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Palo Verde
08-12-2008, 01:55 PM
My son had a total waste of a third grade teacher and he never learned cursive. Now he's in 5th grade and in a very academically strenuous school.

Should I make an effort to teach him cursive? I've heard some people says it is a waste of time. What do you think?

Really Not All That Bright
08-12-2008, 01:59 PM
It certainly can't hurt, and it will improve his fine motor skills.

ShelliBean
08-12-2008, 02:00 PM
I don't know if you want to do it or hire a tutor or if he is in a different school talk to his teacher and see what she thinks is the best way for him to learn.

Does he have trouble reading cursive writing?

glee
08-12-2008, 02:01 PM
I would recommend learning to touch-type.

Green Bean
08-12-2008, 02:02 PM
Yes, he should learn cursive.

Learning cursive will help develop and refine his small-motor skills.

For most people, it's faster to write/take notes in cursive or some sort of modified cursive. And I expect a zillion people to chime in here stating that it's not true for them. But even if people's fast handwriting is "printing," learning the fluid motions required for cursive probably helped.

And it's a wonderful thing to be able to create an attractive handwritten document. Your son's cursive skills may never develop to the point where his cursive looks really beautiful, but it would be a shame to deprive him of the opportunity.

Green Bean
08-12-2008, 02:07 PM
I would recommend learning to touch-type.The two aren't mutually exclusive.

dactylic hexameter
08-12-2008, 02:08 PM
FWIW, I learned cursive in 2nd grade, was required to use it until 5th grade, and haven't used it since (just graduated college). Wait, scratch that. On the SAT (when I took it), you were required to copy a printed statement saying that you are who you said you were, etc. You were not allowed to print this statement - you HAD to write it in cursive. It was ridiculous, but there you go. I think I couldn't remember how to do a capital "I", so I just made it up. The one benefit of scripting is that you supposedly can write faster, but having just finished a number of lecture classes in college, I can say I never felt 'held up' by my printing.

Freudian Slit
08-12-2008, 02:10 PM
I never felt held up by writing in print either. Plus, it's way harder to read cursive. I remember reading the Ann M. Martin Babysitters Club books, and HATING the characters who would write their little notebook reports in cursive. It looked pretty, sure, but the prettiest ones were the most impossible to read.

Procrustus
08-12-2008, 02:14 PM
Look at it this way, your son is probably the last generation to even be given the chance to learn cursive. Want to deny him that?

I think it's a useless skill for most people, like being able to operate a horse and buggy. But harmless if he has no unusual difficulty

overlyverbose
08-12-2008, 02:15 PM
I'm another cursive proponent. Then again, even at age 33, I'm a total dinosaur since I still write letters to a few of my friends. I'd third the fine motor skills and writing faster comments. I'd also say that fine penmanship seems to be dying out. I guess it doesn't matter unless you're sentimental like me, but it seems a shame that it's going the way of the dodo - I loved that my mom and I could address my wedding invitations and it looked every bit as beautiful as if a calligrapher had done it. Although I guess most men don't generally address wedding invites - not sure how that works anymore. I only got married four years ago, but things seemed to have drastically changed even since then.

mmouse9799
08-12-2008, 02:16 PM
It may not have been your child's teacher. Many schools have removed cursive writing from the curriculum because of the availibility of computers and typing. (This was as of one of my education classes in 2003.)

It's more important to have legible handwriting than cursive handwriting, IMHO. I wouldn't stress about your son not knowing it unless it's a requirement in his current school.

Really Not All That Bright
08-12-2008, 02:18 PM
And it's a wonderful thing to be able to create an attractive handwritten document. Your son's cursive skills may never develop to the point where his cursive looks really beautiful, but it would be a shame to deprive him of the opportunity.
I have- not to toot my own horn- gorgeous, fluid cursive handwriting.

I haven't written anything in cursive since before college, though- a good 10 years.

Jayn_Newell
08-12-2008, 02:19 PM
You were not allowed to print this statement - you HAD to write it in cursive.
This is as good a reason as any I can think of to have him learn. It may not do him any good, but it certainly won't do him any harm, and you never know just when down the line he may find himself being required to write in cursive for some arcane reason.


Or you could teach him calligraphy. Send him to school with an ink well and a quill. It may take him longer to write his notes, but at least they'll look pretty :D

(Oh, and ditto on the touch-typing thing. Even when I was in high school things were switching to an expectation of students typing and printing reports at home. Tell him it'll give him more time to play video games by getting his homework done faster. Keyboarding was the most useful class I took in high school by a long shot.)

Harriet the Spry
08-12-2008, 02:22 PM
I wouldn't stress about your son not knowing it unless it's a requirement in his current school.

Exactly. Ask. If they aren't going to require it, I say don't bother. He will get a lot more return on time invested for learning other stuff.

BrotherCadfael
08-12-2008, 02:23 PM
I moved from a school where you learned cursive in 4th grade, to a school where you learned it in 3rd grade, missing it in both. Later, I learned the letterforms, but never developed the skill.

Today, I write in an almost illegible, sloppy print. My signature looks like that of a five-year old. Writing a note that I want someone else to be able read, such as an absence note to my kids schools, is a such a miserable process that I will fire up the computer, compose the note and print it out, unless there is a power failure.

And, yes, when i took the GREs, we had to copy the statement in cursive, and it took me at least ten minutes - while the entire rest of the group sat around and waited - the slowest had been done for at least five minutes.

So, YES! YES!! YES!!!

(I am quite literate, and am considered to be an excellent writer and editor. However, had I grown up in pre-word processor times, I would be severely handicapped in this regard.)

Really Not All That Bright
08-12-2008, 02:27 PM
(Oh, and ditto on the touch-typing thing. Even when I was in high school things were switching to an expectation of students typing and printing reports at home. Tell him it'll give him more time to play video games by getting his homework done faster. Keyboarding was the most useful class I took in high school by a long shot.)
I took a touch-typing class in school, and learned almost nothing except where the colon key was. I learned to type by using AOL Instant Messenger, and now can hit 70 words per minute on a good day.

IOW, he won't need to be taught how to type. He'll learn.

Shayna
08-12-2008, 02:32 PM
I had absolutely no idea that cursive was going out of fashion! :eek: I write in it all the time, especially inside greeting cards. Color me shocked.

Sarahfeena
08-12-2008, 02:42 PM
Look at it this way, your son is probably the last generation to even be given the chance to learn cursive. Want to deny him that?

I think it's a useless skill for most people, like being able to operate a horse and buggy. But harmless if he has no unusual difficulty I guess it's "useless" in the sense that if you can print, that will be sufficient for whatever writing you need to do. However, I don't think being able to write a handwritten thank-you note or sympathy note in nice cursive writing will ever go out of style.

Sage Rat
08-12-2008, 02:44 PM
My school made me learn cursive. It would take me an hour to two hours to write out a single printed page of text and my hand would hurt like hell when I was done.

Cursive can just merrily go off and die a tortuous death so far as I'm concerned.

Acsenray
08-12-2008, 02:53 PM
Then, it's not "cursive" that was the problem. It was the method of teaching.

In real life, letterforms don't always have rigidly predictable patterns. Even fashions in typefaces change. If for no other reason, people should learn to write by hand so that they know how to read handwriting.

I think I couldn't remember how to do a capital "I", so I just made it up.

This is one of the strangest sentences I've ever had the opportunity to read in my lifetime. Do you think "cursive" letterforms are defined by law? I invent new letterforms nearly every time I write something by hand. That's how handwriting works.

Gary Robson
08-12-2008, 03:00 PM
I doubt it would be a significant handicap not knowing how to write cursive.

It would, however, be a handicap not knowing how to *read* cursive.

I write in cursive very rarely, but I encounter written cursive quite frequently.

And, as others have mentioned, what could it hurt?

Skara_Brae
08-12-2008, 03:34 PM
Can he sign his name in cursive? He needs to be able to do that at a bare minimum, I think...

Argent Towers
08-12-2008, 03:42 PM
Cursive is awesome, and it is also in serious danger of becoming extinct. Definitely teach him cursive. I hated learning it when I was a kid, but now whenever I find myself doing any kind of hand-writing, I take great pleasure in lovingly detailing every letter in cursive so they flow together like a symphony. People tell me I "write like a girl" when they see my cursive, which is a backhanded compliment. I typically make it extremely ornate, with a lot of unnecessary flourishes and curly lines.

Tom Tildrum
08-12-2008, 03:44 PM
Those of you who don't use cursive, do you sign your name using printing?

DMark
08-12-2008, 03:53 PM
When I was living in Germany, I had a sweet, elderly woman who lived next door and she couldn't carry heavy items, so I would pick things up for her when I went to the store.
She would write me notes, in old German cursive, that I eventually figured out how to read.

Later, my German friends were in shock that I could read it, as most of them couldn't!

If you want to see an example of what her handwriting looked like, here is the font style. (http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Bild:Script2.svg)

But back to the OP - I learned cursive in school, and for the first sentence or two, I can write really beautifully - but it sure does get sloppy by sentence three, and by about the fifth sentence, even I can't read it anymore - thus I have learned to print really fast.

I use cursive for the occasional address on a birthday card, but that is about the extent of it.

Acid Lamp
08-12-2008, 03:54 PM
No. He is in 5th grade now, and academics will be ramping up. IF he has time and is not involved in other enrichments,(Art, music, sports, etc) THEN he might have some time to spend on this essentially useless skill. With how jam-packed today's kids' schedules already often are, I wouldn't want to burden someone further.

Of course if he just hangs out all day playing video games, then go for it.

emmaliminal
08-12-2008, 03:56 PM
This is one of the strangest sentences I've ever had the opportunity to read in my lifetime. Do you think "cursive" letterforms are defined by law? I invent new letterforms nearly every time I write something by hand. That's how handwriting works.My WAG: dactylic hexameter meant that when it came to that I, s/he had to think about it, about the motion required -- it didn't just flow like other letters do.

Santo Rugger
08-12-2008, 03:57 PM
Those of you who don't use cursive, do you sign your name using printing?No, but I've seriously considered signing my name in print. My print is much more consistent; my signature never even looks the same. My print, on the other hand, has been pretty much the same since high school. The biggest difference is that I now put a tail on my lowercase t, because I kept getting it confused with plus signs in circuits class.

Thudlow Boink
08-12-2008, 04:13 PM
The whole point of cursive is that the letters flow together, so that you can write a whole word without lifting your pen from the page (or your marker from the dry-erase board, or whatever), as opposed to printing where you have to make each letter separate. This allows you to write faster and more fluidly, at least once you get the hang of it.

Manda JO
08-12-2008, 04:43 PM
I wouldn't insist on it, but if he wants to learn, I'd make the time to show him how.

