Thursday, July 24, 2014

back to cursive...

Students now tell their teachers when they've been told to read something written by the human hand, "I don't do cursive." What a dumb thing schools have done to eliminate hand writing from our student's educations.

The value of learning cursive is revisited in this article, Cursive is ready for a comeback. Its not that cursive is really ready for a comeback, but that it should be. Unfortunately, reading and writing cursive is not an easy thing to adopt once its been lost, and most teachers these days are more used to poking keypads, than writing real words on paper with pen and ink. If policy makers were to choose it or our schools to pursue it, who would teach it? Just as we've wondered who would teach wood shops if policy makers in that case would come to their senses about learning, we've retired most of those who could teach.

I can easily remember my own school days, when the students in Omaha Public Schools were required to have a certain kind of ink pen with replacement cartridges, so that our thoughts would flow unrestrained in a manner that teachers might read with ease and that we might write with style... and so we read cursive as well as writing it.

History is full of documents written by the human hand: documents like the declaration of Independence, and letters written by soldiers during the Civil War. Without the ability to read what others have written, we have lost something significant of ourselves... the ability to touch and learn our own past.

When I was in Bødo, Norway, everything was new, built after the Nazis bombed the place in 1941.  It was odd being in a place in Europe that was so new compared to places like Tronheim, Bergen and Oslo, but war does that to cities. Our culture is now being bombed in a destructive a manner by our digital devices. The ability to understand and interpret monumental works from earlier centuries is lost as student confess, "I don't do cursive." If the only tool you have is a laptop or ipad, all the real creations of mankind are little more than indecipherable scratches on scrap paper.

If you don't do it, you won't know it and what little you do know will be Jack.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Anonymous9:40 AM

    I would have to respectfully disagree. What is important is that children learn to communicate via writing, and cursive is not a requirement to do that.

    To be honest, (excluding signing my name which is just a scribble anymore) I can't remember the last time I needed to use cursive. Any form I fill out on paper asks me to print, and any writing I do is on a computer. Cursive is just not required anymore.

  2. Most people can say the same thing about algebra... haven't used it in years, and yet algebra is a developmental thing, and the mental capacity and sense of confidence one gets from succeeding at learning algebra is considered to be important in education.

    Cursive may not be required, and whole states have done away with it in their curricula.Usuallly the break down on seeing the value of it, falls along the line of who's good at it. Those who were successful in it tend to understand its value in schooling and those not so, would do away with it.

    I like it because it is one of those things in school where you actually are doing something that is connected to hundreds of years of human culture, and that requires practice and the development of skill, rather than sitting passively and doing little or nothing in relation to schooling. Those who succeed at it know what it is like to put beauty on paper.