Should cursive handwriting be pushed over the cliff? Why are there those who want to hasten its demise?
Cursive handwriting isn’t being taught in some public schools around the nation and one might wonder why. Mostly it’s because the school day has been filled up with other things. Children are pulled out constantly for extra help of some kind and in some cases curricula on left-wing values has been added. Primarily it’s the testing driving it all. The little time children have left is devoted to passing the tests, tests that at times have little to do with a person’s future potential for success.
There is something else going on however. Cursive handwriting is being pushed over the cliff by the hand-wringing leftists in our society, not Democrats, but pensive pseudo-intellectuals who can never be satisfied. They can’t let anything evolve or devolve naturally – everything has to be controlled and manipulated.
One must ask why. They will tell you cursive is not needed and it’s dying out anyway. People can print instead, why learn two forms of handwriting? As an educator, I can tell you that cursive is faster once learned and it is particularly helpful for learning disabled children because of it’s fluidity.
The left will also tell you it takes too much time.
It takes about 15 minutes a day for a half month – with homework – or less if it’s incorporated into other types of writing instruction.
Cursive handwriting was conveniently left out of the Standards because of an ideology that says it’s just not needed.
The people in the movement to kill off cursive handwriting like to explain how nonsensical it is to think it necessary for youth to be able to read our Founding documents in their original form as if that were the argument for keeping it alive. That’s hogwash – that’s the only argument for it? I can’t read the bible in its original form. They also think cursive is nostalgic – what? to be able to sign your name?
The other argument for it they say is to improve eye-hand coordination but that’s unimportant giving the other opportunities to do that.
The real argument should be – are people going to print everything?
Should an educated society be able to write script?
Cursive handwriting was first introduced into the schools by Pratt Rodgers Spencer who developed the beautiful Spencerian writing we see in older writings. It was popular from the mid-1800s until about 1925 when it was abandoned for the simpler, rounded letters of the Palmer method after the typewriter went into widespread use. Other methods evolved mid-century such as Zaner-Bloser which is still used today.
Now, with computers, people think print is all that’s necessary.
Some elite schools, including charter schools, are going back to teaching Spencerian handwriting. Why shouldn’t students learn the art form? They can practice at home.
Vox is an extremely far-left website that camouflages a lot of their more leftist motivations. They put up this video. It makes good points but it’s one-sided.
Whenever the chaotic left want to prove cursive is dying out, they show Founding documents. Who the hay reads the Founding documents in the original anyway?
PBS wrote an article about the death of cursive by jumping from the writing on the Declaration of Independence to Ms. Hutchins class to calligraphy, all with the message that it’s as dated as the Founding documents.
The NY Times says let it die.
WaPo says it’s disappearing because it’s a traditional skill being replaced by technology. There it is – traditional – no place for that. Toilet paper is traditional too, shall we abandon it? Traditional is being associated with outdated and useless which is patently untrue.
CBS was more balanced in their assessment.
The left says cursive is no longer being taught but a study in 2007 by Vanderbilt University found 90 percent of teachers in both public and private schools said they still taught cursive handwriting. This finding might indicate no need for discussion on the lack of handwriting education, but debate over whether to phase out script writing has been going on for years regardless.
It’s also being brought back where it once was abandoned. After only a few years of not teaching cursive at Englewood Public Schools they’ve made the decision to bring it back. North Carolina joined schools making a motion to require writing and reading of cursive in late May as well. Alabama, California and Georgia took action to require cursive education in some capacity, according to a 2012 report by the National Association of State Boards of Education.
Handwriting isn’t just a matter of style — it’s a complex skill that affects your cognitive development and exercises your visual, motor and memory circuits. When you write, you build hand-eye coordination and practice fine motor skills.
A field of research, called “haptics,” focuses on the connection of touch, hand movement and brain function. According to the Wall Street Journal, studies show that handwriting engages different circuits of the brain than typing simply doesn’t. And those strokes and pressures of the pen actually send messages to the brain, training it in vision and sensation.
The process of handwriting builds pathways to the brain and studies show that it can lead to better grades. There’s a direct link between writing skill and academic success.
Some like to say it’s not natural. A lot of things aren’t natural. What’s natural about working on a computer? Who defines natural and what does it really mean?
What can and should be done is to de-emphasize script in terms of time taken out to teach it but continue to teach it. It doesn’t have to take two years and it doesn’t have to be perfect. All children aren’t artists but learning the value of it, being able to read it, and wanting to write well are traits to be admired and fostered. For some children, it’s what they will do best in life.
Handwriting is a fundamental right. While this video comes from Zaner-Bloser who have a stake in cursive’s continuation, they make some excellent points.
It’s for you to decide.