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Why Johnny Can't Handwrite

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the graffiti-characters-not-counted dept.

Education 1356

theodp writes "Handwriting experts fear that the wild popularity of e-mail and IM, particularly among kids, could erase cursive within a few decades. With 90 percent of Americans between the ages of 5 and 17 using computers, it's not uncommon for kids to type 20-30 WPM by the time they leave elementary school. Keyboards, joysticks and cell-phone touch pads have ruined kids' ability to hold a pencil properly, let alone write legibly, says the former president of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting."

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Thumbs (5, Interesting)

Phroggy (441) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154505)

I heard something on the BBC about IM on mobile phones becoming so popular in the UK that the next generation will be using their thumbs to do things we would use our index finger for, like ringing a doorbell. I already don't write in cursive, although I did learn in school and could probably manage if I really wanted to try.

If you want kids to be able to write by hand, you just have to force them to do it in school. If you let them type everything, they will. Of course, this isn't likely to happen on a wide scale; educators don't get paid enough to care.

Re:Thumbs (5, Funny)

dtldl (644451) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154616)

IM on mobile phones being sms text messages which havent caught on in the US, and not long ago, I was forced to do repetative excercises using "joined up" letters so I could write cursively. But whether digitally or on paper, I still prefer writing cursingly than cursively.

Perhaps (4, Funny)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154509)

Perhaps we are just training more kids to be doctors these days...

Good thing for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154514)

...Tablet PCs. If only they were priced for the average consumer.

Me Too (-1, Redundant)

fire-eyes (522894) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154515)

Uh, obligatory Me Too post.

Capital Z (1)

bigbadbuccidaddy (160676) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154529)

That's the only letter I can't remember how to write in cursive. Just like the scene in Billy Madison...

But... (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154530)

"But I can't read" (c) some Quest/Adventure game back in 1993 (somebody please enlighten me how that was called)

Bad handwriting (1)

dfj225 (587560) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154533)

I do suffer from bad handwriting, but oddly enough, I write in cursive over printing. I find that cursive is quicker for me and that printing is cumbersome. Also, people have remarked that my printing looks like something a two-year-old would write.

Who cares? (4, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154542)

I think cursive is a solution for a problem that is going away. I know cursive.. most of it. Actually, I'm not really sure what a capitla 'Q' looks like. If I had to figure it out, I'd probably go get a cursive font and type 'Q' and see what it did.

Back on topic, who cares if kids can't write in cursive? I'd far rather have a kid who can touch type and doesn't know cursive rather than the opposite.

This is people who can't take change whining that their niche is going away.

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154625)

I perhaps grew up in a middle generation. We were taught cursive but it was never really enforced after 4th or 5th grade.

I had been typing papers since the 2nd grade (on my C64 baby in GEOS Works or something) and could never find a valid reason for me to use cursive other than Mrs. Soandso said to.

Cursive is ugly, useless, and difficult to read.

I think that in the future EVERYONE should be forced to type everything.

AIM is destroying another MORE important part of writing. Grammar, sentence structure, and spelling.

having this
show up on
your screen every
time you talk to

Page length requirements on papers are going to be multiplied by 100 due to that :)

Just my worthless rambling.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154630)

cursive Q looks like a 2.

Re:Who cares? (2, Informative)

potaz (211754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154665)

Capital 'Q' in cursive looks like a '2'.

Actually I tihnk its about (1)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154695)

a guy (and a whole association of people) that will be out of jobs (or at least no longer have some B.S. association that I'm sure someone throws some funding at). I mean comon the "International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting." What in the world does this body of people do?

Re:Who cares? (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154702)

who cares if kids can't write in cursive? I'd far rather have a kid who can touch type and doesn't know cursive rather than the opposite.

Well, I have always been a fast typist going back to 10 years old and entertainingly, could type faster with two fingers than my junior high type teacher. Proper typing cut my wpm scores back a little, but it was beneficial to learn proper technique. However, my handwriting has always been bad and I tend to default to printing when I have to write. This could be because of my dyslexia, alternatively it could be because I was using a keyboard from the age of 9 or 10.

To address your point though. Not having good penmanship with cursive (or printing for that matter) did not significantly hurt my ability to get into college, or graduate school or obtain consulting positions so......yeah, I guess I agree with you. There are more significant things to worry about like knowledge of mathematics, science, history and literature among other things.

And this is a bad thing... why? (3, Funny)

osgeek (239988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154543)

Good riddance to those pesky writing implements, I say.

