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Goodbye, Cursive?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Nick, Oct 8, 2012.

Should cursive writing continue to be taught in schools?

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
  2. No

    54 vote(s)
  3. Not sure

    38 vote(s)
  1. Oct 10, 2012 #81 of 121

    jdskycaster Legend

    Sep 1, 2008
    Hopefully you are nowhere near our school system as you would be the first to argue that teaching our kids cursive will somehow benefit our society more than teaching them science. :nono2:

    My kids have yet to take a standardized test on a computer but that should be the direction we are headed. They also have never taken one that requires them to answer in cursive and be graded on their ability to do so. Completely off base.
  2. Oct 10, 2012 #82 of 121
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    Why are you only reading what you want to read in my post?

    I very clearly said I value science... I merely suggested that a LOT of people would bring the argument that *they* don't value science in their everyday lives. You are arguing you don't value cursive writing...

    I've also asked for anyone to say what the cost and time benefits of stopping cursive would mean? IF you stopped teaching cursive writing, how much money and time would be saved to put towards another subject? My guess is very little.

    If your kids ever take a test that requires an essay... and their writing is not legible... you can bet it will make a difference then... and if they can't print fast enough to finish the essay vs other students writing in cursive... they'll lose on that point too.

    As for your "taking tests on a computer should be the future"... so... that seems to support the notion of not teaching mathematics.

    I mean... why should kids memorize multiplication tables and learn basic math skills when the calculator is "the way of the future" right?

    You seem to be taking a position that actually would result in taking basic math and science out of schools... because why learn math when you have a calculator? Way of the future! Why learn basic science when you can look it up on the internet? Way of the future!

    *I* am the one arguing in favor of keeping math and science and history and so forth... but people on the path you seem to be on, deciding "that is old, let's stop doing old things" is the path that ultimately will remove not just cursive writing, but basic math and science education from the curriculum.

    Not sure why you can't see that is the path you're encouraging.

    The "I don't see it as useful, so take it away" mantra can and will be applied to whatever the largest group of people sees as uninteresting to them.
  3. Oct 11, 2012 #83 of 121

    jdskycaster Legend

    Sep 1, 2008
    Stewart, your reply is circular at best and a mighty fine attempt to turn the tables on me. Courageous for sure, trying to tie cursive writing to the advancement of the sciences and mathematics in our public education system! I am not buying. As my grandfather used to say, "That dog won't hunt."

    Take basic math and science out of the schools? Replace math tables with calculators? Again, I urge you and anyone that may be far removed from your local elementary classrooms to take a peek inside. Our teachers and many others do welcome visitors and would be happy to put you to work teaching kids the dying art of cursive writing. But if you do don't be shocked to see that calculators have already invaded our elementary classrooms and I am pretty sure they are here to stay.

    Perfect! Stewart, You are in luck. My Junior in high school just walked in the door and I asked him a couple of burning questions. First question. Connor, can you remember having any issues running short on time when printing answers on standardized tests? Get ready for this, strange look on his face, here comes the answer....... no. Big surprise. Second question. Even though you have an option to use cursive writing have you ever considered using it rather than printing to save time while taking a test? Get ready again, even more puzzling look, thinking dad has really gone off the deep end.... no. Third question, be prepared now as they will be getting harder.... Connor, I know you are in pre-calc and AP stats this year. Do you think the math tables you learned in grade school would be sufficient to pass these courses or do you think the scientific calculator we were required to purchase is a better alternative... Sorry, he just rolled his eyes and walked out of the room. :)

    I am just happy he stuck around as long as he did. Just a bit disappointed that I did not get a chance to ask him if he would trade his laptop for punch cards to help him take his Java programming course at the U this semester. He is taking that course instead of chemistry at his high school this year. But you already know, I do not believe in science! ;)
  4. Oct 11, 2012 #84 of 121

    armophob Difficulty Concen........

    Nov 13, 2006
    Fort Pierce, FL
    Well if you are White or Asian, keep the kids out of Florida. Your targets have just been been raised.

    "This week the Florida Board of Education approved the new race-based standards for all of the 2.6 million students that attend the state’s 3,629 public schools. The mandate says that by 2018, 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanic students, and 74 percent of black students are to be reading on grade level."

