Monday, 4 March 2013

The State of Cursive Handwriting

A birthday message between cousins, postmarked 1911

My recent post about the vintage railroad postcards and in general people's reactions to traditional cursive handwriting from the early 1990's and before made me look into the state of cursive handwriting today. I myself was taught how to write in cursive when I was in infants school - I don't remember the extract age but I must have been around 6 and to this day I still write "joined up" although so many people (Joe included) have issues reading my handwriting - I call it spider sprawl - the result of four years in university lecturers and writing quickly. Hey I can read it ... most of the time). 

Then I got to remembering a news story about schools and states wanting to stop the need to teach cursive handwriting, stating a lack of interest - especially in this fast paced technological era when people abandoned the pen and snail mail in favour of texting and emails. Even a teacher in this Center Daily article cites the cursive form as existing; "now for thank-you notes and letters to your grandma". The school in which said teacher works at is in Pennsylvania - a state which educates pupils to the Common Core State Standard for English - a standard which does not require the use of cursive handwriting in high school. And while it's still taught at elementary schools, it's certainly not leveled as a fixed requirement in later years. Such a difference to my education when throughout school cursive was often considered the only way to be writing.

Whereas in North Carolina, the reintroduction of cursive instruction is being billed - a move following California, Georgia and Massachusetts who have reintroduced cursive as a teaching requirement and is being considered in Indiana and Idaho. While writing in cursive not only helps you to be able to read older manuscripts like the postcards I've been scanning in, but learning and writing in cursive has been argued to help encourage student creativity and more importantly brain development

Nevertheless there's always going to be people who think teaching cursive is a waste of time. I myself think cursive should be maintained and encouraged and keeps the art of penned notes and writing alive, there's far too many emails and texts flying around and anything that might encourage penmanship is more then welcome. 

So now I ask you, do you think cursive writing should still be encouraged? Or is the teaching and learning of computer skills more important in this technological era?

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  1. I only write in cursive...When I went to school it was so mandatory that it was sort of drilled into my head. I think it's terrible that it is not a requirement anymore and I think more states need to push for it back!! It's so pretty...I hate to see it being a dying art!

    Ergo - Blog

  2. I think it shoudl still be taught in schools, but then I'm quite old-fashioned in that I prefer written letters to emails and texts, and have lots of penpals to whom I write regularly.

  3. I was taught cursive in elementary school. My daughter, however, was only briefly taught cursive. So maybe it is going to become a thing of the past. Although, come to think of it, my husband from the UK was never taught cursive. Maybe it has been on the decline for longer than we realize, which is too bad because I think it looks rather fancy.

  4. I taught 5th grade for a long time, and the kids came to me writing in cursive. By the end of the year most of them had a nice, adult-looking hand, but then they went to middle school and they were not required to use it. Within a short time they all were using a blend of print and cursive that was hard to read. But at least they know how to read it.

    Learning specialists that argue for cursive say that it is an entirely different thought process than is typing. It really is a shame that so many places are letting this skill die.