And this is a problem ... why, exactly? (5, Funny)

Chip Salzenberg (1124) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154544)

Oh, heavens! The ability to properly illuminate latin texts is probably dying out as well. However shall we cope?

I'd really be concerned if our spelling and math were slipping. Um, hold on a minute....

Re:And this is a problem ... why, exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154723)

If everyone with education *could* still illuminate Latin texts, the world would be a far better place.

Fortunately, most official paperwork (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154546)

is still set up with a 'witness signature' line so that teh illiterate filling out the form can get away with a simple 'x'.

What once was a relic from our past is now the wave of the future.

agree partially (1)

dh003i (203189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154547)

But there are still enough things that you have to write by hand that keep people in good practice in regards to printing.

However, most people are terrible with cursive, unless they write their letters.

The only time I use cursive is to sign my signature, and when I had to write a several sentence statement declaring that I consented to blah blah blah, it took me forever.

But so what? When I can type at 80 to 100 words per minute, why the fuck would I want to write? If I had a lap-top, I'd take my notes on it (in fact, with 1GHz laptops selling under $300, I'm probably going to buy one soon).

Re:agree partially (1)

zapp (201236) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154678)

woah woah woah... 1GHz laptops for $300?? Where??

It must be used, cuz bottom-of-the-line laptops new go for about $800.

And we should care why? (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154549)

Sorry, but some things should fade into antiquity, and cursive writing is one of them. Someone please explain why kids not knowing how to write cursive is a Bad Thing(tm).

I hate writing with pen and paper... (3, Interesting)

Binestar (28861) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154550)

It takes much longer than typing (I can type 70WPM, but I bet I can't write in cursive at even 15-20 WPM.) For me it's about what is more efficient. With typing I can at least know that if I hand someone a typed note they will understand it, while if I hand them a hasitly written postit I have to sit there and make sure they can understand what I wrote.

(My handwriting was terrible even before I started working on computers...)

I can't write in cursive.. (1)

rkz (667993) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154552)

I think I a victim of this, not that I care. I hope children in the next few generations wont even need to write anything on paper. Saving millions of trees a year.

I think this is great. Come on, writing is sooo 10th Century!

Is this not a good thing? (2, Interesting)

SPaReK (320677) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154553)

For communication purposes isn't it better if everyone can read and understand what you are saying. If a typed letter does that, then all the better.

But as far as actually writing your own notes, one should still be able to write on paper and be able to understand their own handwriting. I don't see the art of physically writing going away anytime soon.

Times change (5, Funny)

esampson (223745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154554)

And in related news, experts at the United States Center for Equestrian Activities have grown increasingly concerned that the automobile will cause a sharp reduction in the horse riding skills of the average American.

I've already forgotten it.. (2, Interesting)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154557)

There doesn't really seem to be a practical use for cursive. I learned it in elementary school, and can still read it, but remembering how some of the capital letters are written is beyond me.

It seems more difficult to read handwritten papers that are written with cursive. I guess I never really saw a speed advantage in cursive, and add the fact that I can type much faster on the keyboard than I can write by hand, this hardly seems like a surprise.

I can't really say I feel my education would have been compromised if cursive had been left out.

Cursing at cursive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154559)

I wasn't able to write cursive BEFORE personal computers...and it hasn't gotten better with age!

Slashdot has a lot to answer for ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154560)

I mean they restrict people to using keyboards.
As a result, the ascii art just doesn't compare to something written on my newton.

Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Zebbers (134389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154567)

Ive never ever used cursive. EVER. Papers are typed, or if handwritten they are printed. Letters? Typed. Cursive is useless. Am I clueless, or what exactly is the use?

Evolve or die. Im sorry your penmanship organization is now going to be useless. Continue to teach the kids to print, that won't be going away all too soon.

In fact, one of the next revolutions in comp use is handwriting recognition.

Anyways, my point is. Cursive is useless. I know no one who actually uses it, in a professional common manner. NOT writing letters, notes. Something that REQUIRES it. Or is BETTERED by it.

Re:Who cares? (1)

objekt404 (473463) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154718)

Ditto. Anytime I actually wrote cursive, I was told to print it b/c of my almost-completly illegible handwriting (mind before writing & all that!)

IMHO, cursive is one of the few things that *hasn't* been cut in American education that we could stand to lose (wanna know calligraphy, Barnes & Nobles has a whole freakin' section kid!) It (calligraphy) needs to be put off like latin, interesting & semi-useful but not-so-much for normal people (dump it for, oh I dunno, typing classes!)

