”You need to write in cursive”, said my practicum teacher as I was writing the course plan on the board. Her comment made me feel very self-conscious, I hadn’t written in cursive since sixth grade. I barely remembered how to write my name. I thought ”No one ever writes in cursive anymore, what’s the point?”
Although I myself never write in cursive anymore, when I step in the classroom, I need to remind myself that cursive is these students’ reality. I never rethought about it until last saturday. I was eating my breakfast and my mother reading the newspaper when she exclaimed ”No more cursive? In the USA, schools decided not to teach students to write cursive anymore, what a shame…They are even talking about teaching children the art of keyboarding instead…” and she went on raving about how, when she was in school, cursive was made obligatory for years and that not learning it anymore would consist in the beginning of the end. The end because she refers to the contemporary shift to technologies as scandalous and as a HUGE mistake. She went on grumbling about how people won’t even be able to handwrite anymore and that everything would become computerized. She even mentioned that this will make children lazy and undisciplined. When SHE was in school things were SO MUCH better, right?
I could not help but to disagree with her to some extent. I must agree with Katie Zezima in her NY times article, that it is normal to be questioning whether cursive teaching should be abolished or not. As she mentions in the article, many documents are ONLY handwritten in cursive style and if ever people stop learning cursive writing, they will not be able to read some documents of major importance such as The Constitution.
It is no secret to anyone, cursive writing is not as relevant as it used to be a thirty to forty years ago, when my mother was in school. Lined sheets have become word documents, notebooks have become iPads and textbook have become e-books. I am not not surprising anyone here…This is going to be our reality in just about a few years from now. I will not be surprised when one day my (future) kid has written on his school material list ”an IPad”.
Although I must admit that teaching students cursive is a great way to make them disciplined, I do not think that learning cursive or not will determine a child’s success in life. More and more, children will need to be able to write on a keyboard much more than to be able to write perfect cursive letters… Does it mean kids should master the art of keyboarding?
I don’t think so, although I definitely think that children should be taught how to write on a key board as young as possible. I mean, this is not undermining their skills, but it is giving them the preparation that they need in the 21st century. What I am saying here is that children should be given opportunities to get acquainted with writing on a keyboard early in age.
Today’s education IS different. This is why us, teachers need to adapt. Unlike my mother, I do not believe that computarization will result in the end of high level of thinking abilities or in the students becoming lazy. I think it is the other way around. Computerization is about making some tasks easier and faster in order to leave more time for an extensive and critical processing of information. For instance, it allows to reduce the amount of time needed to look for information. This process used to take hours on end for people to look at every single book. Today, one only needs to access databanks online and retrieve any information related to the subject of interest. it is easy and fast. This leaves a lot more time to analyze and understand the information. Doesn’t that will make any work A LOT better?