Cursive

Some form of the meme keeps popping up on my timeline: “Share if you think schools should teach children to write in cursive”.  Every time I see this I want to ask why?  Why do children need to learn cursive?

“Share if you think schools should teach children to write in cursive”

Why is cursive important?

There is no doubt that cursive allows for us to write more quickly when taking notes.  It is an efficient form of communication for those contexts in which writing is used.  As a result, generations of students have been taught cursive writing to enable communication through this means.  Through cursive writing, we also develop our signatures which provide an important way of identifying ourselves for legal purposes – like when we sign contracts and make purchases with credit cards.

Communication in 2018

The fact is, however, communication is undergoing a significant transformation.  There are few places now where paper is the primary means of communication.  Instead, messages are sent via e-mail, text, messenger, and face to face communication.  Students have access to computers to take notes and information is available online through educational software to promote computerisation of education.  Purchases now happen through pin numbers and tap reducing the need for signatures.  Few need cheques given the ability to use paypal, e-transfers or credit/debit cards.  Even contracts are being modernised through docusign technology where electronic signatures are created and used.

Lessons take time

Recognising the shift in how we communicate, educators need to allocate class time to those topics which are important for students to learn.  Each choice fills in a block of time, limiting what else can be taught.  So then, what will not be taught if educators choose to continue to teach cursive?  Is this a sufficient priority to take up time in the education process?

But what about talking with grandparents?

One of the reasons I have heard to support cursive is that it allows children to communicate with their grandparents.  I am all for communication across generations and can understand how frustrating it might be to realise that grandchildren might not be able to read the birthday card sent to them by grandma and grandpa because they do not know cursive.  Is this a sufficient reason to include cursive in the classroom perhaps at the expense of other communication tools?  Or is it possible that grandparents could utilise other communication techniques, say printing which continues to be taught in schools, when they send those birthday cards?

What do you think?

When faced with those memes, how do you respond?  Do you like and share – promoting the teaching of cursive in schools?  Or do you think that it is time to accept that cursive is no longer as useful as it once was and that perhaps it is more important to spend time teaching other means of communication – like keyboarding skills?  We would love to hear from you.

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