Problems will last for only a few years... (1)

Anonymous Rockstar (624854) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154569)

if tablet pc's come more into the picture they may write even better. I know I'm learning how to write better everyday. My skills were slightly lacking having typed all day long, but I have become better at writing again using my tablet pc.

GOOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154572)

Cursive is outdated anyway. The real bonus with it is the ability to write clearly, quickly... but typing is faster and more legible (and the output is almost universally more useful than paper). Let it die, I won't mounn it at all.

My handwriting, as it happens to be, really consists of printing-without-lifting-the-pencil anyway. Nobody shapes their cursive letters the same as anyone else anyway. Let it die!

So what? (4, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154574)

Cursive is:
a) hard to learn,
b) hard to use, and
c) (usually) hard to read.

It looks nice, sure, but how many people do you see out bemoaning the loss of caligraphy? (Which looks a lot better than cursive IMO)

It's good for signatures and the occasional fancy invitation and such but that's about it.

Won't Be Able to Write Cursive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154575)

I can't write cursive as it is, and that has nothing to do with typing. There's simply no point in it! It was a big scam when they taught it to us to begin with... aside from signing my name, I never need the thing.

Long live print! Long live typing!

I always hated... (1)

Ron Harwood (136613) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154576)

...writing in cursive, and still do.

Printing - no problem... fast and even readable by others.

Mind you, for my age group - I was an early adopter of the keyboard... and could type 120 wpm in high-school...

Progress pains. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154578)

"Keyboards, joysticks and cell-phone touch pads have ruined kids' ability to hold a pencil properly, let alone write legibly, says the former president of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting.""

And the telephone has ruined people's ability to write a letter, and mail it.

Oh man (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154579)

I just viewed Cum Drippers 3 and I'm not sure my dick will recuperate.

It was never encouraged (2, Insightful)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154582)

Well, throughout school (grade 1 to graduation) cursive was always discouraged. Frankly, it just looks like sloppy print, even when people with remarkable hand writing put the pen to paper. Your average person can barely draw a stick figure, and caligraphy is completely foreign. How well do you think their cursive hand writing will be?

So fancy hand writing is a lost art, big deal. All you need is print anyways. Leave cursive up to the artsy folks and hand writing hobbyists. *Handwriting is dying.

In related news (4, Funny)

prockcore (543967) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154585)

Studies have found that kids today can't even point to a sliderule in a room, let alone use one.

Cursive isn't important, and if it died, we would be none the poorer for it.

This may be true..... (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154586)

....unless we buy all our kids PDA's!

With Graffitti and Graffitti (sp?)II we can restore the handwriting prowess of our nations's youth today!

teach them to use chop-sticks as a suplement... (3, Interesting)

AtaruMoroboshi (522293) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154589)

to avoid the "not even able to hold a pencil", incorporate chopstick usage into the kid's diet.

If you're unfamiliar with chopsticks, one of the two sticks is held essentially the same as a pencil. Getting decent with chopsticks uses some of the same dexerity skills, and if kid's aren't writing much on paper, at least it'll keep them from being completely atrophied in this regard.

just a thought...


Don't schools still have handwriting classes? (2, Interesting)

shayborg (650364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154591)

Last I checked, almost every elementary school, at least in the US, requires handwriting classes, and every school all the way up to university requires at least some handwritten homework or exams. It's not hard to learn cursive, and even harder to forget it.

That said, cursive looks nice and all, but it's a lot more difficult to read it than it is to read plain print. I still remember my cursive (for thank you notes and letters to grandparents, etc.) but when writing anything by hand I just use print -- and of course it's not as if I never need to write anything. A sticky note on my alarm clock is much more useful than a sticky note on my computer desktop. Either way, I don't think there's going to be a mass exodus away from use of the pencil anytime soon.

-- shayborg

Nothing Wrong... (2, Informative)

SavSoul (669561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154592)

There's nothing wrong with losing the ability to write in cursive. It is difficult to read and the only reasons later in life to use it is for taking notes, writing checks, and signing your name. I have to think for a minute when writing checks but I don't consider this a bad thing.

speak (1)

supe (163410) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154593)

I can handle the none cursive thing, Maybe IM and
text messaging will keep them from talking!

Seriously, I've wondered about this (1)

SilentReproach (91511) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154599)

I've noticed my high-school kids have no cursive skills to speak of. Furthermore, they don't really see any importance to it. I have been unsure whether to encourage them to develop the skill, in case they need it one day (I can imagine the office getting a good laugh out of their handwritten memos), or not (perhaps it will become a lost art for good reason).