You only get to encourage so many enrichment things above and beyond school, and I wouldn't make this one of them. The rudiments of a foreign language or sentence diagramming or the basics of logic would all be more useful, IMO. And I'm an English teacher.

dactylic hexameter
08-12-2008, 05:00 PM
acsenray and emilyforce,
what I meant was, if you look at this link (http://www.weblo.com/domain/available/cursivearmy.com/) , it shows the capital 'I' as I was taught it. I couldn't remember where the embellishment/leadinthingy was supposed to go, on the left (which really makes little sense), or on the right. In the end, I think my "I"s ended up more like the capital "L" shown in the link, with a shorter foot.

I'm a she, btw. :p

Gary Robson
08-12-2008, 05:01 PM
Those of you who don't use cursive, do you sign your name using printing?When I said I rarely write in cursive anymore, I wasn't including signatures. My signature is really more of my own unique mark than it is proper cursive, anyway.

WhyNot
08-12-2008, 05:16 PM
I wouldn't insist on it, but if he wants to learn, I'd make the time to show him how.

You only get to encourage so many enrichment things above and beyond school, and I wouldn't make this one of them. The rudiments of a foreign language or sentence diagramming or the basics of logic would all be more useful, IMO. And I'm an English teacher.
This.

My mom is a sixth grade teacher, and when she told me the story of a parent this year who was insistent that his son improve his cursive, and she asked him why on earth he'd waste his time with some archaic skill he'd never have to use...well, that's when I knew the final nail was in the coffin of cursive.

If my mom and Manda JO say it's not worth it, it is, indeed, a dying art. Let it go. You'd make better use of your time having him teach you how to txt.

dalej42
08-12-2008, 05:43 PM
You may as well teach him hieroglyphics.

glee
08-12-2008, 05:51 PM
I would recommend learning to touch-type.

The two aren't mutually exclusive.

True, but he will undoubtedly type a lot more than he writes.

Anyway I don't think cursive is important - printing is easier to read.

Gary Robson
08-12-2008, 05:54 PM
You may as well teach him hieroglyphics.Yeah, but won't it be embarrassing when Grandma dies and he has to get someone else to read her hand-written will?

Seriously, I encounter documents in cursive all the time. I get actual handwritten letters to the editor at my newspaper, there are reams of handwritten documents in my family genealogy files, people loan me books with their names written in cursive in them, I got a handwritten list of books from a librarian (wouldn't it be fun to call a customer and say "I can't get you those books because I can't read cursive?"), people leave little notes on my desk when I'm not there, of which probably 1/4 are in cursive, and on and on and on.

You can easily get through life these days without writing in cursive. Not being able to read cursive is a definite handicap.

Harry1945
08-12-2008, 06:02 PM
I'm saddened that this is even a topic for discussion.

Acsenray
08-12-2008, 06:04 PM
it shows the capital 'I' as I was taught it. I couldn't remember where the embellishment/leadinthingy was supposed to go, on the left (which really makes little sense), or on the right. In the end, I think my "I"s ended up more like the capital "L" shown in the link, with a shorter foot.

Being able to "write cursive" has nothing to do with memorizing the specific stroke sequences and letterforms of any particular hand. It never mattered whether you could reproduce that specific hand's capital I from memory. That's not what being able to write by hand is about. The failure to understand that is apparently a key to understanding how terrible your handwriting instructor was.

When I said I rarely write in cursive anymore, I wasn't including signatures. My signature is really more of my own unique mark than it is proper cursive, anyway.

You may as well teach him hieroglyphics.

There is no such thing as "proper" cursive. Every person's handwriting constitutes a "unique mark."

Rubbish. Because "cursive" writing is no longer used by any living person to communicate in a living language? People will always be writing by hand. It's a valuable skill to know how to write by hand and read what someone else has written by hand. The specific letterforms will, as they always have, evolve over time. The skill in question is largely the mental flexibility to handle variability, something that will always be part of human language.

HMS Irruncible
08-12-2008, 06:04 PM
My son had a total waste of a third grade teacher and he never learned cursive. Now he's in 5th grade and in a very academically strenuous school.

Should I make an effort to teach him cursive? I've heard some people says it is a waste of time. What do you think?
If he's a girl, yes. For some reason girls need to write in cursive. If not, no.

Jayn_Newell
08-12-2008, 06:09 PM
If he's a girl, yes. For some reason girls need to write in cursive. If not, no.
If he's a girl, then he has bigger problems than learning cursive.

even sven
08-12-2008, 06:40 PM
Does he want to learn cursive? I can count the number of times I'm written in cursive since 3rd grade one hand. If it's something that is of interest to him, by all means learn it. But if he doesn't care, find a better use of your time.

PastAllReason
08-12-2008, 07:36 PM
The things you learn on this message board. It wasn't until I was reading here in other threads about cursive "going out of style" that I had any clue that students got through school without being taught and learning how to "write" (as opposed to print). The first thread on this subject made me go :eek:

Palo Verde
08-12-2008, 07:38 PM
He's going to be involved in after school activities (soccer and band) in addition to a really seriously academic course load. I don't want to add anything I don't have to.

I guess I just feel weird with him not knowing this, like he really missed something. He can read cursive just fine. But it seems most of you think cursive is dying, so maybe his time would be better used ramping up his keyboarding skills.

Fretful Porpentine
08-12-2008, 08:00 PM
I vote yes. Most people can write cursive a lot faster than they can print, and handwritten exams haven't gone out of style yet. It'll give him a significant advantage when he has to take, say, the AP English exam and write three essays in two hours.

kittenblue
08-12-2008, 08:08 PM
He's going to be involved in after school activities (soccer and band) in addition to a really seriously academic course load. I don't want to add anything I don't have to.

I guess I just feel weird with him not knowing this, like he really missed something. He can read cursive just fine. But it seems most of you think cursive is dying, so maybe his time would be better used ramping up his keyboarding skills. I think if you go back and count, it sounds like more people said Learn It!

One thing that really breaks my heart is when I see a man's handwriting, and it is obvious he never advanced past third grade. He drops in my estimation of his intelligence. Please have your son learn cursive. It doesn't have to suck down hours and hours of his time or interfere with his busy schedule. Tell him he can get out of doing home chores while he practices......

Argent Towers
08-12-2008, 08:11 PM
But it seems most of you think cursive is dying, so maybe his time would be better used ramping up his keyboarding skills.

It's not dying the way someone with terminal cancer is dying - it's dying because nobody wants to bother learning it anymore. The same way other things are dying, like woodworking or being able to fix your own car or do small repairs in your own house without calling in a division of specialists who'll charge you your left nut for something you should know how to do yourself. Cursive can be "revived" if people would just care enough about handwriting to learn it. Don't let keyboards take over and the hand-written word become extinct.

Now more than ever, you should teach him cursive.

Tamex
08-12-2008, 08:35 PM
My daughter (going into sixth grade) learned cursive in school, but she was never required to write that way in any of her other classes, so she doesn't. She prints exclusively, except for her signature (which she writes slowly and carefully and is very beautiful).

She is also left-handed, but I don't have any idea if that is why she prefers to print. Her teachers have not seemed to care so far--we'll see what middle school brings.

WhyNot
08-12-2008, 08:39 PM
Don't let keyboards take over and the hand-written word become extinct.

Now more than ever, you should teach him cursive.
Why? I'm not saying that to be argumentative, I really don't get it. Any situation in which he needs to write quickly, like taking notes, he can either record on MP3 or bring a laptop to class. Any situation which requires him to write, like filling out a form, he can - has to - print neatly. The GRE doesn't require cursive anymore; I don't know about the SAT, but if it requires it this year, it won't in 5, because it's been out of many curricula for several years now.

I can understand and agree with the arguments for teaching him how to read cursive, at least for this last generation on the cusp of the tradition. Yet, to be honest, I read and write modern cursive, but all bets are already off when it comes to cursive more than 2 generations back. I never would have deciphered the "s" in the linked German cursive font set, for example.

I just haven't seen a logical reason to teach him how to write it other than (completely understandable) sadness that something we once knew how to do won't continue. It's okay, really it is. Most kids don't know how to dial a rotary phone, either. I bet most adults couldn't thresh wheat with a gun to their head or tan a hide if their kids' lives were at stake. The world changes, and with it the skill set a person needs.

ShelliBean
08-12-2008, 08:45 PM
Please do not teach him to write in cursive. The sooner we can convert reading and writing in cursive as a foreign, rare and, most importantly to me, marketable skill, the sooner I'll start raking in the big bucks.

Millions I tell ya.

BrotherCadfael
08-12-2008, 09:07 PM
Anyway I don't think cursive is important - printing is easier to read.You clearly haven't seen my printing.

Legibility, folks. Cursive is (from what I can tell) a better way to, for example, take notes on the fly that can actually be read. I regret that my circumstances caused me to miss it, and pit the educators and others who didn't think it worth bothering to teach.

RTFirefly
08-12-2008, 09:32 PM
I switched to taking notes in printed letters in eighth grade, since it was faster: my printed handwriting was legible at about 1/3 the height (and therefore about 1/9 the overall size) of my cursive handwriting. I could take notes a lot faster by virtue of not having to move my pen nearly as far.

About the only thing I've written in cursive in the past 40 years has been my signature. But even there, the need for cursive will probably be supplanted by thumbprints and retina scans.

Argent Towers
08-12-2008, 09:32 PM
I bet most adults couldn't thresh wheat with a gun to their head or tan a hide if their kids' lives were at stake. The world changes, and with it the skill set a person needs.

Cursive is a beautiful art, though. Being able to write well in it is a real talent, and it's carrying on a great old tradition that's in danger of dying out.

I realize that I'm in a very small minority here and I already take a lot of flak for having the values of a 78 year old man, at 22. I think there used to be a time when things had some craftsmanship to them, and if they weren't lovingly crafted, they at least tried to make them look as if they were. Now, everything is mass-produced and made of cheap, slick plastic, and it shows, aesthetically. You can't even get a TV set with woodgrain trim around it anymore so it won't clash with all of your wooden furniture - you have to settle for ugly fake-chrome silver-gray or high-gloss black, even on TVs that cost thousands of dollars. Alarm clocks, toasters, all appliances in general, look like some second-rate designer's idea of what the equipment on a sci-fi space ship would look like.

It used to be that everyone knew how to sing, or at least sing okay. Why? Because everyone sung in church. Even if you weren't Elvis Presley, the average older person seems to be able to carry a tune better than an average younger person.

I go to a birthday party of younger people (20 to 40) and everyone sings Happy Birthday completely off-key, a dissonant cacophony that makes the ears bleed. I go to birthday parties where there's an older crowd, and everyone sings Happy Birthday relatively in-tune.

