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  • vanessamccollum

    too often we relieve those skills, to those whom which can perform them... Let us challenge our youth and see where it takes us.

  • sheriberry

    I agree that cursive is obsolete. However, I am a genealogist and I spend a lot of time looking through old records and find that even though I know cursive, I have a difficult time reading old handwritings, even if they're in English. The Captcha argument is invalid- nearly every Captcha consists of wavy or distorted letters- they are not cursive. And I would not put so much stock into brain functioning. Kids born today are going to be smarter by age 10 than I will be in my entire life. Typing is a much more practical skill.

  • Iris Gray

    While I have nothing against cursive writing in and of itself, I think that teachers and school personnel (and also the person who wrote this article) should not penalize those of us who are unable to write legibly in cursive. Some people have motor skills impairments that make writing in cursive, or writing by hand at all, extremely difficult and even, for some people, painful. Disabilities like dyspraxia and dysgraphia make fine motor skill tasks like writing very difficult, and people who have those types of disabilities may be unable to produce legible handwriting. Before I learned to type, all of my teachers threw up their hands, shook their heads and said, "I hope you learn to type someday soon, because no one can read your handwriting." These days the most I ever write (or, actually, PRINT) by hand are phone messages; even my grocery shopping lists are typed on my cell phone or iPod.

  • Connor B.

    Strangely enough, I support the initiative to keep cursive training in schools; but IMO it shouldn't be a requirement for submitted homework. However, my cursive was so godawful that I quit using it in high school, and never looked back- my printed handwriting has all the style and flair of cursive, and is completely legible, and identifiable as mine.

  • MetricCook

    Can't say much, I'm a guy, my handwriting sucks, so the question should be is why female write are so good looking?


    I think that this is awful. I throughly enjoyed learning cursive in school and I see no reason why it can't be taught along with keyboarding. I think one of the reasons we are seeing so many problems in schooling these days is because they keep making decisions like this.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I actually wish I had taken more time with my cursive handwriting assignments. I always liked to get them done as soon as possible, and now my penmanship is terrible. I think there is value to learning cursive writing, whether it can be used for technology like CAPTCHAS or not. It can improve fine motor skills.

  • Antonelli

    So the defense for keeping cursive writing is... 1. being able to read CAPTCHAS, and 2. reading the Constitution?

    CAPTCHAS are rarely written in cursive. They're just regular print letters that are slightly swirled or tilted. The letters do not connect to each other.,mod%3D3&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=trOnUMyIAcnEtAbJmIA4&biw=1440&bih=737&sei=ubOnULS0FozktQastID4Dg

    Anyway, the CAPTCHA method of verification is something that will quickly become obsolete as developers figure out how to properly secure their websites without the need to place the burden on the user. It's such a minor aspect of our lives that will be gone in a matter of years anyway.

    And I don't believe we're ever going to misread the Constitution. The original cursive version is not the only copy, and it's not the only source where one can access what it says. It's been accurately rewritten in regular print and electronic type thousands of times over. You can even print it out right now before someone destroys the original

    As a designer, I love script, good handwriting, and drawing letters. I'm not opposed to keeping cursive in class. But I don't think the emphasis on it is that crucial. You can have good, professional penmanship without executing it in cursive. Maybe people hang on to cursive out of nostalgia? "If I suffered through cursive lessons, so you have to, too." I don't know. Some of the brightest people I know have the worst handwriting. They care more about the content of what they're writing, rather than about if the letters connect or not.

  • Lisa Rau Cannon

    Love the discussion here, as it recalls memories of Catholic school *rules of composition*... thank goodness I missed the boat on right-handed students-only mandate... But to your point, shouldn't both print and cursive should be mutually intelligible, if written clearly? Modern cursive, of course.

  • Erica Kleinknecht

    When students in my college classes switch from typing lecture notes to writing them, or from typing book notes to writing them, their grades go up. Typing is a motor skill that becomes "automatic" such that you can do it without thinking. You cant so easily separate thinking from writing longhand.

