Handwriting down

Handwriting is becoming a lost art, writes the Washington Post. Schools spend little time teaching it, expecting students to use keyboards.

When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest? They printed. Block letters.

However, children may not write fluidly if they can’t write by hand fluidly. Research “shows children without proficient handwriting skills produce simpler, shorter compositions, from the earliest grades.”

I take notes by hand during interviews using my own personal shorthand. I’ve noticed my handwriting is getting worse and worse.

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  1. heuchera66 says:

    My child is in third grade. They have formal instruction in keyboarding(typing). I would much rather they used that time for something else.

  2. TheRandomTexan says:

    I, too, had deteriorating penmanship. Then I latched onto my latest teaching gizmo, a tablet PC. The tablet and I are training each other: it’s getting better at recognizing my handwriting, and I’m writing more legibly so it doesn’t make so many dumb guesses. Cursive-like input is much faster than printing in block letters, and lots more comfortable than typing. Who knows? Maybe keyboarding* is just a passing fad, and we’ll all be (hand)writing in the 21st Century.

    *What an unlovely word; it sounds like something a journalist or a motivational speaker would say.

  3. I dunno, the typing class I took back in elementary school has proven over time to be quite invaluable. Then again, I always took the class seriously and plowed through the work, whereas my friends cut corners in order to go play Oregon Trail instead. Fast forward 10+ years, and my fingers fly over the keyboard (saving time and effort), while my friends type much more slowly. Some of them, who never took a typing class, apply the hunt-and-peck method.

  4. That said, my school also made sure to teach us cursive and regular ol’ penmanship. I don’t think you have to have one or the other; schools can do both. Computers aren’t going away (at least for a while), so it’d be foolish to do away with typing classes entirely–children need to learn how to type.

  5. Indigo Warrior says:

    So medieval calligraphy is becoming a lost art? I’m not crying. And who knows what will be the dominant form of impressing human data onto media in the 21st century? It could be by voice, or even thoughts picked up by brain-to-computer interfaces.

  6. I lost the ability to write cursive in college. All engineering notes were required to be printed and I just quit writing cursive. It was hardly a loss, since my handwriting was terrible anyway.

    I don’t think losing cursive is any big deal, but kids should be able to write somehow. That said, I think spending time trying to perfect a kids’ writing seems silly. They have to write well enough for the teacher to read it. If the teacher can’t read what they write, they get points off the same way they get points off for getting a math problem wrong or spelling a word wrong.

    I spent quite a number of hours in elementary school learning to write cursive and all of that time was wasted.

  7. I have neurological damage in my hands, and increasingly am unable to write by hand, so I bought a little keyboard thingy, called an AlphaSmart (widely used for disabled children in schools) for taking notes, and while I need it now, I wish I had gotten it long ago. Typing is faster than handwriting, does not require that I watch what I’m writing instead of the person I’m listening to, has spellcheck and search, and can be uploaded to my computer. Do that with a reporter’s notebook! Light, durable, runs for 700 hours on three AA batteries, and cheap.