It used to be that the average person could do small home-improvement jobs and basic carpentry. This meant that peoples' houses had an individualized touch to them. Old guys who had been living in the same place for decades, made little personal touches to the interior and exterior of the home that gave it some soul. Nowadays everything is prepackaged, sterilized, and uniform. There's no soul to it.

Being able to write with good handwriting is one of those old skills that, while it might not be necessary, it's nice to have.

But I also agree that it's easier to take shorthand notes in cursive because the letters, ideally, flow into each other with one uninterrupted line.

Procrastinator
08-12-2008, 09:53 PM
I second the thought that he needs to learn how to read cursive even if he can't write it. But if he already can read it, then don't bother teaching him how to write it; it takes years to develop one's own handwriting (which keeps evolving with use - or lack thereof).
I find it weird that in the US most people don't learn cursive. Where I come from (somewhere on the Mediterranean), we only learn cursive in school. We never learned how to print. I find it painstaking now that I'm in the US to submit hand printed homework because the teacher cannot read cursive; especially that cursive is so much faster because you don't have to lift your pen from the paper. So if your son might end up having to read text handwritten by people educated in certain parts of the world, he will need to be able to read cursive.

Procrastinator
08-12-2008, 10:02 PM
I find it weird that in the US most people don't learn cursive. Where I come from (somewhere on the Mediterranean), we only learn cursive in school. We never learned how to print.
I meant that the only form of writing we learn in school is cursive. I don't think my primary and middle school teachers even knew how to print.
I'm 26 by the way.

Runs With Scissors
08-12-2008, 11:19 PM
Loopy cursive?

NO.

NO WAY.

NEVER.

I teach my students italic cursive (http://www.cep.pdx.edu/titles/italic_series/books_in_series.shtml)

meenie7
08-13-2008, 01:17 AM
Having nice handwriting is certainly a neat thing to have, but it's not necessary. My writing, which is some weird sloppy cursive-like mess (as in, I don't take my hand off the page, but the writing is not like anything that was taught to me) is completely illegible because I have carpal tunnel syndrome and can't control the pen very well, and while I wish I could write neatly in cards and stuff, it's not massively crippling.

Martini Enfield
08-13-2008, 01:24 AM
I was taught Cursive in Primary school and haven't used it since. I can type much, much faster than I can write, and my handwriting has often been compared to a cross between Ancient Hieroglyphics and Martian, which is a further disincentive to try handwriting anything more than personal notes. :p

Being able to read Cursive, however, is a very valuable skill- I use it a lot when referring to historic texts and things from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

GuanoLad
08-13-2008, 01:48 AM
Big stupid waste of time.

Quartz
08-13-2008, 02:13 AM
Another vote for an important and necessary skill. Typewriters and computers aren't always available. What's he going to do when faced with an essay exam? What's he going to do in the middle of the jungle or desert or wherever? Or anywhere where he has to take notes rapidly and there's no computer available?

mswas
08-13-2008, 02:18 AM
He can learn fine motor skills from video games as well.

Yes, there is an use in him learning cursive, but at this point I take all my notes on my laptop. I cannot keep up in a lecture class writing, but I can Dope and type at the same time. ;)

Derleth
08-13-2008, 02:32 AM
Another vote for an important and necessary skill. Typewriters and computers aren't always available. What's he going to do when faced with an essay exam? What's he going to do in the middle of the jungle or desert or wherever? Or anywhere where he has to take notes rapidly and there's no computer available?What about when there's no paper? What about when there's no writing utensil? Obviously, the written word is a bust and he must learn to create a memory palace! Books burn, but memory is forever golden.

Being able to write in cursive is a neat trick, but it isn't required and it does take valuable time away from useful things. Having a legible printing hand and being a fast typist are orders of magnitude more useful and, let's face it, most people's cursive hand is ugly and pretty much worthless to anyone who isn't exposed to it on a regular basis. Despite knowing and seeing many of them often, the cursive hands of my older relatives are a mysterious scrawl until I've poured significant energy into deciphering them based on guessed letterforms and context.

Secondly, cursive is not always faster: What is faster is what is practiced, and neither is inherently faster than the other. (As a side note, if taking notes quickly is the only desiderata, invest in a copy of the Gregg Shorthand and have him practice that. Better, invest in a cheap audio recorder and have him use that.) In fact, typing can be faster than either if that is what is practiced the most.

Thirdly, it is dying due to network effects: As fewer people are able to read cursive, its utility as a method of communication degrades quadratically. Metcalfe's Law (http://www-ec.njit.edu/~robertso/infosci/metcalf.html) works in both directions. After a relatively brief period of this kind of decay, its utility is low enough as to preclude any use whatsoever.

I still think he should learn to read cursive because the utility of creating new works in a medium is only loosely related to the continuing utility of older works in that medium (black and white movies were not immediately rendered worthless when black and white film was) and because he's likely to have an aunt or a grandmother who has forgotten how to print and only knows cursive (happened to my grandmother). Learning to write in cursive, however, is a waste and encourages the notion that schools are places where you learn useless skills for no reason.

GuanoLad
08-13-2008, 02:56 AM
What's he going to do in the middle of the jungle or desert or wherever? Or anywhere where he has to take notes rapidly and there's no computer available?Then he should learn shorthand.

Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
08-13-2008, 04:47 AM
Is cursvie really all that rare in the US, or is this another oddity of the SDMB? Everybody who I know writes in cursive. When faced with a written handwritten document, all in printed letters, I can't help but think that the author is undereducated or a bit childish.

I've got to ask, though, how it's even possible for somebody to write faster in block capitals, rather than cursive, as some are suggesting here. Are you mistaking a particular style of handwriting, that you learned in school, for all cursive handwriting?

Staggerlee
08-13-2008, 05:57 AM
Is cursvie really all that rare in the US, or is this another oddity of the SDMB? Everybody who I know writes in cursive. When faced with a written handwritten document, all in printed letters, I can't help but think that the author is undereducated or a bit childish.

I've got to ask, though, how it's even possible for somebody to write faster in block capitals, rather than cursive, as some are suggesting here. Are you mistaking a particular style of handwriting, that you learned in school, for all cursive handwriting?I'm similarly bewildered - by 'cursive' is everyone meaning what UKans would call 'joined-up handwriting' or does it mean something truly archaic, like copperplate writing?

Martini Enfield
08-13-2008, 06:11 AM
I'm similarly bewildered - by 'cursive' is everyone meaning what UKans would call 'joined-up handwriting' or does it mean something truly archaic, like copperplate writing?

I took it to mean joined-up writing; I certainly can't imagine them trying to teach that spidery Copperplate handwriting to kids in the 21st century. It's hard enough to read (especially when it was written a century ago), never mind teach to 8 year olds...

glee
08-13-2008, 06:28 AM
It's not dying the way someone with terminal cancer is dying - it's dying because nobody wants to bother learning it anymore. The same way other things are dying, like woodworking or being able to fix your own car or do small repairs in your own house without calling in a division of specialists who'll charge you your left nut for something you should know how to do yourself. Cursive can be "revived" if people would just care enough about handwriting to learn it. Don't let keyboards take over and the hand-written word become extinct.

Now more than ever, you should teach him cursive.

The reason cursive is dying is that it's a slower way to record and communicate.

Looking at your examples of things we should all presumably learn:

- woodworking is a fun thing to do (like pottery). But why should you spend any time on it if you don't want to?
- being able to fix your own car involves a huge amount of time. You can't skimp on it, because a mistake could kill you. Just learning to change a tyre could save you time, but why go to all the trouble of studying the combustion engine? leave it to professionals.
- small repairs is a similar case. Knowing how to change a light bulb is fine; rewiring the house is complicated and risky. I'd rather spend the time earning money and finding a decent contracter.

glee
08-13-2008, 06:35 AM
You clearly haven't seen my printing.

Legibility, folks. Cursive is (from what I can tell) a better way to, for example, take notes on the fly that can actually be read. I regret that my circumstances caused me to miss it, and pit the educators and others who didn't think it worth bothering to teach.

Are you kidding us? :confused:

Printing is designed to be legible (like the messages here, for example.) All printing should be pretty much identical.

Writing is individual and can be hard to read. (I base this on doctor's prescriptions and thousands of pupil essays in the pre-computer age...)

Cursive is like studying the dial telephone, learning Latin or using Betamax...

Baldwin
08-13-2008, 06:59 AM
If my mom and Manda JO say it's not worth it, it is, indeed, a dying art. Let it go. You'd make better use of your time having him teach you how to txt.No offense, but I want to kill you. Completely irrational. Something about this makes a red haze appear in my vision.

Those of you who think cursive is slower to write and less legible than printing -- the problem isn't cursive, the problem is that you suck at it. Proper cursive -- not calligraphy or Copperplate, just "joined-up writing" -- is faster than printing and perfectly legible. (Unless you have an MD; that's one stereotype that I've seen confirmed in the real world over and over.)

God damn it.

Manda JO
08-13-2008, 07:06 AM
I vote yes. Most people can write cursive a lot faster than they can print, and handwritten exams haven't gone out of style yet. It'll give him a significant advantage when he has to take, say, the AP English exam and write three essays in two hours.

I teach AP English. Kids that write cursive do not perform better than kids that print, and I've even been known to tell a kid to print when their cursive was totally illegible.

I'm not saying it's totally useless--nothing is--but when a kid is in school full time, a parent only has so many chances to say "Ok, you are going to sit down and we are going to learn this" about something the kid has no interest in (things the kid is interested in is a different story). I just think that there are a million things that would be of more use than cursive.

Manda JO
08-13-2008, 07:15 AM
No offense, but I want to kill you. Completely irrational. Something about this makes a red haze appear in my vision.

Those of you who think cursive is slower to write and less legible than printing -- the problem isn't cursive, the problem is that you suck at it. Proper cursive -- not calligraphy or Copperplate, just "joined-up writing" -- is faster than printing and perfectly legible. (Unless you have an MD; that's one stereotype that I've seen confirmed in the real world over and over.)

God damn it.


But how often do you need to write that quickly? I can take notes in my own short hand as quickly as anyone can talk, if I am brainstorming ideas I am not going any faster than I can print, and if I am working on the final draft of something (which may go more quickly), I am certainly typing. There have been a handful of times in my life where it would have been really cool to have beautiful cursive handwriting, but there have been more times in my life where it would have been cool to know how to replace an alternator, or how to make pie crust, or how to replace a hard drive. The question isn't "is this valuable?" It's "Of all the things you want to teach your child, how far down is this on the list?"