Did people panic when riding horseback became a generally lost art?

I stopped long ago myself. (2, Interesting)

Alex Thorpe (575736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154600)

I'm 32 now, but I was required to turn in all assignments in the 4th grade in cursive. As soon as 4th grade was over, I stopped, as it took me 3-4 times longer to write in cursive than in plain text. My signature is all that remains, and I'd have to think long and hard about how to write in script using letters that aren't in my name.

It was two more years before we got the TI 99/4A at home, so they can't blame the computer for me.

Who Cares?!? (1)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154601)

Is it that big of a deal if a child cannot write in cursive?

absurd (4, Funny)

potaz (211754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154603)

People will always need to jot things down in the forseeable future. What's easier, writing on a napkin or booting up your laptop? (or pulling your Newton 2010 out of your future-pocket?)

Besides, handwriting survived the introduction of the typewriter...

What concerns me is not that typing is becoming more popular, but that kids are learning to write on the Internet, to the point where kids hand in assignments with 'internet shorthand' in them, LOL. Wait, not LOL. WTF.

Re:absurd (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154689)

sure, we will need to jot things down, does that mean that I have to write it in cursive? I haven't used cursive since the teachers stopped requiring it in 4th or 5th grade.

When I take notes it's in my cross of scribbling and printing. It works for ME. It's not something that anyone else can really decipher.

Re:absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154711)

(or pulling your Newton 2010 out of your future-pocket?)

So what you're saying is, pockets will be giant enough in the future to accommodate a device as large as a VHS tape and twice as heavy.

Is that reference too dated? Try "...a device as large as two DVD cases and eight times as heavy."

old news (1)

mihalis (28146) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154608)

I'm 34 and have been using keyboards since approximately 1983. Since leaving secondary education my hand muscles have been easily tired by writing with a pen. A 2000 word essay during my Engineering degree was torture, not because of the composition, but because of the manual effort of using a pen. Meanwhile many times that many words in FORTRAN were comfortably produced and submitted electronically for my final-year project, in 1989.

I've been telling people my handwriting is bad because it hurts to use a pen, since I'm used to typing, for more than 15 years.

This is OLD news.

Who uses cursive nowadays? (2, Insightful)

el_gordo101 (643167) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154610)

The only thing you need cursive for is to sign your paycheck.

Next Generation Power Outage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154613)

In the future when the power goes off, written history will go with it.

So? (3, Interesting)

yamla (136560) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154614)

Okay, so kids are soon not going to be able to write cursive. So what? Very few kids these days know how to use a calligraphy pen properly, yet these were mandatory while I was in grade school (1978 on, in England). And you know what, I don't care. While I can still write using my calligraphy pen (and that means using it properly, writing in a typeface suited to it), I don't. It is, for me, a dead art. There's no call for it, not for me in my day-to-day life. Same, I suspect, with cursive writing.

So yeah, maybe it will die out. But the question really is should we care?

That's not the only problem (-1, Troll)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154615)

I think it's time to seriously encourage mandatory restrictions on the recreational use of computers and video games. Today's generation is growing up without the benefit of reading or writing and is instead sating themselves with violent sugar-coated media such as Grand Theft Auto, Doom, and Jackass.

The ability to hold a pencil isn't the only casuality; Johnny can barely hold a thought nowadays. It's not about ADD or sugar -- it's about never having to sit down and think. That's why bans on violent video games, while proposed for stupid reasons, may actually have an unintended beneficial effect. Now if we could only clean up the TV to the point that Johnny will sit down and become literate if for no other reason than to relieve the boredom.

Odd attitude (5, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154619)

From the article:

"The truth is, boys and girls, even if you write a lot of e-mail on the computer, you will always need to write things down on paper at some point in your life," Boell says. "The letters you write to people are beautiful, and they'll cherish them forever. Have any of you ever received an e-mail that you cherished?"

I find this attitude strange. I have years of old e-mails saved. I cherish many of them, and rereading them brings back memories. I have the first e-mails I got from my girlfriend (going to be my wife soon) and they're saved in my USB keychain. (We met online, too!)

I know that's hokey, sentimental stuff, but it's true. You can have an emotional attachment to an e-mail. In the end, it's not the media, but (to coin a cliche) it's the thought that counts.

But the real question... (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154620)

Yeah yeah yeah, cursive is dying, kids can't print.
I'm still looking for the Ask Slashdot "How old should my child be before I teach her Grafitti(tm)?"


