Saturday, July 9, 2011
Cursive Goes Away: SO WHAT?
The State of Indiana announced June 30 that cursive writing instruction in the state is going the way of the dinosaur. It shall soon be extinct.
While part of me laments this decision, part of me is in agreement. Overall, I think this reform, coupled with a concentration on keyboarding skills for young students, is an appropriate step and change in education.
Our students live today in a digital world. Laptops, cell phones, and computers have replaced land lines, pen, and paper. Continuing to teach something that is truly an outmoded way to communicate could be considered unnecessary.
I think people equate pen-to-paper writing to actual writing skills, and that just is a connection that should not be made. Schools continue to teach writing skills that students will need to be successful. We are still teaching students to write as well as well as type. It's just the idea that cursive writing is heading out. Students are still being taught, as well, to read it.
I saw someone on Tony Bennett's Facebook page arguing that not teaching students to read cursive writing prevents them from reading our founding documents such as the Constitution. Frankly, I have found those documents tough to read. Penmanship has changed over the years. My grandmother's beautiful longhand has become largely "chicken scratches" these days. When you step it back to James Madison's day, longhand is almost indecipherable to me, and I learned to write in cursive. My cursive, however, is not the cursive that was drilled into my head by, frankly, my least-favorite teacher of all time in the second grade. My writing has changed over the years, but I actually think it's gotten better. What you find as a high school teacher is that neat handwriting is extremely rare. Typing is better!
While I feel bad that times are changing, I think that this is an appropriate reform by Dr. Bennett and a step in the right direction.