Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cursive Writing

Yesterday on the radio I heard an interesting statement. Someone (third grade teacher, maybe?) suggested that cursive writing was an obsolete skill, and furthermore, that classroom time once devoted to perfect loops and undercurves would be better invested in keyboarding skills.

So I'm a little from the old school. My teacher training included a required class in handwriting, complete with three hours of academic credit. Drilled into my head during all those loops and connections and capital Z's: Teachers have to learn to write correctly if they expect to pass the knowledge (art form) to the newest generation. My professor was a stickler for correctness, as in when there are double t's, each t gets its own cross line. That kind of stickler. I won't even mention the weeks we spent on "how to write on the board without turning a sentence into a waterfall at the far right edge."

Needless to say, this revolutionary declaration set me to thinking. Are teachers spending time on an unnecessary skill? Is block printing good enough? I'm asking myself, me, the teacher who refused to accept papers written in print from my fourth grade students after the first six weeks. Me, the teacher who counted words as misspelled if the cursive turned them into a different spelling. Those m's and n's and r's, my how they look the same when written in haste by a fourth grade boy eager to finish his homework and run outside to play.

That's the point. Haste. Cursive is the answer to the pick-up-after-each-stroke block printing that is slow and inefficient. However, along with converting to cursive came the leaving-the-comfort-zone syndrome. Students groaned, moaned and sometimes rebelled, the Muggie Maggies of the world.

Now their day has come and maybe it's time. Sad, though.

Cursive writing was part of the curriculum through the upper grades at Pilot Mountain School. During the 1950's one teacher in particular enjoyed teaching cursive. Once a week, she would swap places with the seventh/eighth grade teacher and for an hour, teach his students the art of communicating through precise letter formation. She would be sad, I'd think, that her passion for this grandiose flow of pencil across paper is being challenged.

Or would she?

Catch of the day,


1 comment:

  1. Just another "lost skill" like diagramming and spelling?