And while good cursive may be as legible as good printing, lousy cursive is much more illegible than lousy printing.

Aspidistra
08-13-2008, 07:23 AM
Those of you who think cursive is slower to write and less legible than printing -- the problem isn't cursive, the problem is that you suck at it. Proper cursive -- not calligraphy or Copperplate, just "joined-up writing" -- is faster than printing and perfectly legible. (Unless you have an MD; that's one stereotype that I've seen confirmed in the real world over and over.)

Abso-fucking-lutely. The problem IS that I suck at it. I sucked at it when I started in second grade, I continued to suck at it for the next four years of primary school, and it still looked like a demented spider when I gleefully gave it up in high school.

MY cursive is considerably less legible than printing (dunno 'bout speed). And there are many like me...

So, yeah, it's possible that autz's son could be denied the opportunity of developing a beautiful flowing script hand that causes women to swoon, if he doesn't learn cursive. OR - he may be being saved from four years of trying to tame a demented spider.

Baldwin
08-13-2008, 07:23 AM
Here I stand. I can do no other.

I don't want kids to go to the National Archive and not be able to read the Declaration of Independence.

Also, there's that red haze that drives me beyond any rational argument. A voice in my head says "Wipe 'em out. Start over with the monkeys."

Siam Sam
08-13-2008, 07:35 AM
I feel very, very old. I had no idea students were no longer required to learn or use cursive anymore. :(

Really Not All That Bright
08-13-2008, 07:41 AM
There is no "limit" on what you can teach your kids. If they don't know how to knit or replace an alternator or throw a slider or apply mascara it isn't going to be because they learned cursive.

Sure, written media may be completely foreign in schools one day, with every kid having a laptop- but that day probably won't be in the next ten years, so until then it might be handy for him to write well.

Besides, rightly or wrongly, fluid, legible handwriting is often taken as a sign of intelligence, just like speaking clearly. I've often heard "how smart I must be" - from teachers more than anyone else- because of my handwriting.

GuanoLad
08-13-2008, 08:02 AM
Write legibly. Spell things correctly. Use proper grammar.

That's all that matters; not how pretty it looks, not how rapidly it can be done, but that it's easy to understand what you wrote.

Manda JO
08-13-2008, 08:54 AM
There is no "limit" on what you can teach your kids. If they don't know how to knit or replace an alternator or throw a slider or apply mascara it isn't going to be because they learned cursive.

Sure, written media may be completely foreign in schools one day, with every kid having a laptop- but that day probably won't be in the next ten years, so until then it might be handy for him to write well.

Besides, rightly or wrongly, fluid, legible handwriting is often taken as a sign of intelligence, just like speaking clearly. I've often heard "how smart I must be" - from teachers more than anyone else- because of my handwriting.

Of course there is a limit: after you get home, have dinner, clean up the kitchen, make sure school work is done, it's what? Seven o'clock? Even if you had "extra school" every night from seven until bedtime (and do you really want to do that?), you've got ten hours during the week and another ten, tops, on the weekend. And that's if "extra school" takes over everything else. More realistically, you've got a couple hours a couple times a week to teach a kid something they have no interest in learning (and you use those other 16 hours to help your child learn things through activities that they are interested in). Any more than that, they start to resent the whole process and you for insisting on it. So there is a limit.

Harriet the Spry
08-13-2008, 09:02 AM
I've got to ask, though, how it's even possible for somebody to write faster in block capitals, rather than cursive, as some are suggesting here. Are you mistaking a particular style of handwriting, that you learned in school, for all cursive handwriting?

If I slow my cursive down enough for it to be legible to someone else, or even myself at a later date, it is slower than printing. And additional practice may make it a little faster, but for me seems to make it less and less legible.

Ascenray, if you're still following this thread, did you actually have elementary school teachers who taught that openminded perspective on letterforms?

WhyNot
08-13-2008, 09:22 AM
No offense, but I want to kill you. Completely irrational. Something about this makes a red haze appear in my vision.

Those of you who think cursive is slower to write and less legible than printing -- the problem isn't cursive, the problem is that you suck at it. Proper cursive -- not calligraphy or Copperplate, just "joined-up writing" -- is faster than printing and perfectly legible. (Unless you have an MD; that's one stereotype that I've seen confirmed in the real world over and over.)

God damn it.
I am very sorry that I caused that sort of emotional reaction. Please accept that it wasn't my intent.

Really Not All That Bright
08-13-2008, 09:27 AM
Ascenray, if you're still following this thread, did you actually have elementary school teachers who taught that openminded perspective on letterforms?
I certainly did, and I went to English private schools full of mean old ladies.

Of course, when we first learned to write in cursive (or joined-up, as it's called in England), everything was to be perfect. At my first cursive-teaching school, I was taught the Marion Richardson style- non-looped cursive, basically, wherein every letter that had a straight bit- "h", for example, retained its straight bit. We would be marked down for looping anything that wasn't supposed to be looped.

After that, I went to a school where the teachers didn't care what style of cursive you used, just as long as you weren't printing. By that point, individual students were creating and refining their own letterforms, just as ascenray suggests.

I taught myself to loop my characters, after deciding that the Marion Richardson nonsense I was taught looked "childish".

Acsenray
08-13-2008, 09:50 AM
Ascenray, if you're still following this thread, did you actually have elementary school teachers who taught that openminded perspective on letterforms?

They didn't need to. The first time handwriting was taught, it was through copying a particular copperplate-style hand. But once that year was over, no teacher ever insisted that students stick to that particular hand.

Monstera deliciosa
08-13-2008, 09:53 AM
Is cursvie really all that rare in the US, or is this another oddity of the SDMB? Everybody who I know writes in cursive. When faced with a written handwritten document, all in printed letters, I can't help but think that the author is undereducated or a bit childish.

I've got to ask, though, how it's even possible for somebody to write faster in block capitals, rather than cursive, as some are suggesting here. Are you mistaking a particular style of handwriting, that you learned in school, for all cursive handwriting?

I'm in the US, and I was wondering the same thing. I have been reading this thread with my jaw dropped open. To me learning how to write (not print) is a basic skill that I cannot fathom becoming obsolete. My apologies to Manda JO, and WhyNot's mother, because I have come to respect them both, but their opinions on this as teachers absolutely horrifies me. I cannot prove it, so no cite, but it has always been my opinion that writing by hand stimulates the brain in ways that printing and typing cannot accomplish. I am a good typist, but I make horrible errors in typing out my own thoughts all the time, that I would never make in writing by hand. I'm not talking about typos, like transposing letters. I am always leaving words out of sentences and letters out of words. My brain just skips right over them.

My 20 year-old stepson did not learn cursive as a youngster, because of fine motor skill difficulties relating to his Asperger's syndrome. In him, I accept that limitation. (And no, videogames do not teach the same skills; he's an expert gamer.) But, just the other day, I left him a short note, (only a sentence or two) in my own, very neat, legible cursive. He told me not to write to him in cursive anymore because he couldn't read it.

Kid's got another thing coming. I'm going to keep on writing to him in cursive, because even if he can't write it, he's damn well going to learn to read it.

Monstera deliciosa
08-13-2008, 10:04 AM
Kid's got another thing coming. I'm going to keep on writing to him in cursive, because even if he can't write it, he's damn well going to learn to read it.

I should add, he was exaggerating when he said he couldn't read it, since he did what I asked in the note, without clarification. What he meant is that it took him a little extra effort to read it. He is kind of a lazy kid.

Silver Tyger
08-13-2008, 10:38 AM
I'm amazed at all the people who say that cursive is inherently faster than other writing. I'd love to race them, my printing vs their cursive. I may be the only one who can read it, but who cares? When I need it to be legible to others, I write in small caps - which I can also do pretty darn fast. When I do cursive it's slow and looks like I'm still in second grade.

I can read cursive, but it's not any more inherently legible than anything else. My mom's is nice, some of my coworkers have had chicken-scratching. When I see it in comics, I want to smack the letterer.

Being able to touch-type is a much more useful skill.

Really Not All That Bright
08-13-2008, 10:43 AM
Being able to touch-type is a much more useful skill.
...but irrelevant to the discussion, because being able to write doesn't mean you can't type too.

dalej42
08-13-2008, 10:59 AM
I'm in the US, and I was wondering the same thing. I have been reading this thread with my jaw dropped open. To me learning how to write (not print) is a basic skill that I cannot fathom becoming obsolete. My apologies to Manda JO, and WhyNot's mother, because I have come to respect them both, but their opinions on this as teachers absolutely horrifies me. I cannot prove it, so no cite, but it has always been my opinion that writing by hand stimulates the brain in ways that printing and typing cannot accomplish.

That sounds like pop psychology BS to me. Cursive "stimulates the brain?" It is an antiquated form of writing, nothing more, nothing less.

Monstera deliciosa
08-13-2008, 11:20 AM
That sounds like pop psychology BS to me. Cursive "stimulates the brain?" It is an antiquated form of writing, nothing more, nothing less.

I don't go in for pop psychology, in fact, I abhor it, and I said I did say I cannot prove my opinion. All I know is that I have ridiculous brain farts when I type, that I do not have when I express myself in writing.

Antiquated? I'm only 48, and not only was I taught cursive in school, it was heavily emphasized. Perhaps it is somewhat old-fashioned, but antiquated? Please. The more I read, the more I am being convinced that this resistance to cursive, is, as Captain Ridley's Shooting Party suggested, more SDMB-centric BS.

BellRungBookShut-CandleSnuffed
08-13-2008, 11:38 AM
They didn't need to. The first time handwriting was taught, it was through copying a particular copperplate-style hand. But once that year was over, no teacher ever insisted that students stick to that particular hand.
Yeah, so you can mix and match standard styles if you want, but deviating from standards means that you run the risk of making your deviations incomprehensible to other people reading it. If I write my "I" differently than Zaner-Bloser wants me to, then how will other people reading it know that it's an I? Some flexibility has to be allowed for, but like "creative spelling," there are standards for a reason.

The first time I took the SAT, I copied the pledge carefully. Took me forever. Then I realized it didn't matter a damn, and scribbled it out in about 10 seconds. None of it was legible.

The only reason I can think of for learning cursive is that so you can read it. But it seems pretty archaic to me.

Magiver
08-13-2008, 11:46 AM
Add me to the list of people who are shocked that it's even a topic of discussion. My nephews can't write in cursive and their printing looks like a 2-year-oldís scribble. It's obviously labored to form each letter. There is no way they can take good notes with their current skill level.

I can't imagine, in the world of business, what my bosses would think if I showed him/her my notes from a meeting and it looked like I had used a crayon in my nose. My last boss was from another country and his English was better than most Americans. He could easily have taught it in HS.

