Community Magazine

Cursive Writing…To Teach Or Not to Teach…That is the Question

By Jean Campbell

boy writing in scriptHear that…it’s the sound of teachers from long ago crying out in horror at that thought of cursive writing, or penmanship as it was called when I was learning script, being dropped from the curriculum in elementary schools.

We adults spent all those hours, long ago, practicing to perfect our writing skills.  First we wrote with a pencil, then on to a fountain pen and then a ballpoint pen. Is the coveted penmanship award to be another dust catcher on the memorabilia shelf displaying things that mattered in a bygone educational era?

Those in favor of doing away with educating our children in cursive writing claim those classroom hours will be better spent teaching other subjects. They claim that the computer and other digital devices are now the communications devices of choice and will only continue to be so in the future.

Still more support the idea of digital writing over cursive writing because it easier for most children to use and less frustrating for those children with physical disabilities. Yes, learning to use a keyboard can be easier than learning to write in script with no worries about illegible handwriting.  As a former educator of children with disabilities, I know and applaud what a great equalizer digital communication is for children with disabilities.

However, if we eliminate cursive writing instruction in school how do future adults sign their names to a check or a legal document? How do they demonstrate that they are the rightful holders of credit cards? How can they prove that they are who they say they are when victims of credit card or identity theft?

Will we return to those days of yesteryear when we made our mark when we didn’t know how to sign our name?

Maybe I am being sentimental about cursive writing, but I hate to think that future adults will only have printing to fall back on if they don’t have a digital device handy.

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