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How do you feel about the death of cursive handwriting?

personally I applaud schools for working to stay relevant.
They arnt doing away with literacy, just a style of writing which is no longer as prevalent as it once was.
Relevancy is good. Relevancy is not a replacement for grammar, spelling, or critical analysis, however.

It does no good to create a PowerPoint presentation if you have nothing to say, or cannot say it well.
 
I had to learn cursive, and when I took Russian in college I had to learn Cyrillic cursive. My kids learned it but their handwriting (print and cursive) looks like crap.
 
I think cursive is also the best method for hand note taking. It is faster than trying to write with print format.
 
These don't know and don't care high school seniors are able to vote at age 18. If they can be bothered, of course course.

Thing is, they can talk music or movies, or even athletic shoes or smart phones with a degree of detail which is amazing. Um, like, you know. :)
Hey, welcome to me world.

I asked the other day in class, "Who can tell me about (insert latest fad)?" Everyone raised their hand. I said, "The state is getting ready to add a significant tax per gallon on gas. Who knows how much?" Crickets.
I followed that up with, "Which one of those two things actually takes money out of YOUR pocket?" I'm still not sure they caught on.
 
I think a lot of this discussion has to do with the transition from analog to digital and how the tools of the times reflect the needs and activities of the times. In the early 1800's the world had around a 12% literacy rate(as per this site Literacy). That rate is now roughly inverted to 88% which is a huge change and has resulted in and exemplifies the massive technological transition the world has undergone in a very short time. As stated earlier, many of the young people who aren't learning cursive anymore are fluent in a technology that did not exist even 30 years ago. I don't know if I would place a value judgment on that change, but rather emphasize for myself, that I value cursive, and mostly for sentimental reasons, and I am teaching my son so he can have access to something from his past if he so chooses.

I think choice is another crucial element of the dialogue. Different individuals will choose what they feel important, and this is inherent in the freedom penned in the Declaration of Independence and more deeply in the freedom of will that we each possess. How and why these things are influenced is a much deeper rabbit hole than we probably want to get into, but on a cultural level, understanding where the pressures for learning come from and what is valued as a society; who is in fact making these value decisions, can help an individual understand their own choices. From a historical perspective, the individual in this day and age has more access to information to understand these things than at any other point in history.
 
It's weird. When I take classes for work and take notes, the notes are in sort of a half-cursive thing. Part cursive part printed.
This is how I 'write' with a pen too. Not sure how it came about, I just started doing it. At least it's legible that way.
 

JazzDoc

Contributor
Not being able to write cursive in and of itself isn't lethal. But the discipline to learn it, the practice necessary to make it second nature, the mental struggle to master it helps the young mind to grow in ways that are vital and necessary to live in the world. Hand-to-eye coordination is exercised, the ability to adapt and conquer new skills develops, the drive to overcome challenges - not to mention the building of confidence - are all qualities that everyone needs regardless of what occupation they choose.
What other skills have schools dropped? Think slide rules, letter writing, music, dancing, home economics, auto mechanics, basic math, history, the periodic table - the list goes on and on. Who needs slide rules - we have calculators for that? Who writes letters anymore, because everyone texts? I don't need to learn how to fix my car - I call the mechanic. What happens when the calculator breaks, or the cell battery dies, or your car quits without warning? Oh, there's AAA! (You forgot - your cell phone is dead!) These are skills everyone needs. And - if you're lucky enough that none of these things happen to you - the skills and disciplines you've learned from getting these skills overflow into other areas of your life.

And dancing? Well - besides being able to not run into your partner - it teaches coordination, timing, the ability to multitask (listen, seeing, moving, anticipate, etc), stamina, physical conditioning. Plus (for men) it teaches them a little of how to handle a lady. Call me old fashioned, but, I think young men today are SORELY lacking here. (And there's plenty of lack from the other end as well). How to hold a woman, how you lead her, teach her AND learn from her while working together. (I wish I'd paid more attention in dance class). The point here is - even if you're not a professional dancer - these skills are important. And I think we're doing a dis-service to kids by not teaching them.

Beautifully articulated. I'm with you 100%.
 
