Call it what you want—script, cursive, handwriting, cursive writing—School boards in Indiana and Georgia now have the option to eliminate it from the curriculum.
But, do we even care? In today’s techno-literature culture, where kids can operate computers before they can read, is teaching cursive writing a nostalgic throwback to a bygone era?
Some school boards think yes: they’d prefer to use the class time—which is at a premium—to focus on keyboarding skills.
However, what about those times when technology isn’t available to us, and we have to rely on our foundation in the educational basics—reading, writing, and aRthimatic? If kids were to find themselves in a situation where they had to leave a handwritten note, wouldn’t a printed note suffice?
Do kids need to use in-class time learning script?
Cursive supporters say, yes, it’s still a needed skill, especially when it comes to writing tests and in-class essays. Cursive is fast, fluid, and more automatic than printing due to there being less stop and starting, and it tends to lead to more creative expression in written essays.
If time is of the essence when writing essays, then cursive is quicker. But in order to get a point across, handwriting needs to be legible, or students can lose grades. So students still need to practice their penmanship; after all, if a teacher can’t read it, it can’t be graded.
And, there is evidence that the manual act of writing helps to stimulate cognitive processes.Wheter it’s printing or cursive, the pen-to paper act of physically writing helps the cognitive processes and can improve memory.
Researchers say that this might be because forming the letter by hands requires more steps than simply recognizing a pre-formed shape on a keyboard—it requires a more dynamic mental process.
However, if teaching your tech-savvy kids a scrolled script using pen and paper seems too low-tech, well, there’s an app for that. Students can practice their cursive using a stylus on iPads and iPhones.
The irony of using technology to practice a supposedly out-dated skill is duly noted.