Friday, July 15, 2011

So much for penmanship.

The state of Indiana no longer includes cursive writing in its curricular standards.


State officials sent school leaders a memo April 25 telling them that instead of cursive writing, students will be expected to become proficient in keyboard use.

The memo says schools may continue to teach cursive as a local standard, or they may decide to stop teaching cursive altogether.

(Read the rest.)

Could this be the beginning of the end of cursive for the next generation of students?

I don't think schools will have to spend more time on keyboarding now than they have in the past. It may be they'll need less, considering how many kids these days seem to be using computers practically from infancy.

Handwritten assignments are still a fact of life in schools, and are a key part of many standardized tests, including Advanced Placement exams.  Even in college, there are essay questions on midterm exams that require handwritten responses. Professors and test readers have little patience for unreadable work.

As many a secondary-level teacher can tell you, once those penmanship lessons from elementary school end, it is all downhill when it comes to neatly written work. The decline often reaches the point where some students give whole new meaning to the term chicken scratch.  I'm not kidding. I had a student once whose printed writing literally looked like it was produced by actual chickens. The teaching of cursive seems worthwhile if only for the development (and maybe extended maintenance) of the fine motor skills that help students avoid this.

Let's hope high school teachers in Indiana can still read their students' work in ten more years.

Tip of the ruler to: Curriculum Matters

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