I want to begin by saying that I am not a teacher, although I’ve worked in education related careers for many years. I’ve been reading both sides of the cursive handwriting controversy, and I don’t believe that there is any good reason to keep cursive handwriting in the school curriculum.
Many reasons have been giving for saving cursive, yet I can’t help feeling that it is mostly a feeling of nostalgia that is fueling the fight. I don’t feel that nostalgia, and never thought that cursive handwriting was so wonderful to begin with. In fact, I read that part of the reason, other than speed, for the origin of cursive writing, was due to quill pens, which would drip ink when lifted off the paper. So it was more practical to have a style of writing where the pen stayed on the paper for an entire word. And if we are talking speed, computers are infinitely quicker.
Some teachers argue that the act of learning cursive handwriting has benefits for children. I am sure that there are other ways to get those benefits without teaching an unneeded skill. Our education system is still so behind in the technology skills that students will actually need to know to get by in the real world and many of those might incorporate those benefits with touch screens and educational video games.
Cursive might have been nice for those who had beautiful handwriting. But the majority of people did not. Think about how many times you had trouble reading a note from someone with terrible handwriting. And be thankful that doctor’s prescriptions are not handwritten anymore. People have actually died due to bad handwriting.
For those of you worried about signing your name, as more and more people pay bills and sign contracts online, it will be less necessary. However, any parent can easily teach their child how to sign their name. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Because I barely use cursive anymore, my signature doesn’t even look like my name.
And the argument that kids won’t be able to read the Declaration of Independence is utterly ridiculous. If you insist on reading the original, even though there are regular typed copies in books and all over the Internet, an inability to write cursive, doesn’t mean an inability to read it. Many kids learn to read print before they learn to write it.
And lastly, some people just don’t have the motor skills for cursive. My son, a straight A student, struggled over it, and could never write in cursive so that it was legible. So all that work didn’t even help his fine motor skills. Luckily, he never had to use cursive again in his life and has a successful career.
And by the way, if you are nostalgic for handwritten notes and don’t want to lose that, see the movie, Her. It takes place in the future, and Joaquin Phoenix’s character has a job personally handwriting letters for other people. That might just be a good business to open soon.