While some people think it's unfair to judge people based on observation there is a level of truth behind the judgments made. When an expected skill set is missing or done poorly it is assumed that other skill sets are missing or done poorly.

WhyNot
08-13-2008, 11:49 AM
The more I read, the more I am being convinced that this resistance to cursive, is, as Captain Ridley's Shooting Party suggested, more SDMB-centric BS.
Nope. It's very real. (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=no+longer+teaching+cursive&btnG=Search)

http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_teacher/mar04/speakout.html
http://teacherleaders.typepad.com/tln_teacher_voices/2006/10/the_pros_and_co.html
http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=50289

It's still debated, of course. But not just by us.

WhyNot
08-13-2008, 11:50 AM
Add me to the list of people who are shocked that it's even a topic of discussion. My nephews can't write in cursive and their printing looks like a 2-year-oldís scribble. It's obviously labored to form each letter. There is no way they can take good notes with their current skill level.
So how would teaching them another form of writing help with this? Wouldn't that just make them poor at two skills? Shouldn't they spend the time practicing their printing - the writing which really is required on countless forms, from supermarket discount cards to government id requests?

Really Not All That Bright
08-13-2008, 11:57 AM
So how would teaching them another form of writing help with this? Wouldn't that just make them poor at two skills? Shouldn't they spend the time practicing their printing - the writing which really is required on countless forms, from supermarket discount cards to government id requests?
Writing in cursive and printing are not "two skills", unless you consider "drawing trees" and "drawing bushes" to be two different skills.

Acsenray
08-13-2008, 12:04 PM
Yeah, so you can mix and match standard styles if you want, but deviating from standards means that you run the risk of making your deviations incomprehensible to other people reading it. If I write my "I" differently than Zaner-Bloser wants me to, then how will other people reading it know that it's an I? Some flexibility has to be allowed for, but like "creative spelling," there are standards for a reason.

This is simply not how human language works. The human mind can deal with a wide range of variation. Learning to read, whether it's printed or handwritten material, is not simply based on recognizing individual letters. Neither is writing, and neither is typing, for that matter, any more than recognizing spoken language is based on the recognition of individual phonemes.

SkeptiJess
08-13-2008, 12:14 PM
My daughter says to tell you it isn't necessary. She has Cerebral Palsy -- mostly effecting her gross motor skills, but with some fine motor impairments. When her class learned cursive, she had some trouble with it due to the fine motor issues. The school wanted to add a resource class in cursive to her other special ed classes. She was being pulled out for math class and reading class at the time and I didn't want to increase her time outside her mainstream class, so I declined the extra cursive class. Consequently, she never learned to 'write.'

She is 21 now and a rising junior in college. According to her she has never missed being able to write in cursive at all. She did learn a signature -- in her case, she uses a mixture of printing and joined writing to produce a signature which is comfortable & quick -- but for everything else, including personal letter and thank you notes, she uses printing.

For what it's worth, my husband and son never uses cursive, either, accept in their signatures. They both learned cursive in school but haven't used it since. They print anything that needs to be written my hand.

WhyNot
08-13-2008, 12:20 PM
Writing in cursive and printing are not "two skills", unless you consider "drawing trees" and "drawing bushes" to be two different skills.
Then I guess we can discount the arguments that cursive improves small motor skills or brain development in a way that printing doesn't.

I do consider them two skills, because they're called for in different situations and, increasingly, not interchangeable.

Palo Verde
08-13-2008, 01:41 PM
Gosh, I didn't know this simple question would cause such heated discussion.

I asked him last night if he felt that he need to learn it and he said yes, but he didn't want to spend a lot of time on it. I just printed out some worksheets from the internet showing capital and small letters, and some sample cursive sentences.

He also said that when his brother (who is in 3rd grade and will be learning cursive this year) gets his cursive homework, the older boy will also follow along.

He seems to want to, so I'll give him the tools to learn.

Magiver
08-13-2008, 01:42 PM
So how would teaching them another form of writing help with this? Wouldn't that just make them poor at two skills? Shouldn't they spend the time practicing their printing - the writing which really is required on countless forms, from supermarket discount cards to government id requests? They should spend time learning the skills that best help them. Cursive writing is an efficient way of taking notes and it follows the skill to print.

From my observations there has been a general decline in academic achievement in American schools. My depression-era parents had a better HS education than I had. With the advent of the grading curve it is impossible to gauge the level of achievement by looking at GPA. Today, itís a minor miracle if a high school graduate can make change.

Really Not All That Bright
08-13-2008, 01:44 PM
Then I guess we can discount the arguments that cursive improves small motor skills or brain development in a way that printing doesn't.

I do consider them two skills, because they're called for in different situations and, increasingly, not interchangeable.
The difference is that printing is what comes out when you write. Cursive is conditioned, not what comes naturally- which means you need to practice.

WhyNot
08-13-2008, 02:13 PM
The difference is that printing is what comes out when you write. Cursive is conditioned, not what comes naturally- which means you need to practice.
I'm not sure I understand you. Are you saying printing doesn't need to be taught? Or that it can't be improved with practice? Or that people who know both will automatically print, given their druthers? None of those are true, of course.

Cursive is just as arbitrary and "conditioned" a skill as printing can be. It's just not as useful today. Should the kid be taught if he wants to learn? Of course. Just like he should be taught fine woodworking or leathercraft if he wants to learn. I'm just saying it's not a necessary skill these days.

"Should my son learn cursive [to be a well-rounded functional adult]?" No. "Could my son learn cursive?" Of course!

Lionne
08-13-2008, 02:31 PM
Gosh, I didn't know this simple question would cause such heated discussion.I think people feel about this the way they do about declawing cats and shoes on or off inside the house.

As for me, I see cursive as a hindrance mostly. My penmanship is fine, easily read and neat...and I haven't used cursive since forced to in elementary school.

Gary Robson
08-13-2008, 02:36 PM
Then I guess we can discount the arguments that cursive improves small motor skills or brain development in a way that printing doesn't.

I do consider them two skills, because they're called for in different situations and, increasingly, not interchangeable.Up until I read this thread, I would have considered them interchangeable for all American adults. I've always thought of them as two forms of the same alphabet--one faster but harder to read and one slower but easier to read. I'm quite surprised to hear cursive is being dropped from school curricula.

As for the upthread comments on signatures, I do have a "readable" signature, but my standard signature is more of a unique mark very loosely based on the shapes of some of the letters in my name.

Sarahfeena
08-13-2008, 02:58 PM
That sounds like pop psychology BS to me. Cursive "stimulates the brain?" It is an antiquated form of writing, nothing more, nothing less. I don't get this point about it being antiquated. I mean, it's never been necessary. If you mean it's antiquated because it's being replaced by typing, that doesn't make sense to me. Compared to hand printing something, typing is a less personalized way to communicate, and cursive handwriting is a more personalized way. The things I write in cursive (such as the thank-you notes and condolence notes I mentioned earlier), I would never type on a computer.

WhyNot
08-13-2008, 03:04 PM
The things I write in cursive (such as the thank-you notes and condolence notes I mentioned earlier), I would never type on a computer.
And in 15 years, the height of etiquette will probably be to text these things. In the meantime, Grandpa will be just as thrilled to get a printed thank you note from the kid.

Really, can't you see the MPSIMS on the Dope 2022?: Ohmigod, you mean you'd let someone sit there a whole 4 days not knowing you got a gift? Why on earth didn't you text him right away so he knew it wasn't lost in the mail or something? That is SO inconsiderate!

:D

Superfreaknduper
08-13-2008, 03:07 PM
If he wants to I would say go for it.

As for the argument that writing in cursive if quicker for taking notes in class and the like, shouldn't you then just learn to type on a computer, the quickness of that easily trumps cursive writing. Better yet, take up stenography.

And my recollections of cursive writing point to this: http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~mineyev/class/07f/cursive.png

while actual in use cursive looks like this:
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://elementaryteacher.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/typical-north-american-cursive-1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://elementaryteacher.wordpress.com/2007/10/28/how-american-cursive-appears-to-the-british/&h=373&w=250&sz=31&hl=en&start=10&um=1&tbnid=c--jPN6lNaE61M:&tbnh=122&tbnw=82&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcursive%2Bwriting%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN (holy crap huge link)

AND just to add to the confusion between the American and vast foreign input to the thread appartently there is a LARGE difference between what Americans consider cursive writing and the British (not american) joined-together:
http://elementaryteacher.wordpress.com/2007/10/28/how-american-cursive-appears-to-the-british/

WhyNot: The SDMB of 2022 will have almost no vowels. and will be super shorthanded. Like OMG? Howd U mnge 2 ms tht? ROTFL. IDK my bff jill. :p

Really Not All That Bright
08-13-2008, 03:12 PM
"Should my son learn cursive [to be a well-rounded functional adult]?" No. "Could my son learn cursive?" Of course!
I think we're looking through a slightly warped pane of glass at each other, which makes us appear to be further apart than we are. Of course I don't believe that people who can't write in cursive are not well-rounded functional adults.

For one thing, my mother can't.

I suppose the main thing is, "Can you communicate?" and if you can write legibly and read reasonably clear cursive, it doesn't matter.

Sarahfeena
08-13-2008, 03:13 PM
And in 15 years, the height of etiquette will probably be to text these things. In the meantime, Grandpa will be just as thrilled to get a printed thank you note from the kid.

Really, can't you see the MPSIMS on the Dope 2022?: Ohmigod, you mean you'd let someone sit there a whole 4 days not knowing you got a gift? Why on earth didn't you text him right away so he knew it wasn't lost in the mail or something? That is SO inconsiderate!

:D You have a good point, but I'm not so sure it's going to play out that way. After all, it's still considered nicer to send a note than call grandma on the phone to thank her, and phones have been around for 100 years.

gigi
08-13-2008, 03:27 PM
I think people feel about this the way they do about declawing cats and shoes on or off inside the house.And about which way the toilet paper should hang.

Being able to "write cursive" has nothing to do with memorizing the specific stroke sequences and letterforms of any particular hand. It never mattered whether you could reproduce that specific hand's capital I from memory. That's not what being able to write by hand is about. The failure to understand that is apparently a key to understanding how terrible your handwriting instructor was.Granted, here he is copying a written statement and they will know that he means an "I" by that strange squiggle he used. But absent anything else, why wouldn't you use what's taught as a conventional "I" if you want the reader to understand it as an I ?

Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
08-13-2008, 03:44 PM
And my recollections of cursive writing point to this: http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~mineyev/class/07f/cursive.png


Yes, that's similar to the cursive style that I was originally taught in the UK (some of the capitals are different, such as the "F"). I firmly remember my report card, from Year 5, in Primary School, commenting on the fact that I'd developed my own style of handwriting, though. We all started from the same base, but after Year 3, we were not marked down for not using the "correct" cursive style.

