Jun 12, 2011

The Death of Cursive Writing

It was disheartening to hear on the news recently the decision to end cursive writing in school. We spent long periods of time practicing our cursive in school. I remember the parchment looking lined paper where we would painstakingly practice our letters. At the time, we hated it but as I look back now, it became an essential part of who we now are. Our energy and emotions go into the words we write and leave an impression. But that is all coming to an end. Cursive is no longer required of school curriculums in 41 states with Georgia now leading the charge in implementation. The keyboard has replaced the pen. This will come back on us as we take another misstep in the conservative Dumbing Down of America.

Writing is an art form. The swirls and flourishes that we place on paper speaks to others. It creates a connection that an email, text or blog fails to establish, the emotional connection. I remember when my son was in Basic Training, he would write home. Opening those letters and seeing my son's handwriting brought him home to me for a time while I read them.

In researching my family, I have gained emotional connections just on the handwriting alone that I otherwise would have never experienced. Memere's diary, who I never met because of her death years before I was born, reveals her kindness and love she had for Pepere, Dad and the other children just by seeing and holding the words she felt, written in her own hand. These qualities I now see in her daughter, my aunt. Without these words, I would have never truly known.

There are expressions of love, favorite recipes and daily experiences that gave me a window into my grandmother's daily life and a chance to know her just through her writings, by seeing this written in her own hand.

When we create crafts with paper work, do we use text messages and emails??? No!! we use old Sheet Music or French script or handwritten letters

The beauty and warmth of the elegant writing is much more appealing visually and emotionally than the letters that you see here being typed out on my computer.

So what will our children miss out on as they type on their phones and computers spitting out hurried messages that seem to create a sense of obscurity, anonymity than socializing with a real person? I am afraid of the answer. I am not saying that the technical social media is bad as it serves a purpose of communication and education. But the dissolution of the arts that teach us word recognition and eye-hand coordination as well time, perseverance and pride in our work will be disastrous for this generation and beyond. Handwritten journals and diaries will become a thing of the past. Not to mention another loss of an art form.

One woman said that she was afraid her future grandchildren would not be able to read the script letters of her grandfather that were written during WWI. I have to agree. Even those in the Educational and Science fields agree that this will not beneficial:

"Of course it's important to know how to typewrite," says associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger's Reading Centre. "But handwriting seems, based on empirical evidence from neuroscience, to play a larger role in the visual recognition and learning of letters."This is something one should be aware of in an educational context," she stresses.In other words, those who learn to write by hand learn better."
So years from now as people research their ancestors, they will most likely see typewritten documents with LOL, ROTFL and OMG and nothing else!!! The saddest part will probably be their inability to recognize any other style of writing...disastrous for all fields of education as "no child left behind" goosesteps forward.

Thank You for you time in listening!



Dear Mrs. Page: How right you are about this. My grandaughter, age 7 loves cursive writing and was trying to get her mother, age 25 to help her. My daughter couldn't remember many of the letters. Luckily, I'm an old dinosaur and can still write - which I'm going to make a point of doing more!

Hausfrau said...

This is so sad!

Linda said...

It is sad and it does look like it is up to the parents and grandparents to see it continue...Hopefully there will not be many schools who will implement this... but it is the little things eliminated that will make the biggest impact on these kids and how they learn...

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