Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Times, They Are A-Changing

WP: Cursive writing becomes pass?- washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com: "WASHINGTON - The computer keyboard helped kill shorthand, and now it's threatening to finish off longhand.

When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest? They printed. Block letters.

And those college hopefuls are just the first edge of a wave of U.S. students who no longer get much handwriting instruction in the primary grades, frequently 10 minutes a day or less. As a result, more and more students struggle to read and write cursive."

7 comments:

Brent McKee said...

In my case I wrote my college exams longhand, but if you would have asked my professors they would probably have told you that they would have preferred block letters - or having the words spelled out in actual wooden blocks. I stopped writing my name on tests and started printing when one professor kept calling out the name "Bert" when he was handing them back (as it happened we did have a guy named Ernie in that class). My hand writing was bad then and has only gotten worse as I've aged.

Kent Morgan said...

About the the only time I write is when I sign cheques (checks to you Texans) and other official documents such as a passport, driver's licence, income tax form, etc. I started printing in block letters in my first public relations job after college in order to communicate clearly with my boss who only printed. Today with doing most of my writing on the computer I realize that my printing has deteriorated over the years in particular when I quickly take down information while on the phone or conducting an interview.

By the way, that's the same boss who on my first business trip with him, taught me where to hide extra money in a hotel room. He climbed up and hid it in top folds of the drapes. At the time I thought it was a great idea and never questioned how he would get it in case of a fire or if he ever left cash behind.

Bill said...

I still write in cursive whenever I write almost anything. If I want someone else to read it, I print.

Anonymous said...

The computer keyboard may be responsible for part of this, but the underlying culprit is someone's desire to Leave No Child Behind. As schools spend more and more time teaching to tests, many of the basics are left behind. Why spend time on handwriting if it isn't going to be on the test? Music classes, art classes, phys ed classes are all feeling the pinch. Fundamentals? Who needs 'em if you can take a calculator to the test? Our educational system is going to hell in a handbasket. I know all of this makes me sound like a cranky old -- hey, you kids! Get off of Bill's lawn!

Bill said...

Damn right! At the community college where I taught for a long time, we actually had one instructor who wanted to offer a handwriting class. That was before everyone started using computers. The administration wouldn't go for the class, though.

Benjamin Potter said...

But why bother with learning even to print in block letters. With today's standardized testing, all you need to be able to write by hand is a black dot that stays inside the lines. That is not withstanding the writing sample--but we have computers now. Learn to type!

Having said this, I don't write by hand if I don't have to--I'd hate to have to read my hen scratch.

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

My cursive handwriting has always been unintelligble to others, so in college I started printing anything I had to turn in simply so the prof could read what I'd actually written. Eventually I abandoned script all together. And yes, now my printing is pretty much unintelligible to anyone as well. Such is the evolution of writing...