Skip to comments.Cursive slowly scribbled out of N.J. curriculums as computer skills gain value in schools
Posted on 06/17/2012 5:25:54 AM PDT by SMGFan
The bulletin board at the front of Melissa Balzanos classroom in West Orange is decorated with hand-written lists her students wrote in September, expressing their "Hopes and Dreams for Third Grade." For at least half the children in Balzanos class at Mount Pleasant Elementary School, learning cursive topped the list. "Its fancy writing," said Naomi Toms, 9. Cursive was once a mainstay of elementary schools, where children practiced the "tripod" pencil grip and the looping strokes of the letters. But these days little classroom time is spent teaching cursive writing, crowded out of the curriculum by the demands of an increasingly complex world.
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OMG! LOL! Hey I say don’t teach them cursive, it will give us ‘old folks’ our own code that will be just as confusing to youths as texting is to us! ;-)
In this day and age typing is a more important skill.
The end of cursive is one of the signs of the end of culture.
More important for future employment. Not more important for properly educating children. Kids can learn keyboarding at home. They will not learn cursive at home most likely.
Without cursive would you be able to make your signature?
I have three Gen Ys in my office, not one of them can sign a legible signature. Heck, they can't even print legibly.
I like the idea of cursive being a secret code for us "old folks". :-)
Marshall McLuhan has been heard laughing uproariously.
Don’t get so nostalgic about cursive. My mother’s cursive writing was so undifferentiated — just a sequence of bumps — that it could not be read, just decoded. Oldest child (me) was the only one who could read it. She has abandoned it and only prints now.
Cursive has joined many other practical arts (sewing, knitting, woodwork) which grandparents will have to teach the next generation.
They aren’t necessarily learning keyboarding at home. And, in this day of computers, everything on systems, it drives me nuts to see someone hunt and peck all day long.
I see so many signatures which are nearly scribbles. You Can not make out actual letters. :)
We were taught to write cursive in Catholic school by the time we were in the Second grade. In some schools, cursive was so beautifully stylized, that one could determine the school you attended and the order of nuns who taught you by examining the style of your handwriting. Alas, with the advent of the digital age, I find that I have rarely hand written anything for many years. As a result, I can now barely write my own signature.
TRUE STORY: I’m a retired teacher who now supplements my income as a Substitute Teacher. I had a class of H.S. Juniors recently. I noticed that, now days, all kids print; no cursive. Long story short: Only 2 students in a class of 20 could come to the board and write their name in cursive. THEY DO NOT TEACH CURSIVE IN SCHOOLS ANYMORE.
Many kids in America have computers at home these days - that’s been true for a decade already.
It doesn’t matter if it bothers you that some hunt and peck all day long.
Same here and I remember having a grade on my report card for ‘penmanship’.
That said, keyboarding should be taught in the early grades. Too many kids don't know the keyboard because they haven't been taught it. If they're going to replace cursive with computers, they'd better be proficient at keyboarding.
Perhaps this is tinfoil hat stuff, but I feel that, by eliminating cursive, the “Powers That Be” are eliminating a major form of expressing freedom of thought, thus creating an entire generation of drones who are incapable of rebellion.
Cursive is the same way, but printing is different, and learning to read cursive is also different.
My kids today type 100 to 150 wpm all the time ~ any keyboard ~ any system. We used Mavis Beacon, a couple of other packages that teach you to track and type random numbers and letters, and my own system.
I made it to 238 WPM in high school which qualified me for international speed typing competition ~ but I graduated that year and went to work in an auto factory to earn money for college.
I never made better than a D or -+ in cursive in my entire school career. Just wasn't my thing ~ total waste of time for me AND they never taught me how to read other people's handwriting. That came years later reviewing cases in dispute in Postal Headquarters.
So, my thoughts on cursive ~ quit teaching it but teach the kids how to read it. Also, teach printing by hand ~with a leroy set. Teach typing starting in maybe 5th grade. Any earlier typing should be the prerogative of the parents ~ it's their kid ~ they got the time to waste. 5th grade is an island of stability of the ever growing bones, sinews and muscles of the chillun' so that's a good time to pin down the basics of keyboard hygiene ~ fingers on the key ~ something under the bottom ~ type like the wind.
Cut out the posture thing ~ that's all wrong. You cannot type fast if you are sitting up.
I learned to touch-type in 1961’ in high school - two full years of taking typing (with covered keys) and It has proven to be an invaluable skill over the decades, and I still type over 50 WPM. However, I would not trade my ability to write cursive for all of the keyboards in the world. I’ve seen many of today’s youngsters type-including my own grandchildren - and they are “hunt & peckers”.
