Marsha

Handwriting

I’m glad to see that science is backing up the need to continue teaching handwriting in schools. Happily, my daughter is learning it in school—our district hasn’t yet joined the ranks of those who are ditching handwriting from the curriculum (though I think she may not get more than the bare bones version of this instruction). I know that keyboarding skills are vital these days, but I’m sorry to see handwriting disappear from our schools and much of our daily lives. The two fulfill such different roles that one isn’t a substitute for the other.

I can type pretty quickly and accurately (except on a mobile device, when I become the World’s Worst Thumb Typist), and for my work I spend a lot of time hunched over a keyboard. But when I want to write something thoughtful and really connect with a far-off friend, I will almost always put pen to paper and write something by hand. The deliberateness of the action, the tangibility of the tools—I value their ability to make me pause and slow down.

3 Responses to “Handwriting”

  1. Shannahon 10 Jun 2014 at 6:01 pm

    You’re right, both skills are valuable. And technology isn’t unconditionally reliable. But I’m also unconvinced that school will discontinue teaching handwriting. Maybe cursive is being eliminated (and we can debate about that one for sure), but not all handwriting. Kids learn by doing. You have to make letters to understand what they are. Just my two cents. :)
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  2. Deborahon 10 Jun 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I truly believe that some things should not be written off in schools as invaluable. Handwriting in my opinion is one of those things that is a must. I know that typing everything has become a way of life for sure, but for me I cannot imagine not writing in my daily life. We are not a completely paperless society.
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  3. Marshaon 11 Jun 2014 at 9:27 am

    @Shannah: I’d like to share your optimism that handwriting won’t be eliminated from the curriculum, but now that my daughter has spent three years in the local school and I’ve glimpsed what the district prioritizes (and what it doesn’t), I’m not convinced that something like that won’t happen down the road.
    .
    @Deborah: I agree! And you know, even if we stop generating new paper, we’ll still have centuries of old writings behind us. What happens when people stop learning how to write and read cursive and can no longer read original historical documents?
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