Thursday, September 24, 2009

Teach Handwriting or Technology or Both?

I have been a bit stunned by the repeated conversations and articles I've seen over the past year or so concerning student handwriting, or penmanship. I've read articles where teachers and parents are lamenting the fact that their students cannot write using cursive handwriting. I know from experience in proctoring the SAT's every year that I need provide the cursive alphabet on the board so that students can figure out how to write their required "oath" in cursive.

To me, though, this is a minor inconvenience. I don't really get the point of spending too much time honing children's ability to write in a way that can be pretty cumbersome and frustrating, especially given the fact that they may never need to write for an employer or professor using cursive penmanship. I would much rather spend time teaching students how to navigate the internet and use applications on their laptops. I feel like these are the skills that my students need for their future employment and learning.

Click here for the article that inspired this rant. I found some of the support for teaching penmanship pretty weak, including the perennial: What if you were stranded on a deserted island without electricity? Seriously, folks! Just because students' cursive penmanship is not stellar does not mean that they will not be able to take a stick and carve the word HELP! into a sandy beach!

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