Why do we need handwriting? (3, Interesting)

Riachu_11 (600557) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154621)

If writing is actually not being used enough so that kids can't write, why do we need it? And cursive in the first place isn't that great of an idea. Go read someone else's printed writing. Now go try to read their cursive. Hard, isn't it? It seems to me that if cursive is needed, it will still be learned, and if it isn't needed, you'll just forget it anyway. I actually don't use cursive anymore except for my signature. I don't need it, and nobody else can read it anyway.

Within a few decades... (1)

FreshMeat-BWG (541411) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154623)

I definintely think that before cursive "disappears", alternate input methods such as voice, touch screen, gestures, and handwriting recognition will offset enough typing that this won't be as much of an issue.

The same predicitions could have probably been made when telephones phones became ubiquitous and letter writing was being offset by phone calls.

Cursive...? (0)

HexRei (515117) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154626)

You know, this is probably the first time I've really even thought much about cursive since graduating highschool, admittedly only 6 years ago.
But it's amazing how little use there is for it in the real world. I sit down and try to find a reason to use it, and it seems to be just tradition and nothing more. A relic handed down simply because those who came before us liked it.
I would ask, why is the demise of cursive even really a negative thing?

cursive sucks (1)

dj_virto (625292) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154627)

Cursive is hard to read anyway. Why should we have more than one form of written language?

I guess I represent the category this story mentions. I am 27, grew up using QWERTY more than any pen, and never learned cursive in school. I also did not learn times tables since I had a calculator by thw way. Additionally, I can't walk very far without getting tired because of cars.

Could erase cursive? (4, Informative)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154632)

And this is a bad thing why?

I started using a computer about mid high school. The same semester I took a six week typing class. I have been using the keyboard about 70 WPM ever since.

I typed everything for school that used to require handwriting. When I got into college, I did the same, but I used a computer unlike most students who used a typewriter.

Now here we are in the 21st century and I can't handwrite worth a crap. I use a Palm OS device with graffiti regularly with decent accuracy. I can sign my name. I can block-print reasonably fast.

But I haven't been able to write cursive since, say, about 1980. Do you know how much impact this has had on my life?

About zip.

We used to require people to know how to take square roots by hand, do long division, or use a slide rule. We don't require these skills anymore? Pocket calculators are everywhere, ubiqutious and disposable. (Not that I don't think it is important to get the basic concepts in grade school.) My point is that what once might have been an important skill may not be in the future.

WPM (4, Funny)

Superfreaker (581067) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154634)

"it's not uncommon for kids to type 20-30 WPM by the time they leave elementary school"

Bah, I can type way faster than that. At least 40 WPM.

Kids are slow. They're probably dumb too.

Shorthand (2, Informative)

bobKali (240342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154637)

Yea, and I'll bet most kids today can read or write shorthand either.

I remember going to a special remedial handwriting class when I was in elementary school. My teacher finally gave up and taught me how to type.

When I was in elementary school... (2, Interesting)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154641)

Particularly in 6th grade, cursive was heralded as "the Script of God" (I'm paraphrashing). All assignments in sixth grade had to be turned in in cursive to "prepare" us for junior high and high school, where, supposedly, teachers' expectations were similar. Wa-bam, we hit junior high, and I haven't used cursive since. Incidentally, I now take the very laptop I'm writing this on to school as a faster, neater method of taking notes. (high school, not college)

I can understand this... (2, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154642)

I went to a private school for the first few years of my education, where (even in the early 80's) they had a room full of computers on which we learned typing and programming.

When I entered the public school ranks at grade 3, I was already behind in handwriting, and was never able to catch up. I can type at a sustained 90+WPM now with no errors, while I can only write by hand at something around 15-20 WPM - much slower than I can think. Additionally, since I pretty much had to teach myself to use a pencil, I apparently use it in a bad way and get painful hand cramps after an hour of writing.

As more and more kids are learning to type and word process earlier (and as more schools insist on typed reports and/or have computers in the classroom) it seems quite apparent that handwriting skills will decline.

So, what's the problem with this? I can still write well enough to take notes for my own purposes, and if I'm writing something for someone else, I'm going to type it up (and email it, or even just write up a memo). I don't necessarily see the decline of handwriting as a horrible tragedy, simply a shift to new methods - consider, calligraphy died out years ago (except among artists) and no one shed a tear.


