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The dying art of cursive

by Cindy Tovar

There’s something pleasant about putting pen to paper and writing down your thoughts.  Handwriting feels more personal than putting your hands on a keyboard and typing on a screen. I’ve never completely gotten used to thinking creatively and typing, simultaneously. I can do it, but it’s just not the same.

Even now, as I type this, I’m simply transferring what I’ve written in my notebook, because that’s how I learned to express my thoughts – on paper. It’s like a hard-wired connection that runs between my brain and my right hand that refuses to be rewired.

For the younger generation, it’s different. They’re growing up in a digital world.  Instead of sending letters, they send emails. Very young children already know how to use a computer mouse. Through internet chatting, surfing, and gaming, they’re establishing new connections in their brains, ones that are more suited to the lifestyle they’ve been born into.

As a result of our fast-paced, tech-savvy society, schools need to keep up with their students and the changing times. Keyboarding skills are now part of the new Common Core curriculum that 46 states have adopted thus far. Print handwriting is still being taught, but cursive is no longer required, and more and more schools are deciding not to teach it.

The hand-written word is becoming obsolete. Cursive writing, in particular, is no longer seen as a necessary skill for children to learn. Why spend time focusing on a dying art?

As a teacher, I must raise a concern.

Cursive writing teaches discipline and patience. We’ve become a society where we want, and usually get, instant results and instant gratification. Technology has made this possible for us. While this is satisfying, it’s a double-edged sword, because in the process we’re raising some very impatient children who are used to doing things easily and without much effort. Once the school day is over, the children go home and watch hours of television, play hours of video games, and every day I try to undo the damage with activities that make them sit down, focus, and not give up after the first try. Writing cursive takes practice, and it’s this perseverance that I’m afraid our children will lose.

Technology and the internet are changing the way we learn. Information is literally at our fingertips, just a few key strokes and a mouse click away. Schools are supposed to prepare our children for the future. Teachers have a difficult job because not only must they teach academic skills, but they must also promote personal as well as social attributes that’ll allow them to be successful after they graduate.

If we’re talking about academic skills that are relevant to our current lifestyle, then I agree that teaching keyboarding over cursive is the way to go. But if we’re talking about personal attributes, like patience, self-motivation, and the attainment of goals, (which aren’t always being taught in the home) then I believe cursive writing should not be so easily overlooked in the curriculum.

To learn more about Cindy, visit Dagny’s Dichotomy.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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About Cindy Tovar

Born in Flushing, Queens to Colombian parents, Cindy has always loved reading and writing. For this reason, she entered Montclair State University to pursue an English degree, but instead fell in love with and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. During her time at Montclair State, Cindy joined the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) on campus. She immediately felt comfortable surrounded by peers that shared both love and pride for the Latino culture, something she had never experienced before. She ultimately became president of LASO. Since then, Cindy has earned her M.S. Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education from Bank Street College, and works as a bilingual Special Education preschool teacher in Brooklyn. Despite feeling exhausted by the time she reaches her New Jersey home, she still uses her spare time to write. Joining the Being Latino family is one of the best things that has happened to Cindy because it fulfills her in two ways: She can write to her heart’s content while reaching an engaging audience, and it helps her stay connected to her Latino culture. You can find more of Cindy’s writing on her personal blogs: Dagny’s Dichotomy, and Cindy’s Chronicles.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. I recently took my brother to open his first bank account and at 18 I was surprised that he never learned to sign his name. we only have a 6 year age difference and it is like we are worlds apart. I always attributed it to the fact that I was raised abroad in Venezuela and he was born and raised here but the more I think about it the more I realize that it may have just as much to do with the access to technology as the cultural/geographic difference. Great post!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. I love to write and I love the art of cursive. I actually took a calligraphy class last year and my teacher explained to us how writing has changed over the years. She explained to us that we’ve lost words over the years because people stopped using them as silly as that sounds. I’m afraid of what the future will look like once our children stop writing – completely! Great post!

  3. Eileen Rivera de la Hoz says:

    There is something very personal in writing a note and sending a greeting card by mail. Every once in a while, I still pull out my fountain pen and send a note to a friend. It might take longer to get there, but it’s more personal.

  4. Cindy Tovar says:

    @Tadeo: Thanks for sharing, and I can’t believe he didn’t know how to sign his name! I feel that cursive should be taught, if only to let us play around with and create our very own signature. I had perfected my own over the years, and when I got married last year, I had to create a whole new one, which I did but I’m not completely satisfied with yet lol
    @Loveink: Cursive really is an art, and I hope it never gets to the point where people stop writing completely!
    @Eileen: I completely agree, and on the flip side, it’s always nice to get some “real” mail, as opposed to just bills now.

  5. Narciso says:

    Cursive can be quite beautiful once someone masters it but for a huge portion of people it never becomes more than chicken scratch.

    I don’t miss cursive at all and while i do find it to be more interesting than print, its not really necessary.

    Cursive can be an horrible thing when someone has ugly handwriting. For whatever reason some people just cannot write better than 5 year olds and the dropping of cursive is a godsend for them and for the people who have to read what ever they write.

    My opinion is that its mostly nostalgia.

    Getting rid of calculators until after high school would do more for students than something like bringing back cursive.

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