Times Articles on Cursive and My Comment

Hi! Has anyone seen these?

The Case for Cursive

and

Do You Write in Cursive? (The Learning Network blog at The NY Times)

I thought the first article, which I flipped to by chance when I was leafing through the paper last night, was pretty cool. I hadn’t really considered before the loss of fine motor skills and increased susceptibility to forgery as issues stemming from the slow loss of handwriting. It does make sense, I suppose, but I don’t see them making parents and teachers stand up at school meetings to demand more classroom time for Ps and Qs. The major issues for me are the losses of a basic means of self-expression and access to primary documents, as well as my skepticism of the longevity and constancy of technology.

Anyone else have thoughts? You should submit them to The Learning Network or comment here—I’d love to hear them!

I submitted my thoughts on handwriting to the blog in the second link, in response to a couple of questions there. It was a fun way to pass 15 minutes or so, though I don’t know if my comment will actually be approved. I’m not really the target audience, being that the blog asks for student responses (ages 13 and up). In the event that it doesn’t, I’ve copied my comment below. (It’s so long! I didn’t realize…)

I do write in cursive and have since the third grade or so, when it was taught at my private school. We didn’t receive instruction past the third grade, but all of our assignments were handwritten until well after the point that other grammar schools were requiring typed homework. This was in the mid- to late-90s and early 2000s. It wasn’t until I began high school, at an institution that made technology a priority, that almost all assignments were typed. With that background, all my college notes were handwritten and I still need a pen and reams of paper to get creative brainstorming started.

I don’t write with my grandmother’s cursive (though I’m working toward it!) but a print/script blend that connects letters, most of which are a rounder version of the official cursive shapes. It’s neat and pretty, it’s legible, and it’s uniquely mine.

My interest is mostly artistic–I love calligraphy and reading beautiful writing from my grandmother’s generation or French schools–but I also truly believe that technology is fragile and fleeting.

Websites go down without maintenance, digital mediums become obsolete, email providers change, unexpected tragedies cut people off from the internet. I have a pile of floppy disks from technological eons ago, containing information I may never see again, and an AOL email account that I have no idea how to access anymore. I do, however, have access to all my old written papers and a ton of handwritten letters, as well as a means of easy communication that doesn’t rely on a phone or laptop or anything else that may fail when I need it.

Technology–of which typed text is a part–is important. I couldn’t have written all those papers as well and as quickly as I did if I didn’t have online research options and a word processor. And honestly, my letter isn’t going to reach CA as fast as email. But it also isn’t and shouldn’t be everything. There’s a world of practical use and artistic expression that is every bit as important, and we should pay attention to those too.

116. Mrs. M. (@Send Something) -Appatomax

117. Lauren P. -New York

118. my sister the second -Boston (postcard)

AND Linsey (@Send Something) -Tulsa

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About Wolfey

Letter enthusiast. Arts and Crafts enthusiast. Stationery enthusiast. People enthusiast. Travel enthusiast. Book enthusiast. Life of the Mind enthusiast. Life enthusiast. View all posts by Wolfey

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