And this is a bad thing? (3, Insightful)

The Panther! (448321) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154643)

I'm not surprised. Cursive writing was for people in a hurry. Now we have a better method. And now the so-called Master Penmen are upset that their little hobby will be archived next to the hurricane oil lamp and the carrier pidgeon. I bet the society of telegraph engineers were very upset about the telephone as well, but there's still a few out there using it.

Possible benefits... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154644)

Its not that handwriting is becoming sloppy, its just that more people are employing complex encrytion algorithms when writing. Doctor and professors have been doing this for years.

You're worried about DRM? It's already here...

Just never the same since Quill pens were replaced (2, Funny)

jdb8167 (204116) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154645)

Handwriting just hasn't been the same since Quill pens were replaced. Nobody knows how to trim a quill pen anymore.

A great loss.

just wait until college (1)

heff (24452) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154648)

just wait until college and they get in a class with a professor who teaches at 5,000 words per minute.. they'll learn how to write.. i know I did.. and quickly!

Don't worry (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154649)

In one hundred years when computers are starting to be increasingly controlled by brains waves, some guy in an obscure area of study will lament that people can't properly pronounce words. Such is progress.

Oh No! (1)

nanobug (446693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154650)

So what? I don't know how to use a buggy whip either. Who cares?

(The answer is of course people who are stuck in the past. Nobody is stopping them from continuing to use pencils, so I'm not sure why they are complaining.)

And since when is handwriting 'a uniquely American form of expression"?

You can always send your emails using a cursive script, if you want it to look pretty.

When could we ever write legibly? (4, Insightful)

Theovon (109752) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154664)

I'm 29, and I graduated from highschool in 1991. I was taught forcibly to write cursive, because computers were not yet so pervasive as they are now.

I could never write legibly.

Frankly, I think people are just grasping for excuses. Now, we have people using computers as the reason for illegible writing. What was it before computers were so common? Laziness? Lack of talent? Why aren't those still the reasons?

This is a surprise? (1)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154666)

I observe that the more I type, the poorer my writing gets.

I am not sure why this is such a horrible thing. Sure, we need to write things down all the time, but I typically just 'print' my notes. Even without computers, most people's handwriting is so different that it's just easier to use the less stylized printing.

I am afraid that this is just a case of 'things ain't the way they used to be' syndrome. Virtually all the old uses of cursive are gone, other than putting down your signature.

Through all of college, I never once had a professor who would even take typewritten, much less handwritten assignments. All 'official' forms (taxes, DMV, job applications, etc.) are printed anyway. Other than aesthetics, I cannot think of why it is a bad thing to lose this style...

Further Starteling... (1)

mfos.org (471768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154667)

This also impacts children's ability to inscribe clay and wax tablets, use quills and ink, make wood cuttings, a set movable type.

Woohoo! (1)

sonofagunn (659927) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154669)

A few decades isn't soon enough. Cursive should be relegated to the history books along with Old English.

Is this really all that bad? (1)

ckessel (607295) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154670)

Ok, we need to know how to write, but I just don't think writing neatly is as critical a skill as it once was. I suspect hand writing is going to pretty much dissapear eventually. Between text messaging, IM, etc, there just isn't much need. Not many people write actual letters anymore, it's all email. Prescriptions are slowly being written on computer. Most every school requires papers to be types or even laser printed. And this list goes on. When was the last time you wrote more than a paragraph by hand?

How the world passes us by. (1)

Some Bitch (645438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154671)

I'm 29 and the idea of a school leaver not being able to write at a level beyond printing is quite worrying. In my day (oh God I feel old now) if our handwriting was not up to scratch (pun not intended) we were given extra lessons to improve it (hence my rather nice italic script as opposed to my one-time scrawl).

No doubt extra lessons to teach handwriting would be seen as an abuse of Human Rights or something nowadays :(

Read this one Bart (1)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154673)

Quentin and Tammy went to the zoo on Sunday.

I'm a perfect example. (1)

VudooCrush (220143) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154677)

I got hardcore into computers when I was in 6th grade. I couldn't write the whole cursive alphabet if my life depended on it. But to tell you the truth, I really don't see a problem with it. Cursive is hard to read, especially when a person changes it to fit their "personality". All forms require you to write in "Print" form. And if your writing something professional it might as well be printed off of the computer. The only place I see cursive losing is in personal letters back and forth.. But that's exactly what the point of email is, to rid ourselves of paying for stamps and having slow communication. This is not a bad thing!

That's easy (1)

TCM (130219) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154679)

Just prepend a proper tag. :)

Re:That's easy (1)

TCM (130219) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154726)

Didn't think of slashdot eating it. I meant <font> tag, duh.