  5. Oct 11, 2012 #85 of 121
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Apr 17, 2003
    It surprises me that my slightly older manager can't do math without a calculator. I realize that we have calculators to do our math for us - so as long as he has a calculator we are equal. But I also know that he has a weakness. If you give him a believable number he doesn't check it. I hope the new calculator generation is checking the math.

    My answers to the questions posed to Connor would be:

    Standardized tests are done on machine readable forms with a number two pencil. All I have to do is shade in the right oval. I very rarely get an essay question because they are too hard to grade (both due to time taken to read the answer and political issues of subjective grading). Ovals with one right answer are easier for the system.

    Cursive instead of printing ... I suppose I could but most of what I write is numbers and my printing looks more like the print fonts I see on the screen. It is familiar. Do you use a script font on your PC all the time or only when you want to fancy up a document?

    Does grade school math help in high school courses? It helped me - but I graduated school pre-calculator. One math teacher would allow slide rules but no electronics. I understand the concept of not "wasting time" on the small stuff ... not spending five minutes to do the math when one can use a calculator and get back to the advanced part of higher level courses. But when I use a calculator I must do the math TWICE (or more) until I get the same answer. If I use the calculator once I run the risk of miskeying something. My "grade school" math has built in checks where I can spot errors.

    And being the person I now am and looking back on my education I am glad I can still do grade school math ... and am not worried that the only text I write in cursive is my name.
  6. Oct 11, 2012 #86 of 121

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    Each parent will make their own decisions and they should be respected. I respect your stance but I'll just say that I would rather my kids learn while I can provide guidance than learn about the dangers of technology blindly.

    There's nothing stopping a parent writing a paper and a student copying it. People who are going to cheat are going to regardless of the medium used.

    This is becoming more of a talk about technology vs ludite and with everything there's a need for both. However the topic at hand being is cursive something that should be required I will say no. It's just not used today in any mass application. Some people may hold it dear and choose to only write in it but they're a rare exception now. It's time has passed.
  7. Oct 11, 2012 #87 of 121
    Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 24, 2007
  8. Oct 11, 2012 #88 of 121

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    I don't have a problem with them teaching it, but it seems that when they teach it, it was in 3rd grade for my daughter, that then it became required for the rest of the year. Then once she got to 4th grade, it no longer mattered again. That seems strange. Teach it and go on.
  9. Oct 11, 2012 #89 of 121

    raott Hall Of Fame

    Nov 23, 2005
    Has nothign to do with money, it has to do with the finite time in a school day and where those time resources should be spent. I have a child, currently, in third grade, I want very little of those resources to be used in working on cursive writing.

    I don't know a single person who uses cursive writing in the current industry I work for or any of the others. It is a dead (or almost dead) means of communication.
  10. Oct 11, 2012 #90 of 121

    fluffybear Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jun 19, 2004
    I wouldn't say that they are going through technology blind. My kids know how to text, use services such as Face Time, Skype, etc... The difference is that I will not give them the necessary services to use these at school so pen and paper is the only way she can pass a note to little Ann about how cute she thinks little Joey is..

    You are correct! people who are going to cheat and going to do it regardless. However, a child who copies a pre-written paper is going to retain a lot more facts than a child who never saw the work thanks to their parents & technology.

    I will agree that cursive is not used nearly as much as it once was but one could also make the argument that spelling is not a necessity either thanks to spell checkers. How about history/social studies? Can not recall the last time I was asked, "Who is Betsy Ross"?
  11. Oct 11, 2012 #91 of 121

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

    Dec 2, 2010
    Something that few people have thought of: If cursive instruction is dropped, it can be taught by those parents who feel it's important. Same for other subjects, especially those that schools seem to discard first: Art, music, PE, drama. Here, it would seem, there's less "teaching", but rather exposure to the various fields.
  12. Oct 11, 2012 #92 of 121

    fluffybear Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jun 19, 2004
    However, Teachers would need to be supportive of a parents desire to teach their children something such as cursive.
  13. Oct 11, 2012 #93 of 121
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    Yeah... but I asked that... I said "how much money and time" would be saved. I can't imagine saving any meaningful amount of time that would be spent on something else.

