Eliminating Cursive

>> Monday, December 21, 2009

I read a post on Slog yesterday that disturbed me a little, it's about a writer on Miller-McCune and Good Magazine named Anne Trubek who's advocating for schools to stop teaching kids how to hand-write. Lady, are you f#(king insane?

Yes, yes, I understand there's not much use for handwriting anymore and I'm from an "older" generation now but I cannot imagine eliminating such a basic skill altogether. In her original article, Ms. Trubek used her third-grade son's struggles as her launching point, saying that her son can't seem to be able to write in cursive and his teacher think he might fail the state assessment standards, the pressure is getting to him so that he's afraid to pick up a pen. After being told repeatedly that his handwriting is bad, he hates writing now. No offense but Ms. Trubek sounds like an overprotective mom who regards her son's failure as the shortcomings of society in general.

It's not that I don't understand where she's coming from or the reason why I'm so biased on the topic. After all, I've been taught to write cursive from elementary school straight through junior high. I was told it is the standard type of writing until I got to the U.S. where teachers demanded that I write in prints. Til this day, my preferred writing style is still cursive. Though it's true that I don't utilize handwriting as much as before. Nowadays, I only uses it for the occasional check writing and groceries list; I do like to make lists.
To not teach children handwriting at all?

Sure, we are in the computer age now, and there are so many small handy gadget out there that it is more useful to teach kids how to type or thumb-texting than it is writing. I'm sure the kids will acquire motor skills from playing video games and such but I can't see myself relying on typing and the internet completely. It's like telling children that since calculators are so readily available, we'll stop teaching math in school. How would the next generations of taggers write if they don't even know how to do so? The choice of self-expressions are taken away, you can only do it in Arial or Times New Roman from now on. And what? The written English will become a secret language where people in the future needs to decipher to understand it's meaning? Says the typing blogger.

It's going to be mighty unlikely that an apocalyptic event will occur and we'll lose all the electricity to operate machinery. The worst thing that could happen is a computer virus or your motherboard go kaput and you'll have lose some data and forced to spend money on a new computer in order to write, but in no way can I advocate for a skill to go extinct. How impersonal would it be for you to receive an automated X'mas card e-mail? And if we're getting rid of seemingly outdated and useless things, why not take out grandma? Getting rid of a crucial skills from everyone just because your kid is having a hard time with it - bitch, please!

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