My son Griffin and I are interviewed for CBC Radio’s The Current today about the value of keeping cursive on the curriculum at school. You can listen live at 8:30 am, or on the podcast here.
Here are my arguments for keeping the teaching of cursive handwriting on the curriculum:
- Cursive writing is faster than printing. Kids need to learn how to write in ways that will keep up with the speed of their thoughts.
- Studies show that handwriting engages areas of the brain not used when typing. Teach kids to gain confidence and speed in cursive so that they can maximize their creative and academic potential.
- We should not be afraid to make children work and practice to learn these skills. 15 minutes x 5 times a week = 1 hour 15 minutes a week = less than most sports practices/games. Both sports and handwriting require training muscles and creating muscle memory. You cannot create muscle memory for correct stroke order and legibility without practice.
- The objective should not be to create robotic masters of textbook cursive. The objective should be confident, legible writers.
- Cursive takes time to learn and master. Children will probably revert to printing if not required to continue practicing cursive. Teaching the basics and the reinforcement of that teaching are both important.
- There are not always technological solutions to all of our writing problems (spelling, legibility, speed). Our kids need to learn to write independent of technological safety nets.
- Private schools continue to teach cursive. By dropping it from the curriculum in public schools, the board is widening the gap between experience and outcomes in public and private education.
- Sometimes, our writing is how we make a first impression. We should enable our kids to make their best possible first impression.
- Handwriting, books and paper are not obsolete. Rumours of their death have been exaggerated.
- Knowing or not knowing cursive is not likely to be life-altering, but I would rather live in a world where, instead of aiming to cut, cut, cut things out of our kids’ education, we aim always to maximize and enrich their educational opportunities.
- The school requires me to fill out a mountain of forms each fall, by hand. It should be teaching my kids to write neatly so that they can do the same.