    Besides... as I've said... I don't know many people who do math without a calculator (except for myself)... so there are an increasing number of people who would argue "why teach math" because it "only wastes time" since "calculators do it for you"...

    So... the argument of "I rarely use it, so why do they teach it" is as old as schools themselves.

    Why is P.E. required for a few but not all years? IF it is important, shouldn't it be important every year? IF it isn't important, why teach it at all?

    Why as a high school Senior is reading still being taught to people who are already able to read? Shouldn't they stop teaching you reading once you actually are able to read? You would be reading your other textbooks and the chalkboard anyway... so why have a specific reading course every year of school?

    Why teach history? I can't travel in time... and I think most people can't... and unless you're in a trivia contest, how many actually use their knowledge of history on a daily basis OR for their profession at all?

    Many people make a lucrative career as an actor or athlete... so why not devote more time to those careers? Make acting a requirement as well as football and basketball and baseball since there is so much money to be made in those careers.

    I could go on... the point being, once you start with the "I don't need it, I don't know anyone who needs it, so do away with it" plan, you'd be amazed who comes out of the woodwork to say that same thing about something you probably believe has value.

    Basically, you're attacking the wrong thing here... if you think taking cursive writing out of schools means lots more time and money for other "more important" studies.
  14. Oct 11, 2012 #94 of 121

    jdskycaster Legend

    Sep 1, 2008
    Stewart, this is not an all or nothing conversation. You seem to be taking this to the outer limits. Just because calculators are a useful tool in school does not mean there is no longer a need to learn basic math first. We teach kids basic math and then show them how they can use technology to automate manual tasks, become more efficient and finally to facilitate learning advanced concepts. I won't even touch the history and time travel argument.

    How we educate our kids should never become a static process, should always be examined and should be allowed to adapt to changes in our society and the world around us.
  15. Oct 11, 2012 #95 of 121
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    I agree... so, why don't you apply the same logical conclusion to cursive writing?

    Just because computers are a useful tool in school does not mean there is no longer a need to learn basic writing first. We teach kids basic writing and then show them how they can use technology... etc etc.

  16. Oct 11, 2012 #96 of 121

    kevinturcotte Active Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    I REALLY don't get the big deal. As long as the handwriting is legible, what difference does it make if it's in cursive or print? When I do write (Which is rare), it's in a combination of print and cursive. As long as it's legible, what's the difference. At school, most of what we do is printed, but some is written out. If I was told "This HAS to be ALL printed" or "This HAS to be all in cursive" do you know how much extra time it would take me to do that assignment or test? My writing is what works best and naturally for me, it's legible, and it has the same effect (The words still mean the same whether they're printed or in cursive). Why force me into something that's not natural?
  17. Oct 11, 2012 #97 of 121

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    Reminds me of my high school English teacher (who I had three years in a row) telling us how her arm was tied behind her back because writing left handed was wrong back then.
  18. Oct 12, 2012 #98 of 121

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    Education evolves every year. There becomes a point in time where the relevance of a subject becomes obsolete. It really boils down to does the subject matter have relevance today and if it doesn't is there something better that could be used in that time. Given the grade, 2nd on average, that cursive is taught could that time be better used? If that hour was spent on math or reading would it benefit the students more? It's easy for us to get nostalgic and passionate about something that we learned which we feel is important because it just is. However it's that same mentality that causes stagnation which ends up hindering things in the long run.

    So I guess the bottom line to me is the simple fact that cursive does not add any value to communication today. The rare times I see something in cursive anymore, outside of what we call signatures, is on tattoo's. I personally would rather our children be taught something that would help them move forward rather than teach them something that is no longer relevant.

    It's not the same as teaching people how to spell or do math. With those items a machine has the ability to do it for you but if you don't have a sound understanding of what it's doing you can't make it work. Try putting one of my kids texts in a spell checker and I think the CPU would fry. However they can write a paper with clarity and proper spelling, for their age group, without problems. Spell check helps them ensure that they have done something correctly and in fact teaches them when they have spelled something wrong. Using spell check also teaches them the value of proof reading when the teacher inquires about them raping a Christmas gift.