    • Liz Dwyer

      Now THAT is really interesting. I wonder if there any profs who ban laptops in class because of this.

      • Colin

        We have a teacher at CalArts who does not allow any form of technology because he believes "multi-tasking" is a myth and always sites "studies" that prove this. Although he comes off as a little pompous, I think it's totally true. If you sit in the back of a class with computers out over 50% are on Facebook, and almost all are not paying real attention.

      • Erica Kleinknecht

        Yes, some do. I strongly discourage it, but don't have a formal policy, primarily because I periodically have students with disabilities who need laptops to accommodate their learning and I can't call that out to the rest of the class.

        • Liz Dwyer

          As much as I love cursive, it's nice that, thanks to technology, there are those alternatives for those who need them.

  • hudasx

    There was a time you could tell which Philippine catholic high school a girl graduated from based on her handwriting. Anyone born before 1940 in the Philippines also had the same penmanship.

    • Liz Dwyer

      Fascinating. Is cursive still taught there? In general, I wonder how other countries' education systems are dealing with cursive.

      • hudasx

        I do not remember seeing those distinctive scripts among my college students when I stopped teaching five years ago, so the nuns who ran those schools must have given up. My dad and grandma were products of the American public school system when the country was a colony, and they both write in an identical disciplined style that has long been abandoned by current schools.

  • La Toya Lewis

    Ugh, so true. I'm mortified that my younger brother (who is 19) doesn't know how to write in cursive.

  • Pennie Boyett

    I teach English. The content that students write by hand and that they write on their computers (or phones) is different! Because hand-writing is slower, I believe that the writer can be more thoughtful about what words come next.

  • toni acock

    There is some information about personalities and social adjustment which shows that those who write good cursive are better adjusted and do better in academics than those who simply keyboard. Even better than printing...that said. I rarely scribble out my hasty checks without some clerk saying..."wow! You've got great handwriting." It always surprises me as I am being so hasty that it isn't up to my normal standards but it must be legible. Then I remember most of these younger people never had Penmanship in school. Too bad. They need to keep it if they have it and get it if they don't .

  • Michele Iza Royalty Jang

    Coming from a design student perspective, I cannot agree with you more!
    What about all the future typographers in the world? Steve Jobs took calligraphy in college which ultimately helped him understand typography and design.
    yay to cursive!

    • Liz Dwyer

      I didn't know that about Jobs. I wonder if the more tech-focused crowd that holds cursive in disdain would change their minds if this was more widely known. (Or am I the only one who didn't know this! :)

  • carolina.musick

    The brain research shows that students who use cursive show more "outside the box" thinking on tests like SATs and AP exams. The fine motor (tiny muscle) skills used activate a part of the brain that apparently can't be activated in other ways. I also read somewhere that because of thisin France, cursive is part of physical education and visual arts.

  • gary91045

    Bless your defense for cursive writing!

  • Colin

    After many years of being told I have "chicken scratch" handwriting I decided it was time for a change. I retaught myself cursive which was a huge pain and the 3rd grade quality of my work was a little shocking. But after a couple months it became fluid. After that I started developing my own stylistic choices for specific letters based on speed mostly. There was a reason we went to cursive in the first place, it is actually easier to write and lends a large portion of personality to this visually symbolic practice.

    Now some people still can't read my handwriting but they admit that it looks very nice.

    • Liz Dwyer

      What did you use to reteach yourself? The stylistic choices are key--I don't know anybody who uses the old school cursive Q.

      • Colin

        I did it from memory mostly. At the time I was writing a lot (poetry + a journal) so I just switched. It's very funny to see myself get slowly better and more fluid.

        Developing your style is the fun part. I kind of copied my mom who interchanges print and cursive lettering.

        For instance: I print capital G's, Q's, L's, F's, and Y's. Lowercase is kind of freestyle.

