The Kansas Department of Education is discussing cursive writing and its place in modern classrooms. After conducting a survey, they found that some school districts within the state are spending less time on teaching cursive handwriting as written communication gives way to keyboards and touchscreens.
Teachers say that children enter kindergarten proficient on keyboards and touchscreens and the value of teaching cursive is being called into question. Is cursive writing becoming a quickly-fading art, or should it still be part of an elementary school education?
Most comments on KCTV 5’s Facebook page are very much on the side of teaching cursive writing. Commenters cite being able to read cursive handwriting as a valuable tool, and those of us who know how to write it realize that it’s faster to use as well — which is very handy for note-taking. Others, however, say that it’s quickly losing its relevance and typing is a better skill for young people to have.
I feel that cursive should absolutely be taught. Whether kids are graded on their handwriting or not (I remember my teachers pointing out my cursive flaws as a child), it is a valuable skill to have. I do realize, however, that I rarely write anything by hand any more, and when I do, my hands hurt like crazy because they’re unaccustomed to the task. Being able to type successfully has led to and maintained my ability to “write” quickly for work purposes. I remember when I entered college in 1996, I would hand write my first drafts and then physically cut and paste phrases and paragraphs to edit and tidy things up before going to the computer lab and typing my paper out. That sounds so ridiculous now!
I think that both handwriting skills and computer skills should be taught and encouraged from a young age. Teaching cursive writing will not take away from a child being able to operate a computer or a tablet, but it may become a skill she falls back on in the future. Building that foundation continues to be important. I don’t feel handwriting is comparable to math skills (several commenters asked why should we continue to teach math when kids can use calculators?) but I do think it belongs in elementary classrooms.