    History things such a Louis and Clark, Magellan (the person), and other aspects of history are not about learning who they are but about learning what people are capable of doing. If someone can cross the mountains, without Google maps (or with Apple maps), then it allows them to understand what the human spirit can do. The American history portion of education is there purely to have them have pride in their country. They can get through life without knowing the names of all 50 presidents but doing so makes them feel patriotic. Education is 50% about what you learn and 50% about why you learn it. That's where people get lost.
  19. Oct 12, 2012 #99 of 121
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    That sentiment can be applied to a lot of things though... Heck, wearing clothes in the summer is not entirely natural either :) Though I suspect some would actually be in favor or doing away with clothing! :D

    True... but who decides and how do you decide such a thing?

    Is it relevant to study the invention of the loom when we don't even use computers that read punch cards any more? To younger citizens, the importance of some older inventions are irrelevant to today's technology.

    Note that *I* am not advocating this, just saying what some people I have known would say when asked about the importance of various old things no longer in use.

    That's what I have asked... Are they really spending an hour on cursive writing? And is that an hour a day? How many days? I honestly don't remember much time being spent on cursive writing beyond initial familiarity of how to make the letters.

    I had music class for years... and yet I don't play an instrument, so that was a wasted hour for me for days, weeks, months, and years of school. I enjoy music... all kinds, from classical to heavy metal... but I didn't get that from music class in school.

    I also didn't learn to draw in school, though I had art class for years... the drawing I learned was all on my own... so that's another hour wasted in school.

    Well, yeah... although, note how mad people get on the internet if you correct their spelling or grammar... all the arguments have become "if you can understand what I mean, then the spelling and grammar don't matter"... so people have already made the jump from "handwriting and cursive is not needed" to "spelling and grammar are not needed" haven't they?

    I still am waiting for the day when kids stop being taught basic math because they all have calculators with them all the time... Today it is cursive writing, tomorrow it is spelling and grammar... what's next?

    It only teaches them if they pay attention. A lot of applications have automatic spell-checking where it just checks and replaces and you never actually have to look at it again. I actually worry that it is encouraging kids to care less because the computer fixes it for them.

    I always turn that stuff off... I am informal on boards like this... but for professional documents and emails, I proofread myself. I only use the built-in spell-checking capabilities as a last pass AND even then I do it manually, and don't just let it go through and replace stuff without prompting me.

    Maybe... I still have a 2nd grade spelling test where it was a 50 word test. I got 49/50 correct. What word did I misspell? I misspelled "shirt"... I do not remember the teacher ever asking me why I had left out the letter "r"... True story. First time I found that old paper as a high school kid, I cracked up laughing since I can't believe that didn't prompt a teacher-parent conference!

    I shouldn't be checking spelling and grammar here, right? :)

    History is about a lot of things... I value it... but a LOT of people do not. Imagine if those people form a group and vote to cut back on history education since they don't see where it is "needed" in their daily lives.

    Yeah... but devil's advocate here... if you can't argue the value of cursive because it isn't needed anymore... how can you argue navigation without GPS when arguably that isn't needed anymore either? What does it matter if Columbus discovered America without a map? IF he had GPS he would have used it, right?

    Again... not my opinion... but you can see the argument being posed, right?

    To some degree I agree with you here... but then, if you stop teaching it... people stop knowing it... and isn't the use of cursive writing a part of history? Lots of important historic documents are written in some way other than printing... so arguably learning cursive writing is as much a part of history as it is reading/writing...
  20. jdskycaster

    jdskycaster Legend

    Sep 1, 2008
    Well Stewart, Parents just like me are slowly being given more freedom to take control of their children's education in my state.


    As I have posted previously, if you are unhappy with your schools, get involved. Don't just sit on your thumbs and complain about it. I am personally not waiting for the federal and state government to accidentally stumble across a good idea. My kids may be grandparents before this would ever happen.

    Education, like health reform, are great platforms for candidates to run on, get elected and then do absolutely nothing about. I am personally going to do everything I can to insure my kids get a great education. I can look back over the past 12 years and say this strategy has absolutely provided positive results for them. I recommend everyone with children do the same. It is as important to me as my own career. I will not just sit back and hope someone else does it for me.


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