I want you to think back to when you were in elementary school, before the dawn of the iPod, iPad, even the modernized laptop you use everyday. If you were like me, you spent an extensive amount of time practicing writing your cursive letters. I can remember slowly and meticulously writing down each letter, making sure it looked perfect, then getting up and showing my teacher, who checked it, and usually made me go back to my desk and practice some more. I remember her (and the rest of my elementary school teachers) saying, “Cursive is a vital skill you need to perfect. In middle school and high school, you have to write EVERY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT in cursive, print is a thing of your past.” In reality, I can count on my right hand the number of times I’ve had to use cursive in my life for the past twelve years, with the exception of my signature.
With the decreased use of cursive in our school systems lately, the question remains for future educators: Is cursive a thing of the past? How much emphasis should be placed on learning cursive?
I recently saw a picture of a roll sheet from a college class where they are expected to sign their names in cursive. If this is how adults are signing their names, is learning cursive even necessary?
In the public arena, it seems that the answer has been given. Many school districts are incorporating more technology into their classrooms. Some have even transitioned into an open technology policy, allowing students to bring phones, laptops, tablets, etc. into their classes to help them learn. To save paper, assignments are typed up on a computer and submitted online. Some textbooks are even available online. With the direction that our world is moving into the age of technology, cursive is becoming more and more irrelevant.
While many public schools are ready to throw cursive out the window, some private schools beg to differ. A local private school requires students to write in cursive one hundred percent of the time. Many teachers believe that cursive allows students to write more fluently and helps their ideas flow. They believe it is also a good tool to use for developing fine motor skills in young children (Rodriguez 2011). To read more about the argument for keeping cursive in the classroom, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/us/28cursive.html?_r=0.
Another argument for continuing to teach cursive is that if children are not able to write in cursive, then they will not be able to read cursive. They will be unable to read historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, or even the handwriting of their teachers and family members. A student at the top of their class who cannot read cursive could be at a severe disadvantage in his or her future workplace. In order to make sure this does not happen, cursive should continue to be taught in schools.
Both sides make very valid points. On one hand, cursive is outdated and used less frequently in this day and age. On the other hand, cursive is beneficial in the development of fine motor skills and reading of historical documents. The choice is up to those in charge of developing curriculum for the schools. It is important to see both sides of the argument in order for a sensible decision to be made.
By: Abbie Middleton
Rodriguez, Rachel. (2011). Cursive vs. typing: Which should schools teach? Retrieved from http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-24/us/cursive.writing.irpt_1_cursive-handwriting-lessons-penmanship?_s=PM:IREPORT