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Writing in Cursive, Not Taught in Many Public Schools?



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Manuel F

I just found out that cursive writing is not taught in the public schools in my state of Pennsylvania, and many other states in the USA. I was shocked, I still am. How can this be? So I got to thinking, and asked this question, 'can a person who is not taught cursive writing, read cursive writing'? The answer I received, and an answer that is obvious, is NO!

 

I learned cursive when I was in grade school starting in 1951, now I don't remember too much about it, accept the name it was called, The Palmer Method. All children, me included, had a sense of pride when being able for the first time to sign your own name. Little boys, Little girls, all learning to write cursively, and now, in the age of texting with their thumbs, a fountain pen is a mystery when it leaves a trail of connected letters on a sheet of paper. So sad, and--------, please fill in the blanks with your comments.

 

  Writing just your name, your signature, is your imprimatur. 

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essayfaire
9 minutes ago, Manuel F said:

I just found out that cursive writing is not taught in the public schools in my state of Pennsylvania, and many other states in the USA. I was shocked, I still am. How can this be? So I got to thinking, and asked this question, 'can a person who is not taught cursive writing, read cursive writing'? The answer I received, and an answer that is obvious, is NO!

 

I learned cursive when I was in grade school starting in 1951, now I don't remember too much about it, accept the name it was called, The Palmer Method. All children, me included, had a sense of pride when being able for the first time to sign your own name. Little boys, Little girls, all learning to write cursively, and now, in the age of texting with their thumbs, a fountain pen is a mystery when it leaves a trail of connected letters on a sheet of paper. So sad, and--------, please fill in the blanks with your comments.

 

  Writing just your name, your signature, is your imprimatur. 

My children had difficulty reading the Babar books as they are written in cursive.  Over the years, little by little, they have picked up more facility with reading cursive.

 

They do actually use fountain pens, but my lefty prefers rollerballs/felt tips. ;)

Festina lente

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Sorry for the log rant. Feel free to ignore if you are a milenial.

 

I'm shocked too. My understanding is that in EU, it is slowly being phased out too, but kids are still writing a lot, only they are more and more left to their own devices to learn "as they wish", and freely "develop their own character". I haven't an issue with that, but can't help wondering how can a kid with no experience whatsoever and no exposition to anything know what is available and make their own decision.

 

Still, here (EU) I can see lots of B&M stationery shops, with lots of FPs and BPs and pencils and notebooks and all that. Actually kids are asked to write a lot, and some of my students (post-grad) do use FPs, some even like calligraphy, and a majority do take lots of notes on paper (specially if encouraged).

 

About this last one: I get the impression they feel like if being "pro" is about using computers and not taking notes any more (they should already know everything since they're graduates, notes are for learners), and when they see you take notes, print papers, sketch, use a whiteboard, give them notebooks and ask them to keep a diary and note down everything for later referral, they take to it like naturals.

 

That's why I'm shocked that kids are not encouraged to take notes in some places. It is difficult to beat the efficiency of handwritten notes once the ability has been developed. As it is to beat the efficiency of reading when one has developed the ability (specially to quick-read). I can see how many now are used to not read but just see YouTube videos (requiring 15 minutes for something they could have located at a glance if written), and how taking notes may seem awkward if you slowly write in block capitals but can type 90 letters per minute.

 

And that's my sad sinking feeling: those illiterate (both quick-reading and quick-writing), even if they get through a PhD, will always lag deeply behind those who have developed these skills. They may discover it later and perhaps master them... but it is a pity their supposed "teachers" didn't give them such useful tools during their formation, left them alone to discover them by themselves and let them at a disadvantage.

 

Mind you, I was among the early adopters of computer technology for everything. Even more, I learnt typing on a typing machine when I was a kid, in the times a good typist should follow a dictated speech, so I can type faster than most people can write. And yet I can still write faster than I type. And like in the tipp-ex joke, I often feel compelled to quote or mark down text, annotate, glose, sketch diagram or draw over (or on the side), which one cannot efficiently do on a PDF.

 

Yeah, if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But not everything is just highlighting or underscoring or googling. It is a pity that these other useful techniques, which have been refined over thousands of years are being phased out for a novel, little tested (comparatively, untested), and still immature (yeah, it has advantages, but also many shortcomings) technology. And that we expect those handicapped people to sustain us when they grow up in a global World.

 

To this end, one may as well not teach kids anything at all.

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mauckcg
3 hours ago, Manuel F said:

I just found out that cursive writing is not taught in the public schools in my state of Pennsylvania, and many other states in the USA. I was shocked, I still am. How can this be? So I got to thinking, and asked this question, 'can a person who is not taught cursive writing, read cursive writing'? The answer I received, and an answer that is obvious, is NO!

