Compare the time you spend typing every day with the time you spend writing in cursive. If you’re like most adults, cursive writing is generally reserved for birthday cards and signing bills. Typing, however, has become ubiquitous. Whether you’re drafting an essay or communicating with friends online, you’re using typing to do it. With kids relying increasingly on laptops, cell phones, ipads, and other devices to do their reading and writing, parents and teachers are questioning the relevancy of spending class time on cursive instruction.
In many schools, cursive is disappearing from the curriculum altogether. This change stems from the Common Core State Standards which have been adopted by many US States. These standards do not require teaching cursive as part of language and arts learning. According to the Common Core standards: “The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” As real-world skills are concerned, cursive clearly takes a back seat to typing and computing.
Although cursive writing has become much less pervasive than in past decades, its removal from curriculums across the nation has lead to some controversy. According to a recent article on MediaShift, there are some arguments for the benefits of cursive instruction. “Some have argued that learning cursive isn’t simply about knowing how to write efficiently. It’s about learning how to write beautifully. It’s about fine motor skills. It’s about expression.” Some fear that without learning how to write in cursive, students will lose the ability to read in cursive, making many documents of historic and cultural relevance indecipherable relics.
What do you think? Is cursive writing still a relevant and useful skill, or should instruction time be spent on other skills more fitted for 21st century learners?