By Garden CIty Telegram, Dec. 10
Debate continues in schools and beyond on the right way to write.
Cursive handwriting, still considered an important skill by many teachers, is thought to be outdated by others due to digital technology.
The Kansas State Board of Education is scheduled to take up the issue today, and decide whether the state’s new handwriting standards should encourage schools to make sure that fifth- and sixth-graders can write legibly in cursive.
Even though many young people used to computers and cell phone correspondence no doubt wonder why they’d even need such handwriting ability, a good number of educators rightly believe good penmanship shouldn’t be erased from the old standards of reading, writing and arithmetic.
Studies have found that many teachers believe students with fluent handwriting produce written assignments that are easier to read, and better in quality. Educators have cause to believe students are more thoughtful when writing something longhand, vs. hastily pecking away on a keyboard.
The art of cursive writing also promises to come in handy for students when they need to take notes. Even though a growing number of students have access to tablets and other digital devices in school, they won’t always be able to use such devices for effective note-taking. It helps to put down notes in cursive because it’s speedier and more efficient than printing.
Teachers also note that the ability to write in cursive will help students read various kinds of writing they may encounter. Historical documents, for example, would be more difficult to decipher without some familiarity with cursive writing.
Among other more practical reasons for students to learn cursive would be that as they move into adulthood, they’ll encounter a number of legal documents that require a signature.
While we don’t ever expect to see writing on paper eclipse the growing use of text messaging and other forms of electronic communication, good penmanship still warrants attention in today’s curriculum.
Educators know that regardless of technological advances that make some things easier, the art of handwriting won’t go out of style. We’d expect the state board of education to acknowledge as much.