A Survey Of The High Rate Of Failure In Shorthand


Shorthand has  had long history in it’s development and  use closely parallel the development and use of long hand. there are considerable evidence that shorthand was in use before the beginning of the christian era. The  early Greeks have been  employed to take down lectures. And record poems recited at such national meeting as the Olympic games in abbreviated writings.

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To day, business men and  professional make use of shorthand to  enable the writer  acquire speed, skill and efficiency.

Omege, I. C. (1993) who delivered a  paper to the national association of student secretes (NASS) of the federal polytechnic, Bauchi define shorthand as any sign  written to represent something which is meaningful to the writer in my own definition shorthand is known as a time saving system rate of  failures in shorthand had been an age long disease to the people on the profession from secondary commercial schools. Shorthand is phonetic and makes  use of English language.

Union T.A (2002) Chief lecturer in the department of secretarial studies, Kogi state polytechnic Lokoja, advice student who are beginner in this field to ensure that the language operation which is English should be polished and improved upon. This will go a long way into assisting in easy understanding and application of the principles. This is instrumental to the compulsory credit pass in English language at olevel as a pre requisites for entry in the profession. The following are some of the  basic skills which help the students to perform efficiently in shorthand.


According to hornby (1989) ‘Mastery is the art of having complete control knowledge of something. There fore, the mastery  of shorthand involve the learning of the consonants vowels signs short forms phrases, contractions, paper placement position writing and the movement of one’s writing material. For a shorthand learner to master the art of writing easily, the pen or preferably the pencil with fine rib should be held hightly not grabbed as is the case with long hand writing the fore arm should rest on the desk while the wrist should be flexible allowing only the little finger and probably the next one on it to glide along the line of writing smoothly. The student should not forget that he is learning to write by sound not by spelling. The sounds are represented by district signs which can not be mixed if care fully observed.

Agbo (2004) emphasized that for a student to perform better in shorthand, the student should be a fast writer. The introduced to the student the timing system of writing from 1-100 to test the speed of writing which he said will help to increase he said will help to increase the speed of writing shorthand

Udenuagwu (2005) emphasized on the  need for sound knowledge of English language. He points out that a shorthand writer needs the skill of quickly grasping the meaning of the passages well as applying techniques in order to help the writer to meet up with the speed of dictation. It means that for a shorthand he must acquire a mental analysis  of the sounds of words, chooses to write and be able to exercise it without conscious effort.

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Skill  is the ability to do something well through practice. Tonne Ojuchukwu (1999) et all believed that skill is based on the use of one’s knowledge effectively and readily in executions performance or the habit of doing any particular thing completely.

For a learner to acquire the basic skills, he must be able to exercise the acquired knowledge effectively, demonstrate it well with complete control of the  activity.

The student should thoroughly master the rules, principles, techniques and apply it through constant practice, constant reading of shorthand  and drilling will help the student in forming adequate style of writing although shorthand style  varies a little from one person to another with the same strokes but different outlines. The most important aspect of shorthand is to be able to re-read onme’s outline and transcribe it efficiently because a  given symbol may represent two or more words.  This gives rise to some principles that should be considered.

Canning (1976:88) presented four essentials elements to which concentration must be given, they are:

  1. Lightness of touch: He supported smiths (1970) theory that lightness is a factor in speed. The pen or pencil lightly and in a manner as to permit easily written character and allow easy identification of the thick and light stroke
  2. Speed and cursive: T acquired speed  in writing the student need to be cursive in writing, according to pitman (1845)  to promote expedition in writing the advanced photographer may join two or more words together and this sometimes express a phrase without removing the pen. A beginner tends but with constant practice the accelerated speed will be achieved.
  3. Uniformity Distinction of size: caring (1976:89) stated that students should be allowed to write nationally provided that the style adopted is not exaggeratedly large or small as to pose real problem of legibility”. The studies should have uniform length and distant distant for head  and light strokes.

(4)     Correct Formulation: shorthand outlines must be carefully written so that a good formation would result. This helps the shorthand writer tremendously in the course of vowels also help in transcription of outline.


The concept aural comprehension is listening and understanding  and the conduct of every day life depend on the to and for of the spoken word. Every teacher of  the office skill realizes soon after beginning to teach how vital a part of the student success or lack of it depends on how well they can listen and understand which is demanded for the three or four  minutes or more at a time a classroom instruction and the recording from the spoken world that is involved in writing shorthand or typing from avoid.

