I wrote this article for Associated Content many years ago. It then became Yahoo Voices and is now gone. I wanted to share it on my blog since it is no longer in publication because it is something I am extremely passionate about.
Currently many schools have opted to drop cursive or long handwriting from their curriculum. Many educators believe that cursive is no longer useful because it is too time consuming. Students now use keyboards and cursive is not required by government standards. Cursive should not be removed from education. It provides many positive attributes to education and learning.
Some educators believe that cursive should no longer be taught because people use keyboards in the global world today. They believe that students no longer need to know how to write in cursive because they can type their assignments at a faster pace than if they write them out.
The standardized tests that schools use to meet the No Child Left Behind Act does not include cursive so, to meet state and national standards many schools just drop cursive. Schools see no need in teaching something that will not be tested by the standardized assessments.
It is sad to see that everything has come down to whether or not it is meeting the government standards of testing. Cursive is important and kids need to learn it. Cursive is an art form that also helps children with their fine motor and creative thinking skills.
Scientists even agree that cursive is an important skill that people should learn. They believe it plays a role in the visual recognition of letters. They believe that keyboarding is an important skill to learn in the global world, however it is just as important to learn to write in cursive because studies have shown that people learn information better when they write it out by hand than by using a keyboard. Information is retained better when taking notes by hand instead of typing on a keyboard. Cursive is a faster way to write so it is a more efficient way to take hand written notes.
Studies have been done to prove that people learn new information better if they write it out verses reading in on a screen and using a key board. A group of young adults in one study were taught a new foreign alphabet. One group learned to recognize the characters by viewing them on a screen and using a keyboard. The other group learned by writing them out using cursive. The result was that the group that learned the letters by using the keyboard did not score as well as those who learned them by writing them out.
Brain studies were also done on the participants, which showed that the part of the brain that is responsible for language comprehension, speech association, and motor skills was more active in those who learned by hand. This study showed that children learn better if they write out the information that they are receiving.
Another downfall to dropping cursive is that kids will no longer have access to many historical documents because they are written in cursive and the kids cannot read or write in cursive.
It is not as simple as just dropping something and moving on to a computerized society. People still need to possess manual skills. It is possible that computers someday fail. If this happens, there will be a society of lost citizens who cannot function because they do not have a screen and keyboard. It is just as important to learn cursive as it is to learn how to do math manually.
Cursive is an important part of history and an important skill for all kids to learn. It is not just a form of art, it is an essential tool in critical thinking skills and deeper thought. It is a tool to help people's brains fire in certain areas that will no longer fire if they are not stimulated. Cursive should remain in schools for all of its positive attributes.