 

I learned cursive when I was in grade school starting in 1951, now I don't remember too much about it, accept the name it was called, The Palmer Method. All children, me included, had a sense of pride when being able for the first time to sign your own name. Little boys, Little girls, all learning to write cursively, and now, in the age of texting with their thumbs, a fountain pen is a mystery when it leaves a trail of connected letters on a sheet of paper. So sad, and--------, please fill in the blanks with your comments.

 

  Writing just your name, your signature, is your imprimatur. 

My handwriting was called "fancy" when I was up in training for work.  I was writing notes for myself and I write much faster in cursive than not.  That guy was 30 at the time he said that.  My kids and my niece and nephew will all know cursive regardless of what the schools are or are not teaching.

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ParramattaPaul
35 minutes ago, mauckcg said:

... I write much faster in cursive than not.

It would be surprising if this were not the case.  I honestly believe that it takes longer to form letters by printing -- lower case and upper case or all upper case -- than to write them in cursive.

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KingsCountyWriter

My daughter is in 3rd grade and they're not covering it. We have a workbook that we're using in order for her to practice it. 

 

TImes are different now; teachers are teaching towards test, and the kids need to be competent on computers. Writing in cursive is no longer that important as a skill. 

 

I'm a teacher too, btw. 

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inkstainedruth

Friends of ours in the next county (I also live in PA) were happy a couple of years ago that their older son was being taught cursive in his school (apparently it's school district to school district).  But Heather just ranted about how badly math is being taught (at the time John was in maybe third or fourth grade -- his mom's description was "They BROKE math!  I LOVED math!"

But I grew up in NYS, and they were teaching to "the test" (specifically the NYS Regents exams) back in the 1970s when I was in high school (we had the biology teacher running extra "tutoring sessions" in my Regents Biology class.  And I also remember taking the AP English exam as a senior and noticed that they gave "hints" for the essay questions (one of the ones I particularly remember was the essay about parallel plots, and gave King Lear as something "you might have read...."  And I was frantically trying to mentally squeeze the five page paper on parallel plots in King Lear into a twenty minute essay, only to get dragged out partway through that section to get some sort of vaccination -- as if the school nurse couldn't wait till the AP exam was over.... :headsmack: [To this day, I'm somewhat convinced that the reason I only got a 4 (not a 5) on that exam was because of that disruption.... :angry:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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ParramattaPaul
37 minutes ago, KingsCountyWriter said:

My daughter is in 3rd grade and they're not covering it. We have a workbook that we're using in order for her to practice it. 

 

TImes are different now; teachers are teaching towards test, and the kids need to be competent on computers. Writing in cursive is no longer that important as a skill. 

 

I'm a teacher too, btw. 

I agree that times are different now.  I will add that keyboarding -- touch-typing (manual typewriters in those days) as was known when I was at school  -- is an important skill to have, and easily one of the most useful skills I possess.  However, I would debate that cursive is no longer that important for a number of reasons beyond notetaking at speed.  Not the least is cursive allows far more expression of one's personality, individualism and identity through his or her handwriting than block letter printing.  In my opinion at least, the value of anything facilitating personal expression and individualism cannot be over-estimated in today's group-think society.

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ParramattaPaul
19 minutes ago, inkstainedruth said:

Friends of ours in the next county (I also live in PA) were happy a couple of years ago that their older son was being taught cursive in his school (apparently it's school district to school district).  But Heather just ranted about how badly math is being taught (at the time John was in maybe third or fourth grade -- his mom's description was "They BROKE math!  I LOVED math!"

But I grew up in NYS, and they were teaching to "the test" (specifically the NYS Regents exams) back in the 1970s when I was in high school (we had the biology teacher running extra "tutoring sessions" in my Regents Biology class.  And I also remember taking the AP English exam as a senior and noticed that they gave "hints" for the essay questions (one of the ones I particularly remember was the essay about parallel plots, and gave King Lear as something "you might have read...."  And I was frantically trying to mentally squeeze the five page paper on parallel plots in King Lear into a twenty minute essay, only to get dragged out partway through that section to get some sort of vaccination -- as if the school nurse couldn't wait till the AP exam was over.... :headsmack: [To this day, I'm somewhat convinced that the reason I only got a 4 (not a 5) on that exam was because of that disruption.... :angry:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

Two comments:

MATH -- My youngest son and his family live in Southern California.  His 10 year old son, my grandson, is being taught New Math.  It's horrid!  Solving a simple addition problem such as 123 + 456  becomes a major exercise involving deconstructing the amounts involve and then reconstructing them is what one could call sets before somehow, after great labour, putting the number together to arrive at a solution.  It's that bad that it's involved the entire family think-tank to work out how the 'New Math' solution despite having already arrived at an 'old math' solution.

