Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pi = 3 All Over Again

     The Indiana Senate's Education Committee has sent a bill to the Senate floor that will require the teaching of cursive handwriting in schools here.

     ...Much as I love it, and have worked to get my cursive handwriting back to Palmer Method standards after years or relying on Chancery Cursive (essentially italic printing), wouldn't that time be better spent teaching the little creatures to touch-type?

45 comments:

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Touch typing is to proper cursive handwriting is as crayons are to Rembrandt.

Both serve a purpose, but only one is also art.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

When I was in school, they managed to teach both without sacrificing anything. I was learning cursive in 2nd or 3rd grade, but typing wasn't even offered until either 6th or 7th grade. I think as early as 5th grade would be appropriate today.

Teach 'em cursive while they're young, and touch typing once their hands have grown enough to manage it on a standard keyboard.

Borepatch said...

Or they could teach the little dears to read and write, add and subtract.

Ed Skinner said...

Someday, keyboards will go away. The primary HID will become which, a microphone so teach them to enunciate, or direct wiring so teach them to think clearly?

Don said...

I was at a friend's house this last Saturday. His grandson, who lives with him, was trying to learn the state capitols. Every so often we would call him into the den and test him. He was having quite a bit of trouble.

Remembering my own difficulties, I suggested he write the state on one side of the paper, and its capitol on the other. Then blank off one side of the paper and name the hidden one.

He brought his paper back in (mind that he was copying from a book) and complained that he had 43 states but 51 capitols. "blink" "blink".

I tried to straighten him out but his printing was so bad it was un-readable. As was his spelling (again, he's copying a book).

How old, you may ask? The young man is in the sixth grade. Really, printing and learning state capitols in sixth grade? His grandfather showed me one of his recent test papers; on which he made 10/10. Neither of us could read it, and the teacher had made two spelling mistakes. I also saw his latest report card. Straight 'A's.

As said by Jake above, I learned cursive (Spencerian) sometime in the early third grade. He has never been taught it, can't read it, and his teachers have said the children can't use it.

As you know, I am a resident of the great state of...wait for it... Indiana. Were I in the state legislature, I would put this bill forward.

Rob K said...

I may write my senator asking that he introduce a competing bill to forbid the teaching of cursive in all Indiana schools. The sooner that scourge is stamped out, the better. Too much of my childhood was wasted scratching out cursive letters, when my printing was quicker and more legible. My time would have been better spent watching re-runs of Mr. Ed.

Cursive is as useful in the modern world as knowing how to harness a horse to a wagon.

BobG said...

I'm with Borepatch on that one.

Anonymous said...

My experience is the same as Jake's and I'm thankful for that. I too, think the old way that he proposes is the best way. Don's experience with the young'un is sadly all too common now. We're in deep trouble.

Jess said...

My cursive is terrible, which led me to printing, which led me to printing like draftsmen and engineers. It was more out of self-defense, since I'm constantly required to communicate by writing.

Why not both cursive and touch keyboard? Add some grammar, basic mathematics and history, while stressing the importance of written communications.

Ken said...

Best argument I have seen in favor of learning cursive is that people who can write cursive can read it as well, and will have recourse to old diaries, letters, etc. Fair amount of useful information is archived in something other than New Century Schoolbook.

Dave H said...

I agree with Borepatch, but I think we need to start with teaching the educators. You should see some of the notes and letters I get from my son's school. I can almost guess the age of the teacher who wrote a piece by counting the mistakes.

Writing in cursive is supposed to be faster than printing, allowing one to make notes more quickly and be more produtive. It didn't work out that way for me.

Charles Pergiel said...

Computers are a fad that will vanish when civilization collapses next week, er, millennium.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, if have to pick one?

The best argument I can summon up for cursive in this degenerate age is that it develops fine motor skills, and might even aid in memorizing the alphabet.

Keyboards are here to stay, it's important to note.

I managed to learn cursive, and my best timed speed at touch typing was 63 wpm when I was a junior.

Whatever I've learned about the care and use of the House Demon, (computer) I picked up decades after high school. If one is literate, they pretty much teach you how to pray to them their own selves.

You can teach touch typing, and the little bazzards will, without fail, gravitate towards Textspeak.

Teach them cursive. Hold the line against the idea that standards are malleable.

How the hell did I ever learn to read and do basic arithmetic without computers? It's a mystery.

Mike James

Anonymous said...

They should fine and fire those that took it out of the curriculum in the first place.
The so called educators are a total and complete failure.

Terry
Fla.

armedlaughing said...

I'm sinistral, and as such was taught by right-handed folk. Most folks that know me claim they need the Rosetta Stone for translation. Suffice it to say, you are most fortunate I'm typing this.
However, I agree with most everyone.
We need to go back to math, science,geography, cursive, keyboarding skills and deductive reasoning skills. And Constitutional history, to preserve and renew the Republic.
OOPS! Too late...

gfa

bob said...

I find it kind of sad to think that mine might be the last generation to be able to look at the original U.S. Constitution and not have it look like Sanskrit

Roberta X said...

Hell, Bob, the ideas in it have been Sanskrit to most of at least one generation already.

NAVIGATOR said...

ROBERTA

CAN WE ADD MORSE TO THE MIX ?

BT
AR

DE 4XMA

Roberta X said...

Didn't every Boy Scout used to have to learn Morse Code?

Earl said...

Well, are they also teaching how to roll paper cartridges for the muskets of their fathers?

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Bobbi, yes we did have to learn Morse Code, and just as promptly forgot it unless we went into amateur radio :)

For me, I think they ought to take the dashed computers out of the etaoin shrdlu schools altogether. Let the little buggers learn to write cursive and use a card catalog and actually have to read books, just like WE did.

LabRat said...

Handwriting is still a necessary skill to anyone who needs to quickly jot something down without the aid of a device that requires charging and is expensive to lose, i.e. nearly everyone.

The problem with cursive is that, when the person using it needs speed over all else, it quickly devolves into near-total illegibility. Printing can too, but it's easier to decipher than the cursive of someone in a rush who doesn't spend a lot of time practicing their composition. (Which is nearly everyone.) Cursive was designed for fast, fluid writing by someone who was going to be concentrating ON that writing for quite awhile, and practicing often.

My school taught me to write in cursive, required me to write in cursive in order to receive a grade at all, from lower school right up to high school, whereupon I immediately reverted to print in self-defense so I could read my own notes, which now needed to be taken quickly if they were to be complete.

It wasn't the school's fault I can't use cursive script today. Lord knows they tried. It just wasn't an even faintly relevant skill for me anymore.

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