If you are not a teacher, then you probably tuned out the debates that began a couple of months ago regarding cursive writing. The thing is, cursive doesn’t seem to hold the mandatory benchmark that it used to when, say, I was a student. Many claim that handwriting is moving quickly to obsoleteness. With all of our e-media and e-communications, it is pointless to waste time teaching you kids how to write in cursive.
"Nowadays, parents would be pretty upset if we sent kids to handwriting camp," he said. "Kids just don't write letters now. They send e-mails or text messages. ... A lot of those old ways are going away. How many bills do you pay by writing a check anymore?" (Article here)
However, what I find most interesting is in the same article, “they” claim that a nationwide survey was given to educators, and out of all of the teachers responded, 90% claim that they teach cursive. (The teachers surveyed were first through third grade teachers, but I couldn’t find where they said how many or if more states responded).
Of course this subject interests me especially so as an English teacher. Just last year they added a new benchmark to my requirements of teaching. And if you haven’t guessed, it’s cursive writing. I was appalled. After all, isn’t that something that elementary school teachers should be doing, along with teaching phonics? I recall my own elementary school years; it was a grueling task practicing my cursive. I had a difficult time with the letter “s”. I just could not get it perfect enough for my teacher. Man, was I relieved when I “grew up” and it was acceptable for me to add my own personal flair to writing.
Now though it is different. I have students in my class who cannot read OR write in cursive. If I ask them to sign their name on a document (behavior contract or grade contract, usually) they can only PRINT their name. It is shocking. And then I have to start asking myself the same questions that were brought up in the debate. Should I be as worried as I am? Does it truly matter?
When was the last time that I actually wrote? Outside of signing my name to a check or a birthday card, I cannot truly remember. It might have been when I sent in my money for the Game On diet to Amanda. And prior to that? Who knows!
What do I handwrite? Lists. I make a lot of lists. Dates in my planner. Let’s see, sometimes I pass a note back and forth in a boring faculty meeting, but more than likely, I just text.
When do I use e-communications? Uh, almost for everything! Even this post, I’m typing in MS Word rather than handwrite it. I send tons of emails a day (I detest talking on the phone). Even with my mom, who I love bunches and talk to frequently, it’s all through texts, twitter, or facebook. (Unless I’m seeing her in person of course). My grades are done electronically. Notes from meetings, lesson plans, weight watchers. All done electronically. Rarely is anything handwritten.
Glancing at the two lists above, you might think hands-down I’m okay with allowing cursive writing to move to the wayside, wouldn’t you? I mean, I hardly use it, why would I care if my students know it. My answer might not make sense rationally, but I can’t help but think that as much as I dig technology and everything that it has allowed for us, I can’t help but wonder if we are losing out on traditions that one day we will miss. Does that make me a Luddite? I don’t think so. Should we no longer teach addition and subtraction because we have calculators?
Finally, I can’t help but wonder if the bank will accept a printed signature when my students sign a mortgage to their first house?
Curious, what are your thoughts about teaching cursive?
I’m glad that this past week has left me unscathed. I did not fall asleep in the car while driving home from my many late nights at school. The basketball games were exciting and the Star Light Dance was amazing. This week I will begin auditions for the talent show at school and work another basketball game. Luckily the upcoming weekend is three days. *sigh*
I've been a big ole' slacker on the blog. I'm hoping to get some posts written this evening since I have quite a bit going on in my cluttered mind.
This week, I read
· Seer of Shadows by Avi
I plan to read
· Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (continuation)
· Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill (continuation)