TEACHING THE TEST --  It was a foregone conclusion that teaching the test by which education success in determined would the new norm once the 'administration', be it local, state, or federal attached an award system of any form (funding, etc.) to test scores.

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KingsCountyWriter
19 minutes ago, ParramattaPaul said:

However, I would debate that cursive is no longer that important for a number of reasons beyond notetaking at speed.  Not the least is cursive allows far more expression of one's personality, individualism and identity through his or her handwriting than block letter printing.  In my opinion at least, the value of anything facilitating personal expression and individualism cannot be over-estimated in today's group-think society.

I think you're referring to allowing the nurturing of creativity. Thankfully, in my school, I have been able to help students find different ways to find and express theirs. Dance, music, poetry, playwriting, drawing, painting and darkroom photography are all areas that I have been able to work with kids on for the past 3 decades. I recently taught a course that looked at a variety of art forms that focused on hand rendered words and writing. Every student got a Hero 565 and a bottle of ink. Less than a month later, COVID-19. 

 

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ParramattaPaul
18 minutes ago, KingsCountyWriter said:

I think you're referring to allowing the nurturing of creativity. Thankfully, in my school, I have been able to help students find different ways to find and express theirs. Dance, music, poetry, playwriting, drawing, painting and darkroom photography are all areas that I have been able to work with kids on for the past 3 decades. I recently taught a course that looked at a variety of art forms that focused on hand rendered words and writing. Every student got a Hero 565 and a bottle of ink. Less than a month later, COVID-19. 

 

Nurturing creativity is a much greater scheme of things than what I had in mind.  I would offer that creativity is engendered by an appreciation of one's individualism.  I believe that in a sense true creativity results from one thinking in a different, perhaps new, way.  I suggest that to think 'differently', requires individualism.  With that, I contend that being able to write cursive which allows one to explore and adapt one's own letter forms -- as almost everyone of us has -- allows for and encourages one's individualism.  I believe that allows one to think, 'I can colour outside the lines if I want.'  While totally unrelated to handwriting, looking at the individualism of the great artists (Monet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrc, and Gauguin for instance) of the middle 19th Century to the early 20th Century as they moved art through Impressionism to Post impressionism, and to Cubism, and Synthetism. 

 

This not to say that an individual cannot be creative or explore new horizons without a nurturing of individualism (as distinct from the 'individual').  To do so, would deny that some of us are 'just wired differently', and that some of us are more abstract thinkers for whom thinking outside the box comes more naturally.  Everyone deserves to be encouraged to self-expression and creativity. 

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Manuel F
3 hours ago, txomsy said:

Sorry for the log rant. Feel free to ignore if you are a milenial.

 

I'm shocked too. My understanding is that in EU, it is slowly being phased out too, but kids are still writing a lot, only they are more and more left to their own devices to learn "as they wish", and freely "develop their own character". I haven't an issue with that, but can't help wondering how can a kid with no experience whatsoever and no exposition to anything know what is available and make their own decision.

 

Still, here (EU) I can see lots of B&M stationery shops, with lots of FPs and BPs and pencils and notebooks and all that. Actually kids are asked to write a lot, and some of my students (post-grad) do use FPs, some even like calligraphy, and a majority do take lots of notes on paper (specially if encouraged).

 

About this last one: I get the impression they feel like if being "pro" is about using computers and not taking notes any more (they should already know everything since they're graduates, notes are for learners), and when they see you take notes, print papers, sketch, use a whiteboard, give them notebooks and ask them to keep a diary and note down everything for later referral, they take to it like naturals.

 

That's why I'm shocked that kids are not encouraged to take notes in some places. It is difficult to beat the efficiency of handwritten notes once the ability has been developed. As it is to beat the efficiency of reading when one has developed the ability (specially to quick-read). I can see how many now are used to not read but just see YouTube videos (requiring 15 minutes for something they could have located at a glance if written), and how taking notes may seem awkward if you slowly write in block capitals but can type 90 letters per minute.

 

And that's my sad sinking feeling: those illiterate (both quick-reading and quick-writing), even if they get through a PhD, will always lag deeply behind those who have developed these skills. They may discover it later and perhaps master them... but it is a pity their supposed "teachers" didn't give them such useful tools during their formation, left them alone to discover them by themselves and let them at a disadvantage.

