Cursive handwriting has more to offer children than a useless and antiquated exercise. But today in our all-digital world it seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. Fewer people care about skills that have supposedly been made obsolete by technology. Why learn how to write in cursive when more than likely you won't be using a pen and paper anyways? Although this seems to be the consensus nowadays, teachers should think a bit more before they abolish what has been the tool of the scribe for centuries.
Browsing infobarrel the other day, I came across an article titled Why Cursive Handwriting Should no Longer be Taught in Schools Today. This wouldn't normally be intriguing to me, but I've recently taken up writing. A lot of writing. And not by any means requiring typing either folks. Nope, I mean good old fashioned pen-to-the-page writing. I've been enjoying carrying around a small notebook and jotting down ideas I have, stories I hear, or books and music I'd like to look up later. But the most relevant part of all this? It's all been in cursive, which I haven't used since high school.
And before you ask, no, I didn't graduate from high school during the Great War we now refer to as World War I. I'm a spritely 25 year old dude, so this was fairly recent. But for some reason I stopped using cursive in college. And why? Thinking back on it I remember feeling self conscious. Imagine a page of notes for an Econ class that looks like an original written manuscript from the Dutch East India Trading Company. It's funny how your perceptions change, but over the past few weeks I've come to truly appreciate my cursive. And here's why I think children should still be taught the trade so they can someday have the option to write beautifully too.
It's quicker this way
The most basic and logical argument for teaching cursive is the speed with which one can carry a pen. Taking notes in class with a notebook like a lot of students still do? Use cursive! Writing in a notebook for any other reason, maybe for a journal or something similar? Spell it out in the squiggly script! But seriously, you'll get your ideas down much more quickly than if you're continuously lifting the pen and putting it back to the page for e v e r y s i n g l e l e t t e r. Realistically, it's not going to keep up with your typing if you've been around a computer your whole life. But you'll be flying by the poor souls whose teachers never cared enough to teach them.
It's easy to teach and they'll learn fast
In the article I previously mentioned, the author duly noted that teachers just weren't qualified to teach cursive handwriting anymore. Now I must say, I've heard of some pretty exotic degrees offered from all different colleges and universities, but I've never seen the associates/bachelors/masters/doctorate offered in cursive handwriting. Sorry Dr. Penmanship, but you're not really a doctor. So what then does it take to be qualified and how would you learn? You're a teacher man! Watch a youtube video, buy a training book on cursive, find a website or info barrel articles.
We're talking 52 letters to learn; 26 lowercase and 26 uppercase. Want to teach your kids in two weeks and have no idea how to do it? Teach them individual letters the first week and work 0n full words the second week. Do five letters a day for the first week (one day of six letters to make up for that extra guy). Teach yourself the letters the night before. It'll take you a maximum of half an hour. That's it! After their two weeks of practice require them to write everything in cursive from then on out. That'll teach them (and you!), and they'll have a new skill for life.
Cursive handwriting will give an appreciation for penmanship and calligraphy. And an appreciation for anything is a good thing for children. When everything is instant gratification with technology, taking a step back and slowing down a bit can be rewarding and therapeutic. And if you don't believe me, try it. Typing on a computer is instant, cold, mechanical, and too perfect. But some of your well practiced cursive on paper? It flows and winds down the page like a twisting river of ink, connecting your words to a tangible piece of unique art that can only belong to you.
And for my final point? Let's be honest people, are we really going to teach each individual child how to write their name in cursive for the purpose of a signature? That sounds like it would take just as long to teach the class the full skill set. No half-measures. Let's teach our children something they can use and be proud of for the rest of their lives.