The Indiana Department of Education has decided to no longer require cursive writing as a requirement of school children come this fall. They are now going to teach children keyboarding skills at an earlier age. Progress, technology and all that.
I kind of think that this is unfortunate.
Good keyboarding skills are very important in today’s job climate. I have seen many people struggle while working with a computer, simply because they didn’t have a good command of the keyboard. And I have to admit that I was very lucky in this regard; I had a habit of wanting to play with my Mother’s typewriter when I was in third grade and she said that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right and she taught me how to type properly at that young age. People that don’t know me are often amazed at my typing skills when I sit down in front of a computer. Since I do it for a living, I have had a lot of practice. It’s one of the things that I feel confident enough to brag about.
Nevertheless, there is little in the way of expression in the typewritten word, especially with the shorter tweets and Facebook updates we see crammed into 140 characters. A person’s writing habits, the display of their penmanship, generally says a lot about their personality. I know a guy who used a ruler as a guide when he wrote his annual holiday cards. I look forward to his beautiful penmanship every year. Grandma Country had outstanding 1920/30s-era penmanship that carried on to her kids. My mother has beautiful handwriting that has the flair of someone that learned to write in cursive in the late 1950s. Earl’s dad has the penmanship that matches his charisma, as does his son, and my dad has the penmanship that displays the confidence I see in him.
Abolishing required penmanship lessons is like taking away one tool that a kid has available to him in an effort to express himself. This is unfortunate. While keyboarding skills are quite necessary, we should never take away a person’s method of expression. Teach them how to use the tools and then let them decide whether they want to use them or not.
And just for kicks… (click to make it moderately more legible)