I’ve been thinking about this topic for some time. As an educator, I come across many students who cannot sign their names in cursive. I also come across those who cannot read cursive writing. Although it is frustrating, as time trudges on, I am of the belief that while cursive writing is important, I do not agree that it is as important as many state.
Gajowski (Dec. 2016) argues that “our brains get activated in ways that aren’t activated when we type something. And this brain activation helps with recall when we are learning.” My argument against this is if children are trained to type at an early age, it improves their spelling. When one can touch-type instead of hunting-and-pecking, the brain is activated. I did not conduct any research regarding this last statement; however, when my children were younger, I ensured that each of them learned to touch-type.
It was a program back in the 1990s called “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing”. This program taught children how to type through games and assessments. I bring this up because many people who may not embrace typing over cursive writing may not be as proficient in typing so they relive their experiences with typing and cursive writing.
As for me, I retain much more information through typing than writing. When writing, especially if it is an abundance of material, my hands cramp up. I also tend to make mistakes and I focus more on the mistake and miss out on what was stated. View the two videos below. One illustrates writing in cursive and the other illustrates writing the same information through typing.
If you compare the time frame to write this sentence to the time it took to type the same sentence, you will notice that it took twice as long to write the sentence than it did to type the same sentence.
Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that dexterity and being able to use fine motor skills are important, I just do not believe that cursive writing, or the lack thereof is as big a problem as it is portrayed. There are two arguments I hear consistently for cursive writing. The first argument is that people need to know how to sign their names. The second argument is that if students do not know how to read cursive, they will not be able to read primary sources, specifically, many of the important documents used throughout history.
My counterclaim for these arguments are as follows. First of all, from third grade on, teach students how to sign their names. Teachers should not accept any written work from students if their names are not written in cursive. This will improve over the years if all teachers required only the signature in cursive. Secondly, many of the primary sources have been typed and are in secure locations. What may manifest itself is that if students are signing their names in cursive in every course, the cursive might just rub off. Let’s discuss.
Gajowski, MA, Carrie (Dec. 13, 2016). Cursive Becoming Obsolete? in Fast Forward by Scientific Learning. Retrieved from https://www.scilearn.com/blog/is-cursive-handwriting-still-important 12/12/2018