I like to think that children are not too different now than they were back then, and posses the basic intelligence to do BOTH. At least I know I can commubicate in a power outage or other emergency.
Once we become totally dependent on the keyboard, those who control technology have us in a precarious position...pull the plug and we’re stymied for communication.
The demise of cursive illustrates the depth to which our culture has shrunk to accommodate those who would rather party than put forth an ounce of effort.
why teach anything anymore?
All you have to do is teach a child how to operate a calculator and a keyboard, show him how to use google and he can get all the info he needs
That sounds like adapting. Learning cursive is a waste of time.
They stopped teaching our kids cursive this past year.
The last time I needed to write something cursively I gave up because I forgot how. I haven’t regularly done so since the early 1990s.
“Perhaps this is tinfoil hat stuff, but I feel that, by eliminating cursive, the Powers That Be are eliminating a major form of expressing freedom of thought, thus creating an entire generation of drones who are incapable of rebellion.”
Naa. Not this issue. I think, at that age, there’s much better things that can be done with kids’ time in school, such as learning phonics and learning to do math using a pencil and paper (paper, definition: material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on...)
Not that the two go together, because they don’t - but they could. More likely their time will now be spent learning how to use condoms, sex positions, why they shouldn’t fear that strange man down the street, or other ‘life skills’ in the opinion of the people that run VIRTUALLY ALL of our public schools (and a fair amount of our private schools too).
“But these days little classroom time is spent teaching cursive writing, crowded out of the curriculum by the demands of an increasingly complex world.”
More time for global warming studies I guess
That’s a keeper. Thanks!
Cursive writing is an important skill. It really doesn't take that long to teach. Educators today have gotten lazy; quite often they're more interested in their pension benefits than they are in teaching children.
My signature is NOT what my 3rd grade teacher taught me. She would not recognize it nor be able to read it and I would be marked down for it. NO ONE could forge it, however.
When I homeschooled our son, he was not physically able to do cursive in 3rd. Few fine motor skills/ it was agony and so frustrating for him. I decided that what I really wanted him to do was think, and that handwriting was a separate skill.
When I teach the boys (late elem/ middle school) they are so frustrated with cursive. I often let them dictate and I’ll keyboard - “You do the thinking; I’ll do the typing” - and then of course encourage them to learn keyboard.
When our son was finishing homeschool/ high school, he asked me - “How do you make capitals in cursive?” We reviewed them but I said that I often use printed caps with my cursive. My husband, a scientist, still hates cursive, and he prints quickly when he is not keyboarding.
Cursive is especially good for letters to grandma...
Where will the post office find employees if none of the graduates know cursive? Maybe USPS will require printing? Maybe that’s why I constantly get other people’s mail?
Think about it. All of our electronic transmissions, whether they be texting, cell phone conversation, blogging, or even posting on FR can be (and probably IS)monitored, stored, and acted upon by the government. Terror suspects are nabbed by Internet “Chatter”. The Secret Service investigates perceived threats on social networking sites.
By the way, I teach music, and I use cursive, but I always ask my students if they can read my writing. Usually they can.
Yes it is. The only time I use cursive is when I need to write a legible signature on forms. When I sign my name on those keypads at the grocery store, I just make a straight line.
I learned cursive in the 3rd grade and stopped using it a couple of years later when teachers no longer demanded it.
Interesting though, my Russian wife writes exclusively in Cyrillic cursive (yes, they have this). You want to talk about something hard to read!
I won’t argue the monitoring end with you.
With today’s computer enhanced license plate readers, our friendly government can give us our driving histories practically from the moment we leave our driveways - and don’t even get me started on “Smart Meters”.
No one seems to want to believe it...so the databases keep expanding and expanding...
Bull, it should bother me and all employers. The waste of time, money, because someone can’t type functionally, is ridiculous. Easily assign a dollar value to it.
“I made it to 238 WPM in high school.”
WOW! That’s gotta be a typo.
A signature is not your name written in cursive, it is your name written uniquely.
“Bull, it should bother me and all employers.”
It might, but that doesn’t mean the schools should be worried about it in the second grade.
“The waste of time, money, because someone cant type functionally, is ridiculous.”
And in each passing year that is less and less of a problem because so many kids have computers at home and learn to type accuarately and quickly with no training whatsoever.
“Easily assign a dollar value to it.”
Still not the point of a school in the second grade.
You can do lots of rebelling without ever putting pen to paper. Cursive is antiquated and useless, it’s a different letter set that looks nothing like what you’ll see in books or on computers. There’s no reason to teach kids 2 versions of all the letters, there really never was.
