Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Never mind cursive

Hell I can't even print properly anymore.

People born after 1980 tend to have a distinctive style of handwriting: a little bit sloppy, a little bit childish and almost never in cursive.

I was born long before 1980. But that describes my handwriting to a T. Granted, I've never had the greatest handwriting. In school, it took extreme, painful, effort to write out things neatly.

Nowadays, the only time I have to write something is when I sign a cheque, or a greeting/birthday/holiday card of some sort. And that's when I get stumped. I honestly don't remember how to form letters in cursive anymore. So the cards I sign have this weird combination of stylized (ie made-up) print/cursive capital letters and cursive small letters.

And that's why I have to disagree with Mr. Graham,

The knee-jerk explanation is that computers are responsible for our increasingly illegible scrawl, but Steve Graham, a special-education and literacy professor at Vanderbilt University, says that's not the case. The simple fact is that kids haven't learned to write neatly because no one has forced them to. "Writing is just not part of the national agenda anymore," he says.

Keyboards are responsible for our illegible scrawl. Writing classes were very much part of my education. Even in secondary school, many of my reports and assignments were still hand written because quite a few teachers wouldn't accept computer print out. Unfortunately, writing is not like riding a bike. Without constant use, it degrades and you can eventually forget how to do it.

In short, if you don't use it, you lose it. And I stopped using it about 20 years ago (roughly when I started higher education in computers.)

1 comment:

Ken Breadner said...

Yes! I rebelled against cursive when I was taught it. I didn't see the point of it, and still don't. Why do (did) we ask children to learn not one but FOUR alphabets (printed and written capital and small letters)? Needless complication. And everyone knows it, too: computers have script fonts that look like cursive writing...and you almost never see them.