In a recent ABC news article, it was suggested that cursive writing is becoming obsolete in the classroom. Since penmanship (supposedly) does not increase past the third grade, there is no reason to continue to teach it. Most schools require homework to be typed, not handwritten. Here’s my thought, even if penmanship peaks, if you never hand write anything your writing will get worse. You’ll get rusty. Second, what kind of children are we raising? For me, I write all of my work longhand. There is a mind-hand connection there that really started to develop in junior high/high school. My writing is more fluid and I connect with my subject matter easier. What happens to these kids who don’t have the same connection but are instead plunked down in front of a computer? I can’t imagine not being able to fill out paperwork, write a check, address an envelope, write a letter, sign my name or write in a journal. Handwriting is unique, don’t believe me? Check out any graphology site. You can tell a lot about a person just by their handwriting.
We’re already shifting away from reading books in the classroom. Some schools require laptops and when a teacher asks a question, kids are asked to Google it and see what everyone came up with. While this is useful for teaching kids how to find good sources on the internet, it is not a good daily practice. By using the computer screen, kids learn how to scan and pick out keywords. They don’t learn how to read longer sections and come up with original thoughts based on it. I just wonder what this is going to do to literacy rates and also what kind of writers will come out of this next generation.