Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Basic Handwriting for Kids
Teachnology: Handwriting Worksheets
Donna Young's Cursive Handwriting Practice

Wikipedia on Cursive

The Handwriting Is on the Wall
Why Learning Cursive Is Bad for Kids

What do you think . . . should we still be teaching cursive handwriting?


Ed Latham said...

I got into an argument with some elementary teachers 3 years ago. When I say argument, I mean that the teacher was trembling with anger and asked me to leave. My contention was that all of the time spent on teaching cursive was a waste for my children currently in their class. I proposed that they learn how to type and tried to show all of the different palces that typing was used. At the same time I shot down every one of her attempts to demonstrate how cursive was still "necessary". After a kid can sign his/her name, I contend there is very little NEED of learning cursive. Maybe it should be introduced into a caligraphy class in the arts? At any rate, this teacher and I disagreed.

Fast forward three years. When I approached this school system to see if they would be interested in some of the awsome PD help that the MLTI/eMINTS crew is capable of, the system jumped right in. Ironically, the teacher that has shown the most excitement and energy is that same teacher that I had disagreements with on cursive. After working with her for a few weeks now, I find that she does not stress cursive any more as she feels that typing is more important to her students because they need that skill on the computers they use.

We have all sorts of identificaiton methods comming out. From chips embedded into people to retnial scans and all sorts of wacky things. One could argue that these new methods are less secure. I remember learning at least 3-4 ways to do some cursive letters. I guess that artistic representation of our name is more secure in the sense that no one can agree on how we should have been forming each letter anyway.

For those that do still value the instruction of cursive in school as a manditory practice, I would like to hear your rational and have a discussion. BUT, you must contribute your input using only cursive letters on this forum!

diane-fhs said...

A student told me today in a random context that he had never been taught cursive. I just looked at the writing samples I assigned today in three classes of mostly freshmen and sophomores. Every single one is printed as opposed to being written in cursive. So could it be that some school systems have already let it go? Mine seems to have.

My own writing on the board in class is printing because my cursive looks horrible. Handwriting was my only low grade in elementary school! The only thing I do in cursive is sign checks and documents.

I'm not an elementary teacher so don't know what the arguments might be for continuing to include it in the curriculum. From a secondary teacher's perspective, I am very happy to have student work printed or typed. I'd be all for having schools teach keyboarding instead of cursive. I took typing my freshman year of high school as an elective and am very glad I did. After all these years of using it (my freshman year was 1970-71!), I have a pretty high rate of speed/accuracy. I wonder if the reason that some of my colleagues are resistant to computer use is that they can't type. I sit in meetings with a lot of people who are poking out every letter with their index fingers. That's not typing. It must be really frustrating to use computers that way. So I agree with the other comments; let's consider keyboarding as one of the computing skills that needs to be taught in school.

Jim Burke said...

Diane . . . I too have found that the most worthwhile class I took in my public school years was typing. I suspect that I could have given up any of the requirements and it wouldn't have made much of a difference, but the typing was empowering for me.

I too have suspected for quite a long time that the resistance to computer use by some is simply the difficulty in using the keyboard. We speak about it being "all about the Learning," but unless there is some fluency in using the major interface presently on the computer, everything will come with difficulty. Lack of essential tool fluency can effect whatever might be learned with that tool.


George Crawford said...

Looking at the issue from an elementary point of view, children like to do cursive even though all are not successful at it. I like seeing first and second graders asking when they are going to learn cursive. In our school, kids usually start cursive in the third grade. They like writing in cursive when they are learning it but some still find it difficult. Some third and fourth graders have a hard time reading cursive but they get better at it. Cursive should still be taught. It is good for hand to eye coordination and some children are impressed by how neat they can do it. The kids also look at it as a "rite of passage" growing up.Many students also don't realize that legally your signature should be in cursive when asked to "sign your name."

As one whose cursive isn't the best, I don't use cursive often. My cursive improved in college after taking a handwriting methods course. It got messy again quickly when taking notes in class. I still can write neat if I try. I like cursive but use manuscript or printing most of the time. It is clearer for people to read and easier for me to write. Stiil I don't think cusive should be eliminated.

I have some German ancestors and have some old papers written in German that my mother or aunt could not read because they were written in German in an old script. My grandmother as the only one who could read them because she learned to write that way. In another twenty years middle aged teacher can all become handwriting analysts if it isn't taught anymore. Nobody young will be able to read it. Older teachers will be experts at it after years of grading papers. Imagine the possibilities for retirement income!! ;)!