Who cares? (1)

jcronen (325664) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154683)

Cursive is just another way of putting ideas down on paper.

It's cultural evolution -- cursive is obviously inferior for our current needs (ever try OCR'ing cursive?), and is losing its relevance.

It was originally designed as a faster form of writing by hand. We now have a faster form of writing by hand -- typing. As time goes on, just about everyone who does any form of communication will type more and write less, and the average length of hand-written messages and letters will decrease.

And for many languages (in particular those using a non-Western character set), there's no such thing as cursive anyway. Therefore, cursive can't be that important to a well-educated and literate society.

For everyday life, teaching third graders Palm Graffiti would probably be more useful than cursive.

Ehem.. (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154684)

"Computers are better," the 9-year-old says, blonde pony tail bobbing behind her. "With typing, you don't have to erase when you make a mistake. You just hit delete, so it's a lot easier."
Such attitudes are worrying to a growing number of parents, educators and historians, who fear that computers are speeding the demise of a uniquely American form of expression. Handwriting experts fear that the wild popularity of e-mail, instant messages and other electronic communication, particularly among kids, could erase cursive within a few decades.

Yes, because we all know erasing misspellings is unique to Americans. Most people I know are too lazy to erase and end up crossing errors out, including me. Must not be one of the unique

Umm (5, Funny)

shirameroix (595121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154685)

"International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting"

Wow... there is such an organization? Oh man, I thought that I was a dork...

What Cursive? (5, Interesting)

man_ls (248470) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154687)

The last time I used cursive was taking the SATs. I had to copy the honor pledge in cursive and sign it.

I ended up just printing it and going back and connecting the letters randomly because it was so much faster and looked plausable enough anyways -- better than taking the time to try and write proper cursive.

Even my signature is *barely* cursive...only about half of the letters are real "cursive" letters, and maybe 2-3 of the connections are done properly. And I don't even have a very long name...it's 8 letters total in my signature, first AND last names.

This does but doesn't apply (1)

headbulb (534102) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154694)

Elementry schools don't need computers in every classroom, they can have a shared computer lab. Your supposed to learn the basic's, such as reading, writing, how to do math with your head. Then when you get into junoir high and highschool you can do more with computers. Besides that, Computers are going change so much that by the time a elementry student gets into junoirhigh and highschool the computers are going to change so much that what computer knowlegde they gained in elementry isn't going to be much of a use. yah yah don't worry kid's can keep up with computers. This may of sound like a rant or over dramatic. But it does provide a point.

I am not shocked or disturbed. (3, Insightful)

foolip (588195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154699)

Disclaimer: No, I didn't read the article, I'm just ranting.

I can't say I'm surprised such observations can be made. Nor am I upset about it. People will gain the skills they require, and if being able to write by hand legibly isn't a must we simply won't be very good at it. I expect that making words stick will be done by other methods than pencil and paper in the future, and the ability to write will be no more a requirement than it is for us to manouver a horse today.

Perhaps in a few decades writing by hand will be more of an art-form than something everyone needs to do.

D'Nealian rules, dude. (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154710)

At my Montessori gradeschool, we learned "D'Nealian" style handwriting. It's printing with most of the benefits of cursive. If you write it faster, it becomes cursive, more or less.

We never learned any other way. That means that even though I handwrite almost nothing, when I do pick up a pen and paper, it's legible and fast.

This dude is just upset that no one wants to join his stupid club.

Only 20-30? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154713)

Being in elementary school and typing at 20-30 WPM is somewhat sad! I'm in 7th grade and type somewhere around 100, more if I know exactly what I want to type.
But I can't type this fast because of those stupid slashdot time minimums :(
Well, thats troll protection for ya....

Change (1)

Jedi1USA (145452) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154714)

Hystory is littered with changes in communication methods and styles. Perhaps it is time.

I never learned to write in cursive, and didn't have a computer to distract me until after leaving High school. I wouldn't blame drops in handwriting trends entirely on computers. Crappy education systems are probably equally responsable.

Of course, I can't type worth a damn either, so I am screwed ;^)

I can tell you, my handwriting went downhill... (1)

VitrosChemistryAnaly (616952) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154715)

When I was a child, my handwriting was always horrible.

When I learned cursive, my examples were never chosen as good examples (you can imagine what that did to my self-esteem).

After I started using a computer on a regular basis (13 years old or so), my handwriting turned into half cursive, have printed chicken scratches.

