Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pour Out Some Liquor for Cursive Handwriting

Charleston resident Kelli Davis was in for a surprise when her daughter brought home some routine paperwork at the start of school this fall. Davis signed the form and then handed it to her daughter for the eighth-grader's signature.

"I just assumed she knew how to do it, but I have a piece of paper with her signature on it and it looks like a little kid's signature," Davis said.

Her daughter was apologetic, but explained that she hadn't been required to make the graceful loops and joined letters of cursive writing in years.

The decline of cursive is happening as students are doing more and more work on computers, including writing. In 2011, the writing test of the National Assessment of Educational Progress will require 8th and 11th graders to compose on computers, with 4th graders following in 2019.

Students accustomed to using computers to write at home have a hard time seeing the relevance of hours of practicing cursive handwriting.

Text messaging, e-mail, and word processing have replaced handwriting outside the classroom, said Cheryl Jeffers, a professor at Marshall University's College of Education and Human Services, and she worries they'll replace it entirely before long.

"I am not sure students have a sense of any reason why they should vest their time and effort in writing a message out manually when it can be sent electronically in seconds."

For Jeffers, cursive writing is a lifelong skill, one she fears could become lost to the culture, making many historic records hard to decipher (Gem--this made me sniggle for some reason visualizing people throwing their hands in the air "Bob, I just can't read the damn thing!") and robbing people of "a gift."

But cursive is favored by fewer college-bound students. In 2005, the SAT began including a written essay portion, and a 2007 report by the College Board found that about 15 percent of test-takers chose to write in cursive, while the others wrote in print. That was probably smart, according to Vanderbilt University professor Steve Graham, who cites multiple studies showing that sloppy writing routinely leads to lower grades, even in papers with the same wording as those written in a neater hand. It's common for adults to write in a cursive-print hybrid. (Gem--this is actually what I do for mundane stuff)

Full article here.

I remember learning to write cursive and how important it was in elementary school. It was like a rite of passage when you could write in cursive, so "grown up". What are your memories of learning/using cursive? I have two types of cursive (besides the print-cursive hybrid). One is my scribbly cursive, which has no slant and looks pretty psycho due to my left-handedness. Then I bust out the fancy schmancy cursive when necessary, the kind that slants up to the left. My print handwriting however, could win awards. I am constantly getting compliments on my beautiful print handwriting, no joke. Crabby be hatin' because his cursive looks like one of the forefathers on the Declaration of Independence and stuff, but ER'BODY AIN'T ABLE, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYIN?

15 jewels of thought:

mrs. mary mack said...

One of my students from my very first year teaching FB friended me last week (she's a senior now which makes me hella old). Anyhoo her FB status this weekend was that she wished more people would begin using cursive again because of its beauty. As a teacher I can honestly say very few teachers use cursive anymore because of the need to focus on other things like teaching your bad azz unicorns how to read. I, like you, use a hybrid of both. Texas driver's licenses have ruined me from using cursive often because of that crackhead electronic system that makes my name look "tawded"

word verification is: subgrip (how appropriate)

Vesper de Vil said...

In Canada they don't call it cursive. I came to Canada after having learned that I'm supposed to do all my assignments in "cursive". People thought I was insane. In Canada cursive is called hand writing. The opposite of hand writing is printing. Hand writing is no longer required in any of the schools, as far as I know. Children are taught hand writing, but then never really use it. I'm sure there are exceptions.

Vesper de Vil said...

Yeah I still link some of my words together so it looks cursive-ish at times...but I've pretty much been printing since my move to Canada. I actually prefer the way my printing looks. My hand writing (cursive) is stuck in grade 6...and it shows!

Beautifully.Conjured.Up said...

I read that, and was shocked!!

I remember my mom making me write in cursive from the fourth grade on because she refused to accept anything in print by me (nor did she want me to turn in anything in print). To this day, I write everything in print is nothing but semi-cursive letters just not joined together. I receive so many compliments on the way I write; people even ask me how do I do it, and I guess it's because I've been writing this way for so long...however it's sad when people don't know how to write in cursive properly. I would hate to see this end because these children in today's society can't write for shit. I used to do tutorial for high schoolers, and the penmanship was like damn chicken scratch. I had to not only tutor in math and science, but also tutor them on basic penmanship, which should be taught in the early years of primary school!!! I can't grade something if I can't read it...

...then again, our whole education system is fucked up...this no child left behind bullshit is leaving MANY children behind...