  • UrbanOasis

    After decades of using very exact printing to take notes for work, and having my printed note-taking severely criticized and corrected for legibility during a surveying course, I recently discovered that I had almost forgotten how to write in cursive! I decided to give it a shot again, and I've been finding that the things I write in cursive, I remember better. I can't explain it, but somehow it seems to stick more. I've also found that it feels really strange to my hand after so long away - as though it uses different muscles. Now I wonder whether it might exercise different grey matter, too.

    • Liz Dwyer

      I remember things I write--and these days I only write in cursive-- more easily than things I type, too. That's why I believe the part about the brain being stimulated differently.

  • vanessamccollum

    I call shenanigans... If students can learn "print" they should be able to decipher "cursive." If ANCIENT historians can teach themselves and others to read hieroglyphics, I think our 3rd graders will do just fine.

    • Liz Dwyer

      True. On the other hand, some of the printing is pretty atrocious nowadays, too.

  • Simmy Rathod

    In my elementary school cursive writing was compulsory. I think that cursive writing should be taught to all students. While writing a personal letter to your loved ones, the actual handwriting speaks more than the typed letters. How would one feel if we send typed letters every time? My friends get so happy when they see my beautiful handwriting on the letters I write for them.

    • Liz Dwyer

      True, you can't send an e-card/facebook update/tweet for every occasion.

    • angel23

      This is absolutely true. Today, though there are computers, people use cursive to write birthday letters and they even write in cursive on posters when they ask for prom or homecoming dance.

  • Alex Gorosh

    Cursive is beautiful but I agree that it's relatively useless these days. It would be a shame to see the skill become extinct, but there are plenty of subjects that are more relevant and useful for today's youth. For example, the future will certainly see more computer programmers employed than calligraphers, maybe we should teach coding instead of cursive?

    • Liz Dwyer

      I say we teach them both. What's interesting, however, is that kids who attend Waldorf schools have impeccable cursive by the time they're in fourth or fifth grade. The tech know-how is considered something less essential that can be developed later. Reminds me that I wrote something last year about how tech free schools are the hot new thing in Silicon Valley.

    • angel23

      Well, I agree with you that Cursive is becoming useless these days due to the use of more technologies even in school but there are exams where students have to hand write the essay like SAT. Cursive in this type of exam can help write faster and easier. It looks neat and creates a great impression on the reader.

    • nykeyawoods

      Share your thoughts or insights…I don't think coding should be taught instead of cursive. Being in the classroom, I see how these kids write. I can hardly read what they write and neither can they. If you can't write, how can one communicate? A lot of children don't have access to the technology coding would require, and that's just a basic computer. Pen/pencil and paper are more easily accesible for all children.

      • Jenny Groza

        I don't think the argument is learning to write vs. learning to code - it's just about cursive, which I agree with others is becoming more and more obsolete. To me, it's like calligraphy in that it's beautiful and reminiscent of older, simpler times, and something I learned in an after-school club in fourth grade. Even though most people can't write in calligraphy, they can still read it and I think the same goes with cursive. And as for the comments about receiving birthday cards that are handwritten in cursive: I only receive those from family members that are 60+. I think it's beautiful, though obsolete. Let's teach it as an extra-curricular!

  • Stuart

    I had to take a whole semester long class on teaching handwriting, cursive and print...I'll be mad if they get rid of it!!

    • Liz Dwyer

      You would've been Sister Paula's teachers pet!

      What really made me fall in love with cursive was discovering a stack of old postcards from around 1910 in an attic. Such beautiful handwriting back then!

      • Stuart

        I think it's a fantastic thing to learn! I mean, what happens when people don't know how to sign their name anymore because we aren't teaching cursive in schools?

        Ohh the handwriting back then was just so perfect wasn't it? it didn't matter what was saying, it looked like the most romantic words.

        I hope I get to teach it when I finally start...we'll see. I student teach in...about a month. I know they teach it at the private school I've been doing observation at, but I don't know about the public school I'll be at for student teaching.

        • Cheeto717

          I'm student teaching right now and at my school cursive writing has been gone from the curriculum for 2 year! Some teachers still teach it anyway though.