Canning (1974) presented some factors that hampers understanding.

Acuteness of hearing He stressed that it one can not hear, he can not understand, and if he can only hear with difficulty or have to strain to hear his understanding is bound to be less. This may be caused by actual hearing defeats or inadequacy on the part of the speaker or of the  speaker or of the environmental conditions of listening.

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English language  is the most commonly used language in the word today most people still find it difficult in differentiating between vowels consonants such as sound from R sound.

Canning said that familiarity with and a basic intellectual grast undoubted element in  aural comprehension and that students should know the English structures and punctuation for a reasonable  and progressive  framework for understanding.

3).     VOCABULARY: Obviously if very limited understand will be less and the failures to grasp several word in a statement will lead to a general waste of concentration and  interest so that the whole will suffer from the part.

Pitman (nd. 104) observed that  perhaps the most important asset of a stenographer is a sound knowledge  of words that is to know the meaning of many word and their shorthand outlinne

Canning said also that the study of shorthand is itself a valuable means of improving vocabulary.

  • Idioms And Interest: English language is rich in idioms and figurative expression. Shorthand students are advised to work on understand and learn idioms.

The subject matter of what is being listed toi further important factor in comprehension. When a student have a natural interest a content, his  listening will be correspondingly more concentrated  and he will in consequence understand better.

Generally student are much more used to absorbing what they can see than what they can hear and they will learn still effectively if they can see and hear simultaneously canning gave five facts to illustrate this

(i)      Giving daily listening practice.

(ii) Extending the content range beyond the narrow business field into topics of basic  interest today e.g population etc.

  • Using script plu speech before using speech alone
  • Fostering concentration by every possible means such as: the deliberate mistake the request for a repletion of the last six or seven words searching questions on detail and a reprise asking for the missing word. `
  • By using the situation techniques as in e.g a tape or cassette in which the student listen to two or three different voices discussing in a particular situation.



Shorthand teacher has every right  to decide on what method of teaching to adopt. It is necessary for him to consider the students the school and its nature the4 time of meeting periods of teaching text books and his own training experience. Shorthand teacher is very important in imparting shorthand skill to students. There are so many problem even counseling that the student need for adjustment. Without the teachers, these may in some cases, weigh the students down discouraged shorthand teacher must himself be a  master. No one teaches what he does not know. Even as shorthand expert, the teacher should continue to practice his shorthand so as to be able to demonstrate every principle for the student to see. In imparting a skill like. Shorthand the rule should be giving example through demonstration rather than asking the student to do as he said

The teacher should mind his pronunciation since shorthand is based on sound rather spelling. He should given equal attention to all student and make them to know the objective of the lesson or course that is being to able to writer from dictation and transcribe it. Teacher should ensure that the student understand one principle and are able to prove this through evidence of efficient drill and practice and also  mastering the “task your self “ units of each principle before they are allowed  to process to the next principle. Giving sufficient assignment and correcting students will faciliate mastery. As soon as sufficient ground is covered dictation should introduced to test the ability of the students. In either case, students should be made to read back their own shorthand outlines. Teacher must see that the students understand the mechanics of the New Era system and that position writing  must be followed and even  strictty observed from the beginning. This is an area that deeply tests the knowledge of  the shorthand principle and the basis of the whole system.

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Time spent on careful preparation can bring reward in the form of  self satisfaction and student success.

According to Titterton (1974) Teacher of shorthand should before dictating a passage read through it and note any specially difficult words or phrases that are not familiar to the students during  the dictation  and teach them before or after the dictation.

Titterton (1974) said that the teacher must be well organized in his preparation an sollows

  • The class and its individual problems must be nborne in mind when lessons are prepared.
  • All class work and time must be carefully planned with as little wastage as possible.
  • Full utilization of material available
  • Improving where necessary on materials.
  • Careful study of feedback from student’s since it is the best check of success or failure


Tetterton (1974) suggested various ways of teaching shorthand. The class can be divided into group to create attentiveness from the student. The group can all participate in drilling and reading back from dictation from their own notes  this will help the student in forming a correct style of writing and recognizing the symbols. Again if an avoid trainer system is in use speed development can be assessed and a careful note made of student progress.

According to pitman tape recorder is important in the teaching of shorthand because it provide shorthand practice from recorded dictation while the teacher can move freely round the classroom looking variety not only in subject but also with different voices and different accents.

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