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Opinion: Is it time to let cursive die?

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Photo of Scott (Teach Starter)
Updated | 2 min read

Let’s be honest, it’s not just cursive handwriting. It seems all handwriting is edging closer to extinction, a byproduct of a digital revolution lead by keyboards now dethroned by touch screens.

Children are digital natives, born swiping with frustration at inanimate physical pages, craving the manipulation of touch screen portals of possibilities.

We used to look on fresh paper with wide eyes; dreams of imagined worlds, mysterious creatures waiting to be drawn and unbelievable stories ready to be told.

Our fingers wrapped pencils – our wands of imagination – ready to craft works of art.

The pencil may now be replaced by a cursor (or finger), but does this mean we should give up on the craft of cursive writing?

Many see cursive as a superfluous, dying art.

Morgan Polikoff, in a piece for the New York Times debating the relevance of cursive writing, wrote, “there is little compelling research to suggest the teaching of cursive positively affects other student skills enough to merit its teaching.”

Sure, there are things which are entirely unnecessary in the grand scheme of life, but is it reason enough to kill something which is at risk of being relegated to the realm of historians, alongside the abacus and slate?

Conversely, there are some things which, while not serving a practical purpose, do add a splash of elegance to the world. Things which impart a greater dignity and respect to humanity.

Perhaps the attention to detail required to perfect the art of cursive writing inspires the next great architect, designer, engineer, typographer or linguist?

But is this just the tip of the technology iceberg? Calculators have been around for decades and text to speech apps are near ubiquitous. Will our children have the need to learn literacy and numeracy as it’s currently being taught, when the entire wealth of human knowledge sits in their pocket, a fingertip away?

What do you think? Is cursive writing an art worth preserving or is it time to move with technology and remove it from the curriculum? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Comments

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  • Angela Robinson
    ·

    It's my belief that there is compelling neurological research showing the benefits of handwriting.

    • Desley Maciejewski
      ·

      Yes. fine motor skills for one good reason. The benefits of learning cursive outweigh throwing it out with the bathwater.

    • Kaye Smyth
      ·

      Spot on!

  • Marie Digna
    ·

    I agree, it should be preserved, if for no other reason than archaeology. If we allow ourselves to kill off cursive writing, then it could become the next lost language like latin, greek, and egyptian hieroglyphs. Not that they're impossible to translate, but they become harder and harder all the time for lack of people to teach them.

  • Rim Alarabi
    ·

    I think it should be preserved. As mentioned in the article, it is an art, so why not preserve an art and allow people to explore it and enjoy it.

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