Chessic Sense
08-13-2008, 04:26 PM
I invent new letterforms nearly every time I write something by hand. That's how handwriting works.

This is one of the strangest sentences I have ever read. Do you write in WingDings?

Mailbox! Maaaailbooox!!! (http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1823766)

Palo Verde
08-13-2008, 04:42 PM
I've read several people here being shocked that 'cursive is no longer taught in school' or some such statement.

I will reiterate. In my case at least, cursive is ordinarily taught in the 3rd grade. It is a standard part of the cirriculum. My son just had a loser in 3rd grade that didn't teach what she was supposed to.

Acsenray
08-13-2008, 04:48 PM
I suspect that some of the people who are saying "I never write (in 'cursive'); I only print" have some misconception regarding what "writing (in 'cursive')" and "printing" really are.

For example. If you make your minuscule a with a kind of round form ending in a straight form, then you're using a script form of a, not print. A print a has two storeys.

If any of your letters join up at all, you're essentially out of the realm of printing.

Indistinguishable
08-13-2008, 04:53 PM
The single-story minuscule 'a' may be called "script a", but it gets used in print; it hardly serves as evidence that one is using cursive. In fact, I see it in your post, and yet, I assume you will agree, that post is not being rendered in script...

At any rate, that sort of thing would be irrelevant to what the OP is asking about, which is the system of writing which we are all laboring under the misconception of referring to as "cursive".

Manda JO
08-13-2008, 05:06 PM
They should spend time learning the skills that best help them. Cursive writing is an efficient way of taking notes and it follows the skill to print.

From my observations there has been a general decline in academic achievement in American schools. My depression-era parents had a better HS education than I had. With the advent of the grading curve it is impossible to gauge the level of achievement by looking at GPA. Today, itís a minor miracle if a high school graduate can make change.


This is just not true. I teach in an urban high school where 65% of the kids are socioeconomically disadvantaged and 25% never hear English at home, and while the bottom of our graduating class may be pretty abysmal--and I agree that's a problem throughout America and something that needs to be addressed--the top half is amazing. They are learning Chemistry, Physics, and Biology that didn't even exist 40 years ago, and that was only learned by graduate students 20 years ago. They know how to use a computer as a tool in a variety of ways, they have all mastered pre-calculus and many have mastered calculus (over 120,000 kids passed the AP AB calculus exam in 2006: another 47,000 passed the BC exam). You're right. Their mental math sucks, and we are losing another skill in cursive. But there is such a thing as opportunity cost, and teachers aren't cutting these things out so that their can be more recess and sing-a-longs.

Indistinguishable
08-13-2008, 05:22 PM
This is just not true.
The world is full of handbasket-Cassandras, convinced, without evidence, that previous generations were smarter/kinder/more industrious/had better values/whatever. The most relevant current thread addressing such silliness is this one (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=479111). Until cites are brought forth, one might as well ignore such assertions.

Bridget Burke
08-13-2008, 05:39 PM
Gosh, I didn't know this simple question would cause such heated discussion.

I asked him last night if he felt that he need to learn it and he said yes, but he didn't want to spend a lot of time on it. I just printed out some worksheets from the internet showing capital and small letters, and some sample cursive sentences.

He also said that when his brother (who is in 3rd grade and will be learning cursive this year) gets his cursive homework, the older boy will also follow along.

He seems to want to, so I'll give him the tools to learn.

Good! Sometimes, when taking notes in a meeting, I start out printing. But I generally switch to mostly cursive because it is faster for me. (I also have ace keyboard skills.)

SpectBrain
08-13-2008, 07:07 PM
Autz is your son a lefty, by chance? Speaking from personal experience it's much more difficult to master cursive writing left handed.

Full Metal Lotus
08-13-2008, 07:43 PM
A lot of my staff are in their late teens and early twenties.

This is the generation that went from learning how to print and then directly to keyboarding. They can type real fast, but, their printing looks like it was done by a 3rd grader with eye hand coordination problems.

These "kids" saw me do a Calligraphic Poster for a staff meeting and as far as they were concerned it was "an incredible skill"! One even got me to write out a "love letter" to his girl friend. And, truth be known, I am not an expert calligrapher-I have average skills at best.

Most of them have a hard time reading an acual written note in a basic cursive style.

And many of them are in university or college.

I do see cursive writing as a dying art, sad to say. Should it be preserved? Certainly, but should it be taught in school? Well, should roman numerals be taught in school? They are on the same level of usefulness in the modern world..

Regards
FML

Derleth
08-14-2008, 12:05 AM
Well, should roman numerals be taught in school? They are on the same level of usefulness in the modern world..The difference is that Roman numerals take about three minutes to learn (even including the overbar notation nobody uses anymore) and you can decode all of the movie copyright dates you see thereafter, but cursive (aka joined-up writing, aka the D'Nealian hand (http://www.dnealian.com/lessons.html)*, aka the Palmer Method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_method)**) takes significant practice to do at all well.

*(An ugly hand, and not one worth preserving. Even the Spencerian script, uselessly loopy as it is, has redeeming features in comparison.)

**(Do not forget that the Palmer Method requires left-handed students to use their right hand. Many older lefties have rather grim memories of that to this day.)

Magiver
08-14-2008, 12:59 AM
This is just not true. I teach in an urban high school where 65% of the kids are socioeconomically disadvantaged and 25% never hear English at home, and while the bottom of our graduating class may be pretty abysmal--and I agree that's a problem throughout America and something that needs to be addressed--the top half is amazing. They are learning Chemistry, Physics, and Biology that didn't even exist 40 years ago, and that was only learned by graduate students 20 years ago. They know how to use a computer as a tool in a variety of ways, they have all mastered pre-calculus and many have mastered calculus (over 120,000 kids passed the AP AB calculus exam in 2006: another 47,000 passed the BC exam). You're right. Their mental math sucks, and we are losing another skill in cursive. But there is such a thing as opportunity cost, and teachers aren't cutting these things out so that their can be more recess and sing-a-longs. If you're in an urban setting then the drop out rate is substantial. Your percentage is more like 25% of the class. I hope you're right but I'm not seeing the reasoning skills in kids that I saw in my parent's generation. While my dad never took calculus he fully utilize the math he learned. The same kids who are taking HS calculus today can't nail 2 pieces of wood together without video instructions and 4 people holding their hand.

Full Metal Lotus
08-14-2008, 03:00 AM
The difference is that Roman numerals take about three minutes to learn (even including the overbar notation nobody uses anymore) and you can decode all of the movie copyright dates you see thereafter, but cursive (aka joined-up writing, aka the D'Nealian hand (http://www.dnealian.com/lessons.html)*, aka the Palmer Method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_method)**) takes significant practice to do at all well.

*(An ugly hand, and not one worth preserving. Even the Spencerian script, uselessly loopy as it is, has redeeming features in comparison.)

**(Do not forget that the Palmer Method requires left-handed students to use their right hand. Many older lefties have rather grim memories of that to this day.)


Sorry, I was a little abrupt- I meant how to multiply , divide, subtract and add in Roman numerals. i was taught how to do those things in grade 3. completely needless in the modern world.

fml

Acsenray
08-14-2008, 09:14 AM
cursive (aka joined-up writing, aka the D'Nealian hand (http://www.dnealian.com/lessons.html)*, aka the Palmer Method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_method)**)

I dispute your string of a.k.a.s. There is absolutely no reason to preserve D'Nealian or Palmer. However, the skill of writing by hand ("joined-up writing") is not equivalent to either of these, and it's worth teaching so long as anyone has any reason to communicate using a writing implement.

Cicero
08-14-2008, 10:00 AM
Are we talking the same thing- just normal handwriting? As in running writing? I had no idea it was ever not being taught.

Derleth
08-14-2008, 10:39 AM
Are we talking the same thing- just normal handwriting? As in running writing? I had no idea it was ever not being taught.Yes, that is what we're talking about. See my 'long string of akas' for additional clarification. I dispute your string of a.k.a.s. There is absolutely no reason to preserve D'Nealian or Palmer.Well, here you're apparently proposing something fairly radical: Changing how schools teach kids to write is likely to provoke one of those senseless backlashes the education world is known for. Going to a new script, let alone a new teaching method, probably isn't worth it.However, the skill of writing by hand ("joined-up writing") is not equivalent to either of these, and it's worth teaching so long as anyone has any reason to communicate using a writing implement.This is an assertion with no support, especially given that printing is more legible and shorthand is faster. Cursive falls in an unfortunate position of being both slower and less legible than the possible alternatives.

Indistinguishable
08-14-2008, 11:11 AM
However, the skill of writing by hand ("joined-up writing") is not equivalent to either of these, and it's worth teaching so long as anyone has any reason to communicate using a writing implement.
Why not communicate using a writing implement in a non-joined-up fashion?

Alternatively:
When I was a child, before being taught cursive (apparently, D'Nealian) in school, my sister and I would pretend we could write in cursive: what we would do is simply write in block letters as we were used to (aka, "print") but connect the ends of each letter to each other (thus not lifting the pen from the paper too much). Would this be acceptable? No one would have to teach cursive specially; one could just say "Now, connect all your letters to each other" after having taught "print".

Palo Verde
08-14-2008, 12:39 PM
Autz is your son a lefty, by chance? Speaking from personal experience it's much more difficult to master cursive writing left handed.


Yes! He's a lefty. I hadn't thought of that aspect.

ouryL
08-14-2008, 04:18 PM
Nowadays we only use cursive to write our names. I take your son can sign his name?

Elenfair
08-14-2008, 05:34 PM
Yes, teach him cursive. It's not that hard. If nothing else, he will likely be called upon to be able to read it, especially if he leaves North America at some point in his life.

I grew up in the French school system. We were taught cursive first, then print. Way smarter way to do it, if you ask me. Way easier, too. But that's just MHO.

GuanoLad
08-14-2008, 07:11 PM
Here's the thing. In the real world, the infrequency where I actually need to write anything is not helped one iota if all the letters in the words were joined up or not. There's no need to be faster, it's no more readable (in fact it's often less readable), and it's unnecessarily fancy.

There is no point. Whatever people are perceiving as good reasons for learning it, are missing the real world practicality where it's all completely unnecessary.

shy guy
08-14-2008, 11:31 PM
I'm a lefty as well, I'm 24, and I write in cursive. That said, by high school almost everyone I know had abandoned it.

I think it's still a useful skill to have, though. In college, that's how I took notes (I didn't bring a laptop to class), and now that I'm a legal clerk, I quite frequently have to decipher the writing on some ancient document or the chicken scratchings of some older attorney, which are always in cursive.