Now I don't like writing anything. It feels too foreign to write a note by hand instead of doing it with a keyboard.

This idea that good handwriting would be threatened in the future occurred to me years ago, mostly because I'm a prime example of this phenomenon.

GOOD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6154716)

Cursive sucks :p

I'm with little Johnny (1)

cmallinson (538852) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154717)

Co-workers are often surprised when they come to my desk, and ask to use a pen, only to find out that I don't have one ... anywhere. Pen and ink certainly have their place (diagrams, drawings, charts, maps, brainstorming) but I can do everything I ned to do at work without resorting to handwriting. I took a note pad to a coffee shop to jot down some notes a while back, and my hand got sore after a few pages. I'm just not used to it anymore.

It's True (1)

sp00 (639381) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154720)

I'm a computer tech at an elementary school. They start the kids learning computers and typing in kindergarten (once a week). I've seen some of the 3rd graders that can easily type 40-50 wpm. So it's no surpirse that cursive could be erased with the kids so used to technology. I'm not sure how much writing they do in the classrooms, but most kids have typing twice per week starting in first grade. Personally I only use cursive for signing things, other than that I only print.

So... (1)

ouchmyliver (667092) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154727)

Man, I haven't even tried to write in cursive since middle school! In high-school and college I were obligated to turn in papers either printed or on disk. I graduated from just in 93 just before the interent craze but kids now are turning in papers via email. So I guess me question is: So what?!!

Important things kept, useless thrown away (1)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154728)

I read this article (yeah, yeah, I know we're not supposed to actually read the articles here on slashdot before commenting) to see what possible reasons people were coming up with for why abadoning cursive was a tragedy. None of them really struck me as important. Sure, the ability to write things with pen/pencil and paper is important but I always use printing for that. I never write myself notes in cursive. The article goes on to say that cursive is important for beautiful handwritten letters. Bullshit. For me, reading cursive actually takes me longer than reading printed text even handwritten printed text so I prefer to receive letters and memos printed rather than in script. And if I want to hand write a letter, I always use print. If I want something beautiful, I'll use a word processor. And if it needs to be fancy, I'll use a script typeface!

As my subject line says, the important things in life will be kept and those that are useless will be discarded. It's the natural order of things. We're expecting our kids to learn more and more. I certainly wasn't required to learn computer skill stuff in third grade (don't get me started on computers in the classroom -- suffice to say that I'm not a fan). It's only natural that something is going to have to get dropped to make room for all this new stuff. Until I hear a very strong case for why abondoning cursive will have a profoundly negative effect on society, I'm not going to shed any tears over this.


Why? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154730)

How would keyboard usage cause somebody to have bad penmanship? All I could see is that we don't handwrite as much as we used to - that doesn't mean that keyboards RUIN our penmanship - it just means that we don't fully develop our handwriting skills.

Even so, in High School, most of my work is still handwritten. Sure, formal papers are typed, but that just makes the job of the student (and teacher) much easier.

As for cursive, I don't really see the importance of it. I was taught it in elementary and early middle school. After that, I was required to submit work in cursive for a while, then told to revert back to print - easier for teachers to read. If they're going to force it upon us, they may as well have been persistent.

Now, I can write however I want, but being that I have awful dexterity and coordination (on top of being left-handed), I choose to write in print.

Really, why is cursive all that important? Sure, it demonstrates refinement, etc, but it's been on the decline LONG before the internet became popular.

The article is simply drivel coming from narrow-minded teachers and over-concerned parents who fear change. Personally, I fear those who fear change.

Cursive, you know, script (3, Informative)

Nick of NSTime (597712) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154732)

I write in all block caps, military-style. It comes from growing up as an Army brat and then enduring a brief engineering education.

I've found that in this "globalized" economy, clearly written English is extremely important to communicate with English-as-n > 1-language speakers. The block style eliminates confusion between letters; the letters are the same as those on a typewriter.

Suffice it to say that I think cursive is pretty useless.

Cursive isn't necessary in the "real world" (1)

GroundWire (671102) | more than 11 years ago | (#6154734)

When is the last time you were filling out an official document, and actually HAD to write something in cursive?

And I don't mean your signature either, which is bastardized cursive, yes, but it doesn't have to be.

IRS Tax Forms, Master Business Applications, Job applications.. They all say "Please print legibly"

I can't even remember how to write in cursive.. Hell, I can't write my name is cursive in a "nice way", I just know how I sign my signature.

My two cents..

- Joel

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