Ranting on the Loss of Cursive Writing

Ranting on the Loss of Cursive Writing June 27, 2013

So, I found it excruciatingly painful to watch this video clip,. Excruciating because I love and value cursive writing, and I felt really bad for this young woman, and for what is apparently a whole generation (or two) that has been denied the experience of learning to use it. Cursive enhances brain function, helps to develop fine motor skills and gives a student a daily dose of something that is both an art and a discipline.

Ranting about it in social media, I was told that cursive isn’t taught any longer because “with computers and texting it is not required.”

Well, screw that! If something is not absolutely required in life, it’s not worth teaching? Do we not teach poetry? Art? Music? Jumping rope?

I understand that schools spend a lot of time “teaching to the tests” and feel they have no time for some antiquated discipline (although, I must say, Sister Mary Alice Ann, RSM, managed to teach 45 second grade savages to write beautifully in cursive, while also teaching us to read, do sums and learn our catechism, and we did have standardized testing back then); I understand it but don’t accept it. What are schools spending time teaching that leaves no time for penmanship?

Our schools are deeply concerned with “specialness.” They spend a lot of time boosting self esteem and carrying on about how special everyone is. You know what can demonstrate that better than almost anything, and instill a sense of pride-in-accomplishment? Cursive writing! It’s a distinctly individual endeavor, as no one’s handwriting is like anyone else’s. Get them writing their “I am Special” essays in script and let them see exactly how uniquely different (not better or worse but different) every one of us is! It will make a bigger impact than just droning the mantra at them.

And there is more to recommend it, here:

There is always something elegant, intimate and lovely about receiving a hand-written note, but that is particularly true when you can see that the writer has taken the time to really work on his or her presentment. I understood just how real my neurological problems were when I saw lapses in my penmanship that I could not easily control. I still work on it.

[…] Good Penmanship seems like a “little” thing, but to me, it’s always been an indicator of personal discipline and self-worth. The subject that “makes children feel bad about themselves” has probably, in the end, made a great many ex-Catholic school kids feel pretty good about themselves. On a day when nothing is going right, or I feel cruddy about something I’ve done, I can still scrawl a note and look at it and remember one of the first compliments my husband paid me. It occurred the day we met, as I wrote my name and number on a slip of paper. “You have a nice hand,” he said, “Catholic school, right?” I looked up and smiled at him, completely understanding his meaning!

Cursive writing helps to expedite our thoughts to paper, before we lose them! It’s individualistic! It is “what grown-ups do.” I’m just disgusted to learn that it’s not even taught anymore. I wonder if college professors must now print their lessons on white boards? What happens when a message in a bottle is found, or an old love letter? Will they be like hieroglyphics for the next generation?

Deacon Greg also has fond memories of a sweet nun who taught and wrote beautifully. He admits:

I’m not exactly the best at penmanship myself—too many years of banging my fingers on the keyboard have made me jittery and impatient with my own hand—but I admire people like my beloved 4th grade teacher, Sister Matthew Christi…

He has a few nice links, too!

Cursive Writing Makes Kids Smarter
It’s the Penmanship, Stupid!

First image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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