You never know what your son might wind up doing. If he winds up working in any field in which he has to deal with any type of hand-written document on a regular basis, knowing how to at least read cursive will be essential.

Something about cursive still says "grown up" to me. I realize that it has no basis in logic, but I still have an adverse reaction to seeing an adult print something rather than use cursive (particularly if his handwriting is bad). I send emails and text like a madman, but I still think it's a worthwhile skill to be able to create a nice, sophisticated-looking handwritten document.

In fact, I'm insecure about my cursive handwriting as well. My goal has always been to match the absolutely gorgeous handwriting of my grandmother, but I've never come close.

sunacres
08-15-2008, 01:44 AM
There is no point. Whatever people are perceiving as good reasons for learning it, are missing the real world practicality where it's all completely unnecessary.There was a movie about this recently, I think it was called "Idiocracy" or something similar. GuanoLad can't understand why something is valuable and therefore dismisses it. Eventually, we're all quite stupid.

I'm particularly disturbed by Manda JO's perspective. I also teach high school, and find the decay in critical thinking skills, even among AP and Honors level students, to be very sad. They are driven almost exclusively by the standardized tests, and GPA considerations.

I can't argue with the inevitability of a transformation in personal communication from hand written content to keyboard (and ultimately voice-transcribed) text, but today, right now, those individuals who can't manipulate a pencil effectively are at a severe disadvantage whenever their disability comes to light. GuanoLad may not realize it, but people do judge him by his penmanship just as surely as they do by his diction and pronunciation. It's human nature.

GuanoLad
08-15-2008, 01:54 AM
GuanoLad may not realize it, but people do judge him by his penmanship just as surely as they do by his diction and pronunciation. It's human nature.Fuck 'em. If they can read my printing, and not my joined-up-writing, then who gives a shit if they're casting judgement upon me? All that matters is that it's legible.

Indistinguishable
08-15-2008, 02:29 AM
I'm particularly disturbed by Manda JO's perspective. I also teach high school, and find the decay in critical thinking skills, even among AP and Honors level students, to be very sad. They are driven almost exclusively by the standardized tests, and GPA considerations.
What evidence do you have that critical thinking skills were once significantly higher among students than they are today?

sturmhauke
08-15-2008, 02:46 AM
I'm 32, went to school in California, and I was taught the D'Nealian cursive (didn't know what it was called before though). I always thought it was ugly and hard to write, and stopped using it ASAFP, which was around 5th grade.
Loopy cursive?

NO.

NO WAY.

NEVER.

I teach my students italic cursive (http://www.cep.pdx.edu/titles/italic_series/books_in_series.shtml)
Now see, if I was taught that style of writing I would like cursive much better. But until recently I thought cursive = D'Nealian = fucking ugly.

mr. jp
08-15-2008, 03:56 AM
Don't do it! It would be a blatant waste of his time. Heck, I never used the cursive I used, and I wasn't born in the computer age. If you have time to teach him stuff, why don't you teach him something proper like history or maths?

Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
08-15-2008, 04:45 AM
Being plain about it, what use is history? I have never once used any of the knowledge that I gained in history class. It's a complete waste of time. As are teaching foreign languages---I can remember about three words from French class---I know more Latin than French despite studying French for longer. Religious education? A load of bunk. English literature? Who cares about poems?

Clearly, as I have never used any of these, they should be removed from the curriculum.

Tamex
08-15-2008, 05:08 AM
I'm particularly disturbed by Manda JO's perspective. I also teach high school, and find the decay in critical thinking skills, even among AP and Honors level students, to be very sad. They are driven almost exclusively by the standardized tests, and GPA considerations.

Strange. It's been a while since I was in high school (I am 32) and I don't ever remember a high school teacher ever being interested in whether or not I had critical thinking skills. I did have a health teacher tell us that it wasn't our fault we were so stupid--it was the fact that *all* (as in 100%) of our parents smoked pot before we were born. You can try that excuse--though I think pot use was more prevalent during the 70's than the 90's, so I'd actually expect these kids to be smarter than we were.

kittenblue
08-15-2008, 07:02 AM
I've read several people here being shocked that 'cursive is no longer taught in school' or some such statement.

I will reiterate. In my case at least, cursive is ordinarily taught in the 3rd grade. It is a standard part of the cirriculum. My son just had a loser in 3rd grade that didn't teach what she was supposed to. So this would mean that all the children in that particular class also missed out, right? So if they've all moved up together, perhaps their current teachers are seeing the lack and can be persuaded by the parents to include some remedial work during those times when the kids have some free time....or is it only your son who seems to be having problems?

Palo Verde
08-15-2008, 11:58 AM
He switched schools after that year so he's no longer with those classmates.

Really Not All That Bright
08-15-2008, 12:15 PM
I'm particularly disturbed by Manda JO's perspective. I also teach high school, and find the decay in critical thinking skills, even among AP and Honors level students, to be very sad. They are driven almost exclusively by the standardized tests, and GPA considerations.
Bah. Fifty years ago practically all teaching was based on rote memorization. If critical thinking skills have declined since then- an assertion that I find highly dubious, given that it wasn't required - it has nothing to do with teaching methods.

My grandmother has been a teacher in India getting on for sixty years. Her lessons are still based on memorizing lists, dates, numbers, names, conjugations, and so on.

If you spoke to some of her students, I think you'd change your mind. Some of these kids are brilliant- it's a school for the "gifted" children of truly poor people (miners, field hands, and so on)- and yet none of her students think at all.

It isn't that they can't, it's that they aren't taught to do so. They know and comprehend vast reams of information - her maths classes know pi to fifty places - but they have no idea of how to apply this knowledge. I suspect if you were a high school teacher in 1908 your students would be much the same. AFAIK, subjects like debate and speech, ie. the stuff that demands critical thinking, weren't taught until college in those days.

Pedro
08-15-2008, 12:58 PM
I really dislike cursive calligraphy, most are just scribbles and I think it looks childish and unprofessional. Mine is the worst on both counts. I'm making an effort to move away from it. But it would be hopeless to write anything longer than a few sentences all in block characters. Between having to decipher hieroglyphs later on or taking 10 times longer, I'll pick the first or use a keyboard.

even sven
08-15-2008, 01:43 PM
Being plain about it, what use is history? I have never once used any of the knowledge that I gained in history class. It's a complete waste of time. As are teaching foreign languages---I can remember about three words from French class---I know more Latin than French despite studying French for longer. Religious education? A load of bunk. English literature? Who cares about poems?

There is a difference between a subject and a skill. The things you learned in these classes form a background of general knowledge that increases your ability to process new information and think critically about it.

But cursive is more like my high school ceramics class. Sure it was neat and maybe it built up some motor skills in a very generalized way, but honestly there are no other skills that build on top of it and in life there really isn't much call to do it.

I say use the time for drawing classes. I'm always shocked at how many people can't draw more than a stick figure. Drawing is something that comes up pretty often in daily life and is an important part of many professions. There is a skill that will serve you for years to come.

Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
08-15-2008, 05:30 PM
Drawing comes up regularly in daily life? I don't know about you, but certainly not mine. No where near the extent that taking notes did, as an undergraduate, anyway.

Indistinguishable
08-15-2008, 07:40 PM
I imagine plenty of people get by fine taking notes in non-cursive writing, though. So the question becomes, is the advantage cursive gives you over that comparable to the advantage one could get with improvement in drawing skills (or whatever else)?

I'm sure the answer will differ from person to person, but I don't think it'll be any kind of blowout in favor of cursive education (at least, not in the "Look at this fixed script. Now stick to these letterforms!" style I, and probably most other Americans of recent generations, was given)

(I also imagine electronic note-taking will become de rigeur not too far from now. Already, you see so much of it.)

kittenblue
08-15-2008, 10:30 PM
Yes, but what happens to electronic note-taking when civilization crashes and burns and we have to start over again without electronic crutches?

Siam Sam
08-15-2008, 10:42 PM
Yes, but what happens to electronic note-taking when civilization crashes and burns and we have to start over again without electronic crutches?
I vote for a return to hieroglyphics.

Indistinguishable
08-15-2008, 11:57 PM
Yes, but what happens to electronic note-taking when civilization crashes and burns and we have to start over again without electronic crutches?
Its redevelopment will be our first priority.

Derleth
08-16-2008, 02:12 AM
Yes, but what happens to electronic note-taking when civilization crashes and burns and we have to start over again without electronic crutches?We won't have writing to worry about for a very long time, as the crutch of the written word will be gone for generations.

DrDeth
08-16-2008, 02:18 AM
It's as useful (or not) as calligraphy. In other words, no.

Martini Enfield
08-16-2008, 02:31 AM
Yes, but what happens to electronic note-taking when civilization crashes and burns and we have to start over again without electronic crutches?

Read A Canticle For Leibowitz for the answer to this one. ;)

Manda JO
08-16-2008, 08:41 AM
There was a movie about this recently, I think it was called "Idiocracy" or something similar. GuanoLad can't understand why something is valuable and therefore dismisses it. Eventually, we're all quite stupid.

I'm particularly disturbed by Manda JO's perspective. I also teach high school, and find the decay in critical thinking skills, even among AP and Honors level students, to be very sad. They are driven almost exclusively by the standardized tests, and GPA considerations.

I can't argue with the inevitability of a transformation in personal communication from hand written content to keyboard (and ultimately voice-transcribed) text, but today, right now, those individuals who can't manipulate a pencil effectively are at a severe disadvantage whenever their disability comes to light. GuanoLad may not realize it, but people do judge him by his penmanship just as surely as they do by his diction and pronunciation. It's human nature.

I don't see a decline in critical thinking skills. Assuming you've been at this for a while, how much do you see your kids after they go off to college? So much of what we are doing in high school is prepping our kids for the truly amazing cognitive leaps they will make in their early 20s: if we did our job right, the results don't all materialize for years. Some of my kids have crashed and burned, or failed to launch, but many are happy, healthy, and successful in professions that require a great deal of critical thinking.

I don't think there is anything wrong with teaching a kid cursive, and if it's something they want to learn, I'd encourage it, but I just can't see it as essential in this day and age, not with the extraordinarily limited time many parents have with their kids. I've had too many students who never used cursive (and almost none of them do anymore) go on to be successful.

I do think everyone should be able to read cursive, but I don't know if you even have to teach that: the brain can figure it out, and if you ever need to read a lot of it, you'll pick up speed through application.

Gary Robson
08-16-2008, 11:00 AM
It's as useful (or not) as calligraphy. In other words, no.Those are two dramatically different things, used in dramatically different circumstances.

