This morning, I got involved in a very passionate discussion on Twitter about cursive writing. There was an article in the newspaper yesterday about a dad that finds out his son is unable to sign his name when they go to apply for a passport. The article then speaks about the importance of cursive writing, and why it should be reinforced at school, even if there are only limited references to it in the curriculum. I happen to disagree.
I have no problem with students using cursive writing in the classroom. In fact, I suggest it as one of my writing choices – along with printing and word processing. Yes, students should learn how to sign their name, but this learning doesn’t just have to happen at school. They can also learn this skill at home. Having students sign their work or sign a list for try-outs would be a great way to reinforce this skill at school.
My problem with the cursive writing debate is when I hear the argument that all students should be “enforced” to write. Why? I hardly ever use cursive writing. In fact, I have a familial tremor, and my hands always shake. Cursive writing is a struggle for me because of the fluid motion required. So instead, I print or type. I went all the way through grade school and university doing so, and I’ve taught various grades for the past 12 years, all with using limited cursive writing.
If we’re going to enforce that students do something, I think we need to consider why we’re enforcing this skill. Students have been cursive writing for years, but in the real world, this skill is used in limited circumstances. Is it worth continuing to enforce at school? When should we move beyond doing what we’ve always done?
What are your thoughts on teaching and enforcing cursive writing at school? What other skills might we want to re-examine teaching in the classroom? Why?
Aviva Dunsiger taught Junior Kindergarten to Grade 2 for 11 years before moving to Grade 6 this year. She’s passionate about using technology in the classroom to support student learning, and she’s presented on this topic numerous times both online and offline.
She enjoys maintaining her blog, Living Avivaloca: My Many Musings on Life and Learning. Aviva’s reflective writing about her professional practice inspires communication between educators, administrators and parents.