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.
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.