Cursive is about writing fast when you don't have access to a computer or aren't an ace touch-typist. Legibility is important, but second to speed. Looking good is way down the list.

Calligraphy is about beauty. Legibility is not as important, and speed doesn't matter at all.

Printing is about legibility. Speed is a distant second and beauty isn't on the list at all for the most point.

DrDeth
08-16-2008, 12:12 PM
Those are two dramatically different things, used in dramatically different circumstances.

Cursive is about writing fast when you don't have access to a computer or aren't an ace touch-typist. Legibility is important, but second to speed. Looking good is way down the list.

Calligraphy is about beauty. Legibility is not as important, and speed doesn't matter at all.

Printing is about legibility. Speed is a distant second and beauty isn't on the list at all for the most point.

Typing beats both Cursive and Printing, for speed and legibility. I rather the kids be taught to print then type.

If they need speed they can pick up a tape recorder or learn shorthand.

I am a beaurocrat and I hardly ever need to take written notes longer than a paragraph. I use the computer for nigh everything.

DrDeth
08-16-2008, 12:14 PM
Being plain about it, what use is history? I have never once used any of the knowledge that I gained in history class. It's a complete waste of time. As are teaching foreign languages---I can remember about three words from French class---I know more Latin than French despite studying French for longer. Religious education? A load of bunk. English literature? Who cares about poems?

Clearly, as I have never used any of these, they should be removed from the curriculum.

All of those are Knowledges not skills. They teach one to think. Cursive does not add anything rather than "pretty writing".

Really Not All That Bright
08-16-2008, 12:56 PM
All of those are Knowledges not skills. They teach one to think. Cursive does not add anything rather than "pretty writing".
Obtaining knowledge doesn't teach you to think. Being taught to think teaches you how to think.

Will Repair
08-16-2008, 12:58 PM
Cursive writing is essential for courting ladies.

Runs With Scissors
08-16-2008, 03:06 PM
I'm 32, went to school in California, and I was taught the D'Nealian cursive (didn't know what it was called before though). I always thought it was ugly and hard to write, and stopped using it ASAFP, which was around 5th grade.

Now see, if I was taught that style of writing I would like cursive much better. But until recently I thought cursive = D'Nealian = fucking ugly.


Yeah...

D'Nelian is just the name of the publisher who prints the torture devices, ack, I mean workbooks for kids to copy out of.

Italic is named after the original cursive, invented by Italian monks on the 1500s. I don't recall when and where loopy cursive was invented, but whoever did so should be dug up, brought back to life, and then executed.

Italic cursive is basically joined printing. Not every letter connects. Capital letters are block printed letters. (Loopy cursive capital G? F? J? Q????? S? Z?? Any resemblance to actual letters, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

Loopy cursive is ugly. Italic is artistic and beautiful. Those loops and letters that don't look like their printed counterparts take extra time, so Italic is faster. It also encourages individuality, which most of my students love. It also has some cool quirks, like starting a letter after "t" from the crossbar.

I teach my fifth graders italic in two hours over two days. And then it's done. No boring worksheets all year...we simply practice with the writing we'd be doing anyway.

And I use it myself!

Acsenray
08-16-2008, 04:14 PM
It seems to me, it's "printing" that should be left out. Teaching writing should go straight to italics.

Runs With Scissors
08-16-2008, 06:18 PM
It seems to me, it's "printing" that should be left out. Teaching writing should go straight to italics.

I don't (and never have taught) young kids how to hand write, so I'm just guessing here...but I think even italic is difficult fine-motor-wise. The coursebooks start with printing, though, and the printing is almost identical to the final cursive. (Cursive, btw, simply means joined writing...it doesn't imply flowery, loopy handwriting.) Loopy cursive, though, is more difficult because so many of the letters do not not resemble their printed counterparts, and some of the joins are pretty convoluted and contrived for the sake of the join.

It's a very simple final step into joining the letters, but I wouldn't teach that to a kinder or first grader unless she was ready for it.

sunacres
08-17-2008, 06:11 PM
So much of what we are doing in high school is prepping our kids for the truly amazing cognitive leaps they will make in their early 20s: if we did our job right, the results don't all materialize for years. Some of my kids have crashed and burned, or failed to launch, but many are happy, healthy, and successful in professions that require a great deal of critical thinking.I certainly hope you're right. I haven't been at this for very long. I was motivated to start teaching because as a hiring manager in the world of commerce over the past 30 years I was getting frightened by the poor writing and thinking skills of young employees, even those with MBAs and advanced engineering degrees.

I certainly don't put it down to the de-emphasis of cursive handwriting, and in response to an earlier post I'm afraid I don't have any data to present to back up my observation about critical thinking skills (but it is crisp enough to me to have changed careers as a consequence). Thirty-five years ago we did indeed teach rhetoric in high school along with a variety of manual arts that built very neatly upon the "fine motor skills" introduced with cursive handwriting. Very sadly, perhaps disastrously, those paths are not longer offered so unless you're successful in the remaining college-bound academic track you're shit outta luck.

This trend in narrowing curricula is due to economics. But I'm suspicious that the change (I'm claiming) in critical thinking skills is due more to some shift in parenting that has been initiated by my generation (possibly due to pot smoking, I don't know). For some reason we've been supervising our kids, organizing them, arranging their play dates, telling them where to go and what to do so much that they are losing the instincts to make their own decisions. My son is off to college this year and I am astonished at the programs aimed at me, his parent, that the college is offering so that I can help him get going. There was nothing like that when I went off to college.

Derleth
08-17-2008, 09:24 PM
But I'm suspicious that the change (I'm claiming) in critical thinking skills is due more to some shift in parenting that has been initiated by my generation (possibly due to pot smoking, I don't know).If this is true (and I'm not agreeing with you here, necessarily) it's due to one thing: fear. Your generation got afraid of kidnappers and child molestors and drug dealers and that creepy kid down the block and and and ... !

Not one of those things are worth being afraid of. 'Stranger Danger' is a joke: Most molestation happens within the family, or at least from people the kids already know and the parents trust. Drug dealers are trying to gain clients, not frighten them away or (god forbid) scare them enough to go to the police. (Remember the 'pushy pushers' from TV in the 1980s? Has there ever been a dealer so stupid?) The creepy kid down the street is likely more into video games than anything else, and we all know complete social isolation is the best cure for being an awkward adolescent. (Remember Columbine? Klebold could have been saved, but Harris was a time bomb. Parenting isn't a cure-all.)

Really Not All That Bright
08-17-2008, 11:09 PM
Cursive writing is essential for courting ladies.
True, but it is of little use when runnin' these hos, which I gather is the preferred activity of the young man-about-town these days.

Full Metal Lotus
08-18-2008, 12:27 AM
I tell you this in fine replyThat a word"s simple shape doth not bely
The hearts desire or wont
As placed in form of graphile font
by hand or machine

Not to put wingdings to lie
Or standard print-on the fly
penned by some long dead great aunt
great thoughts, made insignifigant
by this poor hand of mine

words themself have truth to tell
but their meaning - form over function sell

regards
FML

Manda JO
08-18-2008, 06:13 AM
I certainly hope you're right. I haven't been at this for very long. I was motivated to start teaching because as a hiring manager in the world of commerce over the past 30 years I was getting frightened by the poor writing and thinking skills of young employees, even those with MBAs and advanced engineering degrees.

I certainly don't put it down to the de-emphasis of cursive handwriting, and in response to an earlier post I'm afraid I don't have any data to present to back up my observation about critical thinking skills (but it is crisp enough to me to have changed careers as a consequence). Thirty-five years ago we did indeed teach rhetoric in high school along with a variety of manual arts that built very neatly upon the "fine motor skills" introduced with cursive handwriting. Very sadly, perhaps disastrously, those paths are not longer offered so unless you're successful in the remaining college-bound academic track you're shit outta luck.

This trend in narrowing curricula is due to economics. But I'm suspicious that the change (I'm claiming) in critical thinking skills is due more to some shift in parenting that has been initiated by my generation (possibly due to pot smoking, I don't know). For some reason we've been supervising our kids, organizing them, arranging their play dates, telling them where to go and what to do so much that they are losing the instincts to make their own decisions. My son is off to college this year and I am astonished at the programs aimed at me, his parent, that the college is offering so that I can help him get going. There was nothing like that when I went off to college.

If you are new to this, the best advice I have is that teachers tend to see what they expect to see. That doesn't mean you should be a Pollyanna, but any given kid demonstrates both inspiring brilliance and abject stupidity about five times a day. It's easy to find evidence for anything, and easy to let yourself become bitter about it if you aren't careful. Hope and faith can carry you through, and if it turns out that you were wrong, they really were doomed, you haven't really lost anything by blowing the call.

sunacres
08-18-2008, 09:40 AM
If you are new to this, the best advice I have is that teachers tend to see what they expect to see. That doesn't mean you should be a Pollyanna, but any given kid demonstrates both inspiring brilliance and abject stupidity about five times a day. It's easy to find evidence for anything, and easy to let yourself become bitter about it if you aren't careful. Hope and faith can carry you through, and if it turns out that you were wrong, they really were doomed, you haven't really lost anything by blowing the call.Wow, that's scarier than I'd anticipated! I certainly never thought anyone was doomed! On the contrary, the "opportunities for improvement" are abundant, both academically and socially.

I just finished teaching a section of summer school math - one class of Algebra and one of Geometry. Only students who had flunked their class last year were eligible for summer school (a quirk of how the session was funded by the state). Although this group of students had a higher-than-average instance of specific learning disabilities and immature behaviors, my perception was that their raw intelligence was equal to and possibly higher than a random sample of their peers. They were like wild horses, naturally resistant to being "broken."

My concern about critical thinking skills isn't a claim that "kids today are less intelligent," rather that the shifting trends of parenting and the narrowing of publicly funded education are leaving them less skilled. That's not an expectation, that's an observation. Perhaps by being "poised for further development" it all evens out by the time they're 30 or so.

The skill I'm most concerned about isn't cursive handwriting, it's how to experience satisfaction and self confidence.

Acsenray
08-18-2008, 09:42 AM
but I think even italic is difficult fine-motor-wise.

I believe I have read that the ball-and-stick writing method taught for "printing" is far less natural and adapted to the human hand than the ovals and slanted lines used in italic writing.

sunacres
08-18-2008, 09:48 AM
If this is true (and I'm not agreeing with you here, necessarily) it's due to one thing: fear. Your generation got afraid of kidnappers and child molestors and drug dealers and that creepy kid down the block...I agree, that's a big part of it. There seem to be both a fear of the boogie man and a fear of loss of control. Parents seem to confuse "being responsible" with "making the decisions."