Friday, April 29, 2011

Cursive Can Go

Of all things FLG spent time on in school, by far the most wasteful in terms of time spent on the topic versus how much use he's gotten out of it is most definitely how to write cursive. It's quite simply ridiculous.

The NYTimes is wondering whether its usefulness has ended and whether it needs to be taught in schools. FLG guesses they figured the case against cursive made itself because they only included a defense of continuing to teach it:
Might people who write only by printing — in block letters, or perhaps with a sloppy, squiggly signature — be more at risk for forgery? Is the development of a fine motor skill thwarted by an aversion to cursive handwriting? And what happens when young people who are not familiar with cursive have to read historical documents like the Constitution?

If that's all the pro-cursive camp has got, then it's done for.

Forgery? Pretty soon we'll be signing most stuff with a digital signature. Plus, nobody looks at signatures anymore anyway. In fact, if we want to eliminate forgery the best way is to request valid ID, as they do when things are notarized, not to go by a signature.

Is cursive the only way to teach fine motor skill? FLG thinks not.

And cursive to read historical documents? Seriously? First, the Constitution has been reprinted, emphasis on the printed, a gazillion times. Second, if we are worried about them reading cursive writing, then teach them what cursive looks like, how the letters are formed, and then move on. You don't have to teach students to write in cursive to read cursive.

Basically, FLG thinks cursive should be treated much like Roman numerals. Something anachronistic and not terribly useful, but an educated person should be familiar with. Just as we don't make students do arithmetic in Roman numerals, nor should we make students write in cursive.


George Pal said...

Cursive may be our testimony to the future that our civilization once had elements of elegance, grace, and the sophistication of complexity. Without it the future will surely take us for lobotomized morons judging by our music, art, film, and NY Times columnists.

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