This is an interesting topic for me, as I have had an interesting relationship with my handwriting. Meaning I struggled with it until relatively recently. I'm in my mid 20s and I did learn cursive in elementary school, though it fell into disuse as it wasn't required once I got to middle school. Even though we did learn cursive there wasn't much emphasis placed on handwriting beyond a basic legibility. I wasn't particularly quick at it so print was more functional for note taking.

Then in high school one day I decided to start taking notes in script again just to alleviate the tedium of sitting through certain classes. I eventually got faster than my printing and it became natural. It still wasn't pretty to look at though.

Then in college I got tired of losing and buying pens all the time so I bought a fountain pen hoping that spending more than 50 cents would force me to keep track of it better. It worked! And it also caused me to asses my handwriting a bit more critically. I had to take all my notes by hand so legibility was important. And mine wasn't great. So mostly for functional reasons I looked around online for a script I enjoyed the look of and taught myself to write properly. After some reading I discovered that I had the mechanics of writing wrong. After this I actually began to get comments from my professors about my handwriting on exams and things. To this day, anything I do by hand is written in script.

All this goes to say that maybe cursive isn't a necessary skill anymore, but I think people do still appreciate and notice attractive, legible writing even in a digital world.
 
When considering the need to write something on a piece of paper, I find cursive to be faster than print. And I still think people need to be able to at least sign their name in cursive. We buy houses, cars, and enter into contracts that require signatures. And when we sent my son away to sleep away camp there were no electronics allowed. No phones. No iPods with screens on them. Only the little ones without screens. So we had to communicate with him via snail mail. We found ourselves anxiously anticipating the mail each day to see if we had received another letter from him. And what happens when or if something really catastrophic takes place that wipes out cell phone service on a massive scale as well as internet? We will once again have to resort to using pen and ink. I realize that if catastrophe does not occur, there may be little need to know cursive beyond one's signature. I guess I'm a little torn.
 
One thing has stuck with me from reading this thread. The American Declaration of Independence being written entirely in cursive, along with countless other important historical documents from around the world, none of which could be read by apparently many younger people.
The engrossed copy in the National Archives is in cursive. The official version ordered printed on July 4th 1776 was not. If you were reading the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it would have been a printed copy, not in cursive.
 
Not being able to write cursive in and of itself isn't lethal. But the discipline to learn it, the practice necessary to make it second nature, the mental struggle to master it helps the young mind to grow in ways that are vital and necessary to live in the world. Hand-to-eye coordination is exercised, the ability to adapt and conquer new skills develops, the drive to overcome challenges - not to mention the building of confidence - are all qualities that everyone needs regardless of what occupation they choose.
What other skills have schools dropped? Think slide rules, letter writing, music, dancing, home economics, auto mechanics, [summer camp, typing, wood & metal shop et. al ] basic math, history, the periodic table - the list goes on and on.

[...]
these skills are important. And I think we're doing a dis-service to kids by not teaching them.
Mr. Bonney:
...I couldn't agree with you more (I penned a later post just on thus subject), with the decline (and 'shame'...and I understand...be it financial, economic, technology, demographic etc...), of past tool-box life-skills! :thumbsup:

Write on.png "The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe". Gustave Flaubert
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
As I recall, Kate Gladstone has written on these topics and I agree with her. Again, as I recall, it takes very little time to teach a student how to read cursive in its various forms, and I think that is a worthy thing to teach.

As far as handwriting, I think virtually 100% of us who can write in cursive, and spent years learning how, naturally write in a combination of "cursive" and printing. If the touchstone of cursive is connecting lower case letters, the truth is sometimes it is faster and more legible to link letters, and for other letter combinations it is faster and more legible not to link.

And, to me, many traditional forms of cursive, such as the Palmer Method, have some terrible, indistinct, counterintuitive letter forms, that are far worse than useless, and ought to be abandoned as a general rule for any handwriting system striving to be legible and relatively fast, which I think should be the goal. As far as I can tell, we all end up hand writing some things in modern life. It is a useful skill to be able to do so legibly without carefully hand printing each letter. I do not support the idea of intensely training kids in something more ornate just for ornateness sake.
Seems to me kids have enough they should be learning in school already. When US math scores start blowing away the scores of other countries, I suppose I would be willing to revisit whether we should be teaching traditional cursive. Also, I would prefer to have students spend their time learning to craft understandable text using whatever method, or understanding higher end text, than perfecting Palmer capital Qs and Fs.

