Cursive writing: Yes or no?

Dr. Vivian Blevins - And then

The issue of teaching cursive writing in schools continues to surface, and it’s up in the Ohio State Legislature again after it was “introduced in 2015 but failed to pass before the two-year legislation session ended,” per Laura Bischopp and Rachel Murray.

Ohio House Education Committee Chairman Andrew Brenner has introduced a new bill which would require students by the end of the fifth grade to be able to produce ”legible cursive handwriting.”

Maybe we should require doctors and business men and women to take classes until they can verify that they have mastered this task as well.

Since I left administration and began college teaching, I have learned that my students do not use cursive. I use cursive in comments on their papers, and most tell me they have no problem reading what I write.

Ohio Poet of 2005 and retired Edison State Community College English professor Cathy Essinger wrote a poem about one of her students who asked her , “Why do you keep writing ‘frog’ on my essays?” Cathy was writing “frag” for “fragment.”

In one of my classes at Edison State we are moving into persuasive presentations, so I thought we would begin with an analysis of how an advocate of requiring the teaching of cursive writing in the elementary school might argue.

We began with my asking them to print something I dictated and then to record it in cursive.

This led to their thinking about the issue on a serious level in a group where ages range from 18 to 43.

Arguments in favor included the following: (1) It’s neater, more elegant, more professional; (2) It requires more discipline, gives time to think, uses more brain function; (3) It prepares students for the times when they will need to read cursive; (4) It’s necessary for activities such as checks and legal documents.

Argument against were that (1) It’s not necessary with today’s technology; (2) There are stamps for signatures; (3) Schools require all papers to be typed; (4) Younger teacher would need to be trained in how to teach it; (5) It’s not a good use of class time in a competitive global environment with a focus on math, science, and technology; (6) Parents can’t help their kids because they don’t know how to do it.

The student in the class who is 43 was strongly in favor of requiring it; the others , not so much. The younger students were slower in producing the dictated sentences in cursive, and as I examined their papers after class, I noted that some omitted letter and had difficulty connecting letters to each other.

I prefer cursive as I can write quickly with my writing implement and am able to write the longest words without my pen or pencil ever leaving the page. And I have a nice handwriting as my Aunt Muriel Adams who held a graduate degree in library science from the University of Kentucky helped me learn.

So what do you think? The internet has quality materials for use in sharpening your skills or teaching your children and grandchildren to write in cursive.

Contact Dr. Vivian Blevins at [email protected]

Dr. Vivian Blevins

And then

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