Is Cursive a 21st Century Skill

Here’s an interesting article reflecting the differing arguments in the US over whether schools should still spend time teaching cursive writing.

New York Times – The Case for Cursive

The arguments in favour that are given in the piece are varied. On the one hand someone is advocating cursive to develop fine motor skills, while another just feels that it’s an artistic pursuit that the children should experience. Against are all the arguments about computer use and the basic functional requirements of using writing to communicate.

Here in India there’s another factor. The article confirms my existing understanding that American schools that still teach cursive typically do so in Class III. However, here we teach it from Class I and I know of some schools that start earlier even than that.

I have to confess my own bias tends to be against cursive writing. However, I’m never quite sure to what extent that is driven by bad personal experiences with handwriting in primary school which have left me with handwriting that would certainly never win any prizes!

So, if we did away with cursive tomorrow I don’t think I’d be grieving. However, I know there are many who remain very attached to it and would not want to let it go. So, I really want to hear others’ perspectives.

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4 Responses

  1. Cursive writing is a beautiful art form that connects the letters with swoops and curls. It is an art form that is unique to each individual student. No two handwritten letters are the same even though each word written is identical. Cursive writing speaks about the student’s personality and the type of day they are experiencing.Pleae don’t air the negative feelings of the cursive writing ,think positve and keep alive the traditional methods and focus on that rather than changing the concept.History repeats itself so time is no far when old methodology will be proved to be the best. Just time factor —

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      In my case i had a primary school teacher who was determined to ‘cure’ me of left-handedness. By the time she had finished with me, i can assure you there was nothing beautiful or aesthetically pleasing about my cursive writing – more like the aftermath of a spider tripping through a pool of ink and across the page!

  2. I do find cursive handwriting beautiful…but as a teacher getting students to practice and be comfortable with cursive at a tender age of 6 [ class 1!] was a rather disturbing experience.I can still feel the joy and a great sense of pride as my students wrote in their beautiful handwriting in the good old days when print was ‘in’.I also felt that the students looked forward to writing and they knew how to gauge the neatness of their own work .
    Today as a teacher of the 5th grade, I am delighted to see some of my students write in print and they are comfortable to share their workspace with peers who have equally beautiful cursive handwriting!! Both groups take more or less the same time to complete their work !! Hence, I still wonder if it is really necessary to make enforce cursive writing?!! I am all for calligraphy…to allow children to imbibe the skills and enjoy the aesthetics of handwriting.
    My elder son who has been shifted to a boarding school has taken up calligraphy. Incidentally, his English teacher also teaches him calligraphy..and 2 months down writing neatly and aesthetically comes naturally to him!…..and now he looks at written assignments a joyful activity ..!!

  3. I do find cursive handwriting beautiful…but as a teacher getting students to practice and be comfortable with cursive at a tender age of 6 [ class 1!] was a rather disturbing experience.I can still feel the joy and a great sense of pride as my students wrote in their beautiful handwriting in the good old days when print was ‘in’.I also felt that the students looked forward to writing and they knew how to gauge the neatness of their own work .
    Today as a teacher of the 5th grade, I am delighted to see some of my students write in print and they are comfortable to share their workspace with peers who have equally beautiful cursive handwriting!! Both groups take more or less the same time to complete their work !! Hence, I still wonder if it is really necessary to enforce cursive writing?!! I am all for calligraphy…to allow children to imbibe the skills and enjoy the aesthetics of handwriting.
    My elder son who has been shifted to a boarding school has taken up calligraphy. Incidentally, his English teacher also teaches him calligraphy..and 2 months down writing neatly and aesthetically comes naturally to him!…..and now he looks at written assignments a joyful activity ..!!

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