Just my two cents though.
 
My guess is that since most people don't bother writing letters (or anything else usually more than 140 characters) then why bother learning some out of date method of communication...pity.
 
I don't see it as learning math/science OR writing/literature. Students need to learn both to be well-rounded citizens. I'm pretty sure the engineers and thinkers who put men on the moon had to do both, and I'm certain they did it without a half-dozen standardized state tests every year.
 
This is an interesting topic for me, as I have had an interesting relationship with my handwriting. Meaning I struggled with it until relatively recently. I'm in my mid 20s and I did learn cursive in elementary school, though it fell into disuse as it wasn't required once I got to middle school. Even though we did learn cursive there wasn't much emphasis placed on handwriting beyond a basic legibility. I wasn't particularly quick at it so print was more functional for note taking.

Then in high school one day I decided to start taking notes in script again just to alleviate the tedium of sitting through certain classes. I eventually got faster than my printing and it became natural. It still wasn't pretty to look at though.

Then in college I got tired of losing and buying pens all the time so I bought a fountain pen hoping that spending more than 50 cents would force me to keep track of it better. It worked! And it also caused me to asses my handwriting a bit more critically. I had to take all my notes by hand so legibility was important. And mine wasn't great. So mostly for functional reasons I looked around online for a script I enjoyed the look of and taught myself to write properly. After some reading I discovered that I had the mechanics of writing wrong. After this I actually began to get comments from my professors about my handwriting on exams and things. To this day, anything I do by hand is written in script.

All this goes to say that maybe cursive isn't a necessary skill anymore, but I think people do still appreciate and notice attractive, legible writing even in a digital world.
Interesting. We have pretty much the exact same path, except now at 31 I've delved down the road of re-learning script. Is there a particular script or book you found useful to relearn? I've been focusing on writing more in my notebook at work instead of writing notes on my laptop. I also have a fountain pen that I've been using for about 8 months now. My script is decent when I focus, but degrades if I get in a hurry.
 
Interesting. We have pretty much the exact same path, except now at 31 I've delved down the road of re-learning script. Is there a particular script or book you found useful to relearn? I've been focusing on writing more in my notebook at work instead of writing notes on my laptop. I also have a fountain pen that I've been using for about 8 months now. My script is decent when I focus, but degrades if I get in a hurry.
I found everything I needed just poking around the internet. I googled script alphabets and just looked until I found a few that were appealing to me, then I tried writing each in turn to see which felt the most natural to write.

Then I also did a bunch of handwriting exercises to re-train the muscles to write better and really learn the proper technique for writing. It's been a few years so I don't have the links handy now but I'll see if I can find some for you! I also recall there's a fountain pen specific forum (not sure if I'm allowed to mention by name or not) that was a good help in finding resources.

For me it was a long process that didn't go as quick as I would have liked, but now I'm proud of my writing so I think it was worth it.
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
I don't see it as learning math/science OR writing/literature. Students need to learn both to be well-rounded citizens. I'm pretty sure the engineers and thinkers who put men on the moon had to do both, and I'm certain they did it without a half-dozen standardized state tests every year.
<I don't see it as learning math/science OR writing/literature.>

If this was responsive to me, I pretty much agree. However, I think American education is in a place where goals have to be prioritized. I hate to say it, frankly, but I think less essential skills such as cursive handwriting and, say, dancing, are naturally going to be de-emphasized in favor of more essential skills, and we are not doing a great job across the board on the more essential skills. I frankly think public education needs to become less academic, less liberal arts, and more directed to training folks in the skills of living and being in the work place. How we let kids graduate from high school without being able to balance a checkbook or understand a credit-card statement is beyond me. And I do think a high school graduate should be able to compose an understandable sentence.

As fulfilling as it is for the individual human being, I do not think we need to try to have every student familiar with classic literature. I think advanced studies need to be available to those with the talent and interest, for the good of society. But I do not think we try to train every child with the expectation that they will work on a moon shot.

I think it is a good question as to what students need to be well-rounded citizens. I do think we are a long way from providing that, whatever it is.

Sorry to go off topic. I guess as I think about this, as much as I like the idea of being able to handwrite a note, and as much time as I have spent in trying to improve my own handwriting, handwriting of any kind seems like a low priority to me for modern education!
 
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