(sorry, I just had a moment)

The Jaded NYer said...

I was always baffled by the Q. Like, WHY did it look like a number 2? Who came up with that??

Now I wonder if my kids are learning cursive the way I did...

(PS- my word verification is "deleto" and hat made me giggle. lol)

InnyVinny said...

These kids are (going to be) so mal-adjusted it's almost criminal.

I rarely use cursive, but somehow I always feel more important when I do. And I feel you on the print-cursive hybrid.

You know what, I'm bring cursive back. In all my writings. I might even write an actual letter to someone. HA!

ChocolateOrchid said...

WHAAAAT?! This is damn near unbelievable. Yes, I remember learning how to write in cursive being a BIG deal. Now they wanna change that. It's so beautiful.

Just why.

karrie b. said...

"Crabby be hatin' because his cursive looks like one of the forefathers on the Declaration of Independence and stuff, but ER'BODY AIN'T ABLE, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYIN?"


i remember having to learn cursive, and my mom was REAL strict abt penmanship. if i wrote sloppily she would make me write the sentence over on a separate sheet of paper 500 times, like on some mommy dearest ish.

my handwriting is REAL loopy/scripty. my y's and g's cut into the words of the sentences below

Kingsmomma said...

I remember wanting to wirte in script because it made me "grown up" and i wanted to forge my parent's name..

When I write letters and such I use cursive. I just think it's elegant and classy. Sadly, It is a dying art. Where I work I end up having to tell people to print thier names. Somehow people confused script with illegible.

I was an old soul.. i wanted to learn calligraphy so my handwriting kinda sorta looks like that.

Gem said...

MMM: Yeah, I know that's why teachers I had would take off points if your shat wasn't "legible". *shudders at the thought of chicken scratch cursive*

Vesper: Handwriting and printing sound much more practical! Yeah, my "non-fancy" cursive looks like a toddler attempted it.

BCU: Lol, breathe girl. But I understand; I get mad too when I think about the many many ways our education system can fork over a child.

Jaded: I REFUSED to write the Q in the standard "2" cursive. I always wrote it like a print Q with a little extra flourish, lol. I did the same with the capital cursive 'T'. It always chapped my hide.

Inny: My soul will vacate if I see a letter sent from you with tender loving care and such.

CO: More and more steps to robots! :-(

KB: Why couldn't you just let me get away with that? Nobody else said anything! *dying* You WOULD be the one with extra cunty g's and y's all up in the other letters business.

KM: Ah yes, the parent forgeries. Took me FOREVER to master my mom's cause her name starts with a 'D' and she cunted it up just so.

max.fabulous said...

i got in so much trouble when i was learning how to write (co-sign on the whole we don't call it cursive in canada, it's just writing). it got all remedial and i had to do extra work because my writing was so messy. and now i have the best handwriting of anyone i know. i guess all that extra practice was worth it.

Desiree said...

I remember practicing 'penmanship' (does that make me old??) and hating it because the 'W' always looked weird to me but since my last name starts with 'W' I had to learn it. We had contests to see who had the best penmanship and I'm still bitter because I never won anything.

But now, I get lots of compliments on my handwriting, although I will say that writing a whole letter makes the muscles in my right arm hurt which tells me I don't write enough.

My dad has beautiful handwriting and refuses to communicate by any other way than the handwritten letter. The last time I wrote something substantial was the 10-page letter to him telling him to stay out my bidness! Ha!

The irony...

Anonymous said...

when Cas was just a little cas I used to get beat down all on the knuckles and hands by Catholic School nuns for not having proper penmanship.

I can vivdly recall wanting to go Columbine on them hoes...not the kids...just the nun hoes. Vicious animals that they were.

I used to love writing a letter...pages and pages of thoughts and silliness and madness...but now, its all the point where I often forget what the hell I am writing if I am forced to write in pen and ink. Who knows, maybe I had a stroke from all the stress of life and I just need occupational therapy to write again.

I sure do miss it though.

Muze said...

wow. so i can't believe this! it makes sense though, but wow.

i learned to write cursive before i even learned print, from watching my mom write (to this day our cursive is very similar. lol)

i think our society is becoming waaaay to reliant on technology and instant gratification.

very interesting gemmy. :) lol

12kyle said...

this is interesting. i remember my sloppy cursive handwriting days. my cursive writing, with the exception of my name, is just as sloppy as it was back then. lol.

i was looking at my oldest son's cursive writing the other day and it looks just like mine. so sad! lol

good post

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