Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No need to teach cursive writing

Typically changes to primary education in our country is slow to proceed. To my surprise there’s a push to remove cursive writing from school curriculum and it’s gaining momentum. I’m shocked at the support from even older long time educators.
It turns out in New York State our English Language Arts curriculum only requires legible manuscript either print or cursive. I don’t have a background in education but I do know what kids will need to be successful.
I’ve never been a fan of the current D’Nealian cursive or its predecessors. 
Teaching me in 1st grade that a capital Q was written like a number two was the first time I started to question the intelligence of my teachers. I have never seen anyone write the letter Q like that so it didn’t make sense.
My recommendation would still require penmanship but instead of cursive teach the topic of “script”.  What young minds need to know is that there are a variety of “fonts” that can be used to express feelings beyond just words.
fonts Instead of teaching kids a single cursive writing style, allow them to choose a particular font to practice their penmanship. Teach kids how different fonts should be used for different purposes. A font used for a business letter won’t be the same used on a poster to help find a lost puppy.
I’m all for continuing to teach penmanship but get rid of cursive and let young minds expand. Let them know there are many ways to express what they write. Even if for some reason computers disappeared this wouldn’t be useless information. The knowledge of scripts and how to use appropriate fonts will carry on in future language studies in older grades.

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Anonymous Mandy said...

What about a person's signature? One should at least know how to sign in cursive their name. Personally, I hate receiving thank you letters from my grown relatives that are teachers or other professionals that look like the printing of a first-grader. I just see all this as a decline in our society. I really don't think it would take that much time away from elementary education to teach cursive writing. You teach it and then let the child expand on it to develop their own style. (I guess you can see this is one of my pet peeves.) Sign me old and grumpy but, it just bugs me.

8:48 PM  
Blogger rd said...

I work in a school distric and have seen some of this "printing".
Most high school students print like 3 graders. Please........

5:56 AM  
Blogger Emil said...

I agree with Mandy on several points, particularly the decline or dumbing-down of our culture.

I learned cursive many, many years ago. Since that time, I've personalized it to suit my taste several times. I think everybody does that.

So, I have to wonder who is behind this initiative and what their goals are. Is cursive dangerous? Does it cause kids to fail math, science, etc.? Goes it cause kids to pull a gun on their classmates? This is the least of our education woes. Refocus your efforts on solving real problems!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Al the Engineer said...

On a practical level, handwriting is much quicker for a person to use when taking notes or any other occasion when a keyboard is not usable.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous david hays said...

My writing is a cross between "cursive" and printing, makeing nearly unintelligble, even to me sometimes. Some basic form of cursive should be taught, if, for no other reason than discipline. Then keep requiring it throughout school, on essays, etc. The point on signatures is very good, however too many signatures end up being a line nearly. Readable by no one.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Zarggg said...

Maybe this idea could eventually lead to people no longer using Comic Sans in office memoranda.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wil take an oposing stand in that this is merly evolution. cursive has no place other than signatures though we have digital signatures aviailable to us. Soon we will all be writing or typing on an tablet or simialr electronic device in the future and eventually moving to thought readers and beyond.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Grand Daughter at age 17 had a very difficult time reading a gift card from her Great Grand Mother. It was then that we learned that cursive is not taught in school

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really Billy, Remain in your racket ,your thoughts on this subject is as valuable as Obama taking credit for way to many things that
remain clueless to him.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

I don't know of any law that requires a "signature" to be in cursive. Many years ago, possibly in the Whole Earth Review or Coevolution Quarterly there was an article about how children learn to read and print at the same time and by the end of second grade they are starting to be able to put their thoughts down on paper. Then in third grade we take that away from them by telling them they can no longer print but have to learn a whole new way of writing stuff down...the process of translating thoughts to paper is interrupted by having to spend time learning cursive; so they lose at least a year of developing the ability to write down ideas. The author also pointed out that while cursive might look nice it wasn't practical or utilitarian for filing out job applications or order forms. (I had a semi-retired professor in college in the 60s who could sometimes be persuaded to write stuff on the board in the Spencerian Script he had learned 70 years before...beautiful stuff but not very practical for daily usage.)

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Fred said...

Of all the nonsense that is taught in schools these days (please don't get me started on Roman numerals), I think cursive writing is a minimal candidate for deprecation. It's a highly practical skill and it's really not that difficult to learn. You did it, right? So did I and everyone else. However, I do believe that it is taught too early. Fifth or sixth grade might be more appropriate.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding "rd's" comment:

EXACTLY THE POINT! Your comment sums it up more perfectly than I bet you even realize! What do I mean?

You say that you, "work in a school distric..." PERFECT! Educators who no longer want to teach cursive writing... are they going to be the same ones who will now instead be teaching TYPING? SCARY...VERY SCARY! Perfectly exemplifies the current state of affairs in American Education.

You gotta laugh... Thank you rb for posting such an unknowingly insightful comment.


(NB: ...even more concerning? To date, no one else before myself today has brought any attention to this amusing, but very obvoius, faux pas!)

(NB: Please understand that my comments are in no way meant to either demean "rd" nor to disparage his/her character, abilities or qualifications. My intent was just to point out the sincere irony of the situation and how it so simply and beautifully exemplifies the larger problem at hand as already so eloquently presented by the other commenters here.)

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Meadow Muffin said...

I'm almost 50 & still never learned to write in cursive. I have mixed feelings on this though.
I needed to be able to sign my name after becoming an adult so I had several friends write my name in cursive & choose the one I liked then practiced it over & over until it was fluid.

10:27 AM  

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