It caused me considerable concern when I read that the American Government had dropped teaching cursive writing from the core curriculum in 2010. They have left it up to the states to decide if it should be taught in elementary schools. Some have decided not to teach the writing and reading of cursive script. Their students are not being taught to read or write past the printed letter.
Does not teaching how to write have repercussions other than affecting the way we develop and record our thoughts? Is it even a concern that we become solely dependant upon smart phones, tablets and computers for recording our words?
People may have asked the same question as the motor car replaced the bicycle or television replaced evening family interaction. Change produces change and each alteration to our lifestyle needs to be considered for its own new path. If we haven’t looked far enough down the path before we have taken the first few steps we may arrive at a destination we did not desire. I do not think an obese society and world environmental problem was what Henry Ford envisioned with his Model T; nor did Steve Jobs foresee family members retreating to separate rooms when he wanted to bring the world together.
What damage can possibly be caused by not teaching cursive writing to young students? I have already encountered a young postman who has difficulty delivering hand written letters because they used “running writing”. So we don’t receive our mail, is that a problem these days? The fact the young man could not decipher or decode the letters on the envelope is of greater problem to me.
Cursive writing as with all writing requires the development of fine motor skills; skills that come with practice. The fine dexterity of finger and hand movement learned by a seven or eight year old is the same skill required to tie shoe laces, do up buttons, place a nut on a bolt or to produce a painting. I have already begun to see within my tuition experience young students unable to control letter and number formation between 8 millimetre lines or contain them within 7 millimetre squares of a quad page. Is this a problem?
When I was in primary school the pencil and then the pen was an important tool to my learning. Our teacher came in early to prepare the black board with the day’s lessons. These lessons were copied into our notebooks. Maths problems were copied from the board or the text book before being solved. Our scholastic days were filled with scribing and learning. Our weekends required us to compose an essay just so we could practise our scribbles and improve our imagination. Even now I produced drafts for this post with pencil and paper before committing them to digital creation.
Reading, writing and arithmetic formed the foundation of independence for an individual. With all three mastered a person was armed to contribute to society, create wealth from nothing and control their destiny. I am afraid the removal of just one may have an impact on creating an independent individual.