Monday, November 26, 2012

I Can't Make Out What You Wrote Here

I had to laugh at the Associated Press story this weekend about schools looking to save cursive handwriting.

I have not written anything in cursive--except for my signature--since I graduated from high school.  There are two reasons for that.  One, I want people to actually be able to read what I have written.  And two, there is no reason to write by hand anymore anyway.

I still remember the report I wrote for some assignment in 7th grade that should have received my usual "A" grade--but was marked down to a "C" because (as was printed in red across the top of the first page) the teacher couldn't read what I had written in several paragraphs.  I can also remember getting cards with little notes from one of my grandmothers who wrote left-handed in cursive--so that everything leaned the wrong way and I had to guess what was written in a few spots.

The rise of civilization coincides with man's development of written language.  For the first time, we could communicate not only with those who could hear our own voices--but with anyone who had learned to read the STANDARDIZED lettering of our language.  Cursive undermines that standardization by allowing people to "personalize" the form of the letters--opening the door once again for confusion and miscommunication.

And now, technology has rendered handwriting obsolete anyway.  Email, texts and instant messaging have permanently replaced letters and notes (just ask the post office).  While cell phones, push to talk and video chat capabilities have become the preferred forms of interpersonal communication.  Job applications are filled out on-line or at kiosks in the business itself (and when was the last time you saw a handwritten resume?) Contracts can be signed via the internet using electronic signatures and user id's

We don't teach our kids to chisel their words into stone tablets.  They don't use charcoal to write on papyrus or quill pens dipped in ink wells to write.  So why waste valuable classroom time teaching them another archaic form of communication?  Better to use that time to teach them the proper usage of "there, their and they're" along with correct usage of prepositions, punctuation and proper grammar.

And if you want to "express your individuality or creativity", Microsoft Word has about 200 different fonts you can use--including "Cursive".

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