Cursive is like a Shakespearean tragedy. Its beauty is often butchered, its letters commonly misinterpreted, and we are all watching the inevitable death of cursive.
Or are we?
The debate on why cursive should be taught has been heated and been in focus as more and more school systems limit cursive instruction time in the classroom or just scrap the program altogether.
I’m with the experts this time.
Technology is moving us away from paper dependency. School papers and novel manuscripts are usually composed on computers, letters are now emails, invites are now electronic, and postcards are now texts.
And if we want to make it fancy, there are a dozen cursive-like fonts for the choosing.
But back to the school papers. Typing skills are becoming more relevant to our tech-savvy culture. It makes sense that students are spending more time on the keyboard than scrolling on cursive worksheets.
The beauty of mankind is that our skills evolve and that we adapt to market demands. We were having this argument a century or so ago when horse-drawn carriage drivers were fighting to keep horses on the roads as cars became more affordable and reasonable. What would our roads be like if cars and horses rode side by side? What if the horse-drawn carriage drivers won the fight?
They did on Mackinac Island, but that’s another story.
I grew up when computer innovation was rising. I knew how to load a floppy disk and respond to DOS commands when I was three, thanks to my dad. I spent my weekends competing with my sisters on typing games long before a towel was thrown over my hands in my third grade classroom.
Don’t worry. I spent more time playing outside.
But I spent just as much time typing as I did practicing my cursive. And because I was competitive, I wanted to have the best scroll in town. So that meant sharpening a lot of pencils.
Typing and cursive are both great skills to have. Research shows that children that learn how to write cursive tend to have better math and readings skills than those that still chicken-scratch their ABCs.
And that’s not all. Cursive is a great way to fine-tune motor skills. Think about it: it takes practice to pressure a pen just hard enough on paper to spell out a word with fluidity and nimbleness.
Denelian and keyboard typing are clunky compared to this ballet art.
But our society has become more casual and doesn’t match the formality dripping from a calligraphy pen. Keeping cursive around is like trying to resurrect hieroglyphics from its tomb.
Maybe that’s why cursive has stuck around. Many historical documents are written in cursive, so being able to write it means that we are able to read cursive. What if we couldn’t decipher historical documents written in cursive in the future? What if future generations couldn’t read the Bill of Rights at the National Archives?
What a beautiful piece of writing!
Just because schools are not teaching cursive as much or at all doesn’t mean we still can’t learn it. Parents and tutors can still teach their children, and adults can still take lessons to perfect the craft.
Who knows? Maybe cursive is a skill that can be one day listed on your resume.
This Shakespearean play may actually be a comedy. There’s humor in applying cursive to typing situations as well as trying to type when cursive is more applicable. Jotting down notes and scribbling a grocery list isn’t going away, at least for now. And it’s a lot faster to write “toilet paper” in cursive.
What are your thoughts? Are you for cursive or typing? Share below.