing into the teaching curriculum at the high-speed level where it will be extremely difficult for the student to quickly implement it into their writing due to months or years of practicing a technique that excluded the skill.

Be alerted to the fact that there are some schools that have a self-serving agenda when they teach you to write everything out. Learning the long way of writing will likely slow your advancement through the high-level speed classes, thus allowing the school to collect more of your tuition money when your progress grinds to a halt. Therefore, I reiterate, ask your schoolmates in the higher speed class if the theory they were taught has been a help or a hindrance to their advancement through school. Ask students in the high speed class how long they have been in the class. If there are students who have been in the last speed class for an inordinate amount of time, despite practicing diligently, this could be a sign that they were taught an ineffective theory. It will be helpful to you as a student/potential student if you are able to poll some of the higher speed level students BEFORE you enroll in a school.

Best wishes on your speed journey.

Love, Speed & Accuracy,

Elsie Villega

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Posted March 15, 2014 by Elsie Villega in category "Some Words From Elsie

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