 

Mind you, I was among the early adopters of computer technology for everything. Even more, I learnt typing on a typing machine when I was a kid, in the times a good typist should follow a dictated speech, so I can type faster than most people can write. And yet I can still write faster than I type. And like in the tipp-ex joke, I often feel compelled to quote or mark down text, annotate, glose, sketch diagram or draw over (or on the side), which one cannot efficiently do on a PDF.

 

Yeah, if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But not everything is just highlighting or underscoring or googling. It is a pity that these other useful techniques, which have been refined over thousands of years are being phased out for a novel, little tested (comparatively, untested), and still immature (yeah, it has advantages, but also many shortcomings) technology. And that we expect those handicapped people to sustain us when they grow up in a global World.

 

To this end, one may as well not teach kids anything at all.

 

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Manuel F

My friend 'txomsy',  

 

        Your rant is welcomed, the fountain pen, which we are its "champion", is what the scribes, in some form, used to record in cursive the history of the world. I would gladly rant, and rave against the ...... no, no I will not use, and corrupt Dylan Thomas's, "Parker 51", too often used phrase. I will agree with all who enjoy the written word, especially as we place our thoughts on the paper with our pens, write.

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As for keyboard typing being more useful... if that is so, why are kids not taught how to type on a keyboard, so that they can record ideas more efficiently? 'Cos, sadly, they aren't either. Many cannot use Google on a computer because typing is so terribly "inefficient" and "outdated" when compared with asking their cell phone to look up the basic questions they deal with.

 

With all my respect for teachers (and it's a lot, both my parents were), modern teachers are getting carried way off.

 

I guess the underlying reasoning goes that typing is also obsolete as you can just record your voice and image and put it up on YouTube, or ask your cell phone. So, why teach them to type?

 

Following up, as AIs get "better", why teach them at all? Employers will soon prefer an AI over any human.

 

And then, one day they'll discover some smart-something who can write and read can be a hundred times more efficient than them, and can beat them to their next job. And then, I suppose, they'll complain about all those foreigners that come from a "differently developed" culture, with their "archaic education", who didn't get a "modern" education like they did, and who are coming "here" (for whatever your "here" may be) to steal "our" jobs (as if employers designed those jobs specifically for us).

 

As I said, it makes me terribly sad.

 

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Grayspoole

I think the curriculum may vary in different schools. My daughters were taught cursive at their public school in PA, using the workbooks called Handwriting without Tears. (The title is a clue.) In college now, both write an acceptable cursive and can read their grandmothers’ beautiful penmanship, but they were not made to work on their handwriting as much as I was, long long ago in my Catholic parochial school.

 

Back then, in kindergarten in 1967, my five year old hand was hit with a ruler by Sr, Albina because I dropped my pencil once too often. Strangely enough, I still loved practicing penmanship and developed a lifelong interest in calligraphy. 

 

Learning can be weird.

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Karmachanic

We didn't get a pencil and paper until we had learned to write; on a slate. This was before the invention of colour. We were also taught history, and geography.

 

to add: Cursive, off course. Ballpoints were allowed in class/homework if one preferred, but fountain pens were required for exams.

 

Grammatical and spelling errors in any subject resulted in lost points.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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OleJuul

I guess people's eyes and brains work differently. I learnt cursive in school back in about 1954 or so, it was just the normal thing then. I used it in all my years of school and also did much correspondence in cursive in the years following. Now in my old age I can still write cursive if I want (I just tried to make sure) but I cannot read it easily. It's easy enough if I know what someone is saying, but if I don't, it becomes quite difficult, especially in different languages.

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KingsCountyWriter
8 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

We didn't get a pencil and paper until we had learned to write; on a slate. This was before the invention of colour. We were also taught history, and geography.

 

to add: Cursive, off course. Ballpoints were allowed in class/homework if one preferred, but fountain pens were required for exams.

 

Grammatical and spelling errors in any subject resulted in lost points.

..."before the invention of colour"....

 

Whoa... 

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essayfaire
3 hours ago, KingsCountyWriter said:

..."before the invention of colour"....

 

Whoa... 

I thought there were colours used in Lascaux.... ;)

Festina lente

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inkstainedruth

Didn't you ever read the old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon about how artists were crazy? :lol:  Or as my mother said, "This is why Calvin is the way he is -- his father messes with his head...."  [A friend of my mother's didn't like the strip and used to complain about it just being "one more anthropomorphic animal" -- not realizing for the longest time that Hobbes is a TOY tiger....]

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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