I’m far more worried about the loss of basic math and English skills. My job takes me to many schools and I’ve seen a lot of things that scare me.
I’ve been to too many schools where third grade students are “learning math” by moving little piles of blocks around. Kids that age should be learning real math.
At the same time, kids aren’t learning spelling. There are projects all over the walls with uncorrected spelling errors and I’ve been told that teachers are instructed to ignore incorrect spelling and grammar. How is that even teaching?
While I do know many great kids who are doing very well in school, too many think they have great skills because their errors are never pointed out.
As an example, our office has an intern who will be graduating from college in December. She can’t spell, do basic math and was offended when I pointed out errors in the copy she submitted for publication in a newspaper.
If education is going to delivered electronically, it is the point of a school in the second grade to teach students to communicate electronically.
Again, I work with people all day long, who have been exposed to computers a good portion of their lives, who cannot type effectively. It is a huge waste of time and money.
If a person gets to spend a lot of time typing they develop speed even if they don’t have training. Humans learn repetitive things, it’s one of the things we’re really good at. Sure they’re not using “proper” technique, but they’ve learned where the letters are and how to get there their way. Some of the fastest typist I’ve known are using their own method learned the hard way.
They have the opportunity to learn how on the Internet.
“If education is going to delivered electronically, it is the point of a school in the second grade to teach students to communicate electronically.”
1) Education will not be delivered electronically for the vast majority of public schools for years and years to come.
2) Even if it was, what would be expected of second graders would require almost no keyboarding. Instead, iPad like devices will be used on which students can write their answers - much like clay, wax, or chalk tablets centuries ago.
“Again, I work with people all day long, who have been exposed to computers a good portion of their lives, who cannot type effectively. It is a huge waste of time and money.”
And it still has nothing to do with second graders.
It is a part of Understanding English. There are thousands of documents, letters, and papers that are handwritten that contain a wealth of art, beauty, and history that can be read in the original and enjoyed. I have an unpublished letter from a Civil War Soldier (Complete with the envelope and stamp) that is written in a lovely hand. The soldier was writing to a friend of his in New Hampshire, and was involved in the Peninsula Campaign. He spoke of Gen McClellan and expected the War to be over by Christmas. Since no copies of this letter exist on the internet or in any history books, it can only be read in the original. I truly believe that if an entire category of knowledge is removed from availability, it is the same as censorship and thought control, like in the “Ministry of Truth”.
Just as when I taught myself Russian years ago, I learned both the print alphabet and the cursive. No big deal.
Now I am attempting to teach myself Hebrew. Guess what? There are too versions of THAT Language too.
Funny, we don’t hear the Russians OR the Jews complaining about cursive! LOL.
Why is it that in the days before computers, kids were quite capable of learning both print and cursive, Long Division and mental arithmetic, figuring out square roots, naming all the capital cities of all the states, and remembering all the dates of important events in the founding of our nation? What will our modern generation do if suddenly there is no electricity to run their computers, video games, or electronic toys?
I LOVE my computer (taught myself html and computer graphics) and use it to create music...but I STILL know how to READ Music, and can write a song out by hand if the situation arises.
I don’t think any knowledge is “useless”.
So I respectfully disagree with you about that. But we can still be FRiends! LOL!
This was in the age of electrics with a hand operated carriage return ~ they were a tad faster than those with the large side key on the right of the keys.
I think I introduced that as "World Class"! My teacher and I had been invited to a world contest in Sweden. However, I graduated. If I'd had another semester or so in highschool we'd had a free trip.
These days I usually mosey along between 100 and 125 ~ otherwise my fingers hurt.
“Im far more worried about the loss of basic math and English skills. My job takes me to many schools and Ive seen a lot of things that scare me.”
As well it should. But remember, it’s all INTENTIONAL. They simply want the US to move down a few notches with respect to other countries. The Educational Establishment knows full-well what works - they are NOT DUMB. There are millions of examples, as in home schoolers, and if that’s not enough, there’s also Sylvan and Kumon Learning Centers (no scare quotes required for “Learning Centers” here, because they are some of the few establishments where kids actually do learn).
So, from Everyday Math to “Sight Words”, it’s more than clear that the Educational Establishment wants our kids to fail. Yes, there are (a few) teachers that try to get around it, but the guys pulling the puppet strings know EXACTLY what they’re doing and the VAST MAJORITY of today’s teachers are right on-board with those puppet-masters.
The really sad thing is that if I tell others what I just wrote, people cock their heads at me and politely try to find an excuse for ending the conversation. They are simply UNABLE to comprehend that so many people, working in so many ‘wonderful’ schools, could want the kids we send to them to fail, with respect to the rest of the world.
It’s simply tragic.