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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I remember learning and practicing my penmanship in school like it was yesterday. In fact, those ruled lines were the inspiration for the lines on OBG®'s Brainy Brown Girl empowerment tee.  So you can probably imagine how surprised I was when when I heard a discussion on a talk radio show regarding the buzz about whether or not penmanship and/or cursive handwriting should continue to be taught in schools.  Really?  In fact, the word is that some schools don't even teach it at all anymore!  According to the Huffington Post, ABC News reports that 41 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards for English, which omits cursive handwriting from required curriculum.  Why is it bothering me so much to hear this?

A section of the Papyrus of Ani
showing cursive hieroglyphs.
Courtesy of Wiki.
As a self-proclaimed Culturalista, I can't help but think about what it might mean from a cultural perspective for this generation of kids not to learn penmanship - not to mention the studies that indicate handwriting makes kids smarter.  Will my generation of handwriters ultimately become as extinct as the writers of Egyptian hierogylphics a gazillion years ago?  Does our overuse of technology (*guilty*) make handwritten letters and notes a lost art?  Hmmm.

Example of semi-cursive style
Chinese calligraphy
And if you thought that the issue of losing our handwriting skills is just an American thing, you are mistaken.  In China, where handwriting is considered an art, the term "Tibiwangzi" is the word that was adopted to describe forgetting how to write using Chinese characters and is also referred to as character amnesia.  Literally, Tibiwangzi means "take pen, forget character."  Evidently and not surprisingly, "[the] lack of handwriting is seen as a detriment to Chinese culture by many (over 71% believed that this shift will weaken the identity of the Chinese people and civilization)."  [Source]

I admit that I use my laptop, my iPad, and my Blackberry to communicate.  But I always hand write thank you notes and I take notes by hand when I'm learning.  For me, writing something down plants the information neatly in my brain for later use.  I don't think I will ever stop writing.

There was discussion about this issue on my Facebook page, and I have posted the Facebook comments in the comments section of this post, but I'm curious:  Will anthropologists have trouble deciphering my teenage love letters and the notes of adoration I used to receive from my beloved grandmother?  Will we ultimately need a new Rosetta Stone to interpret today's cursive handwriting?  #canyouimagine?


Unknown on: April 13, 2011 at 4:31 PM said...

Is it true that cursive writing isn't taught in school anymore? If so, how do you sign your name or read other people's handwriting? That's wild.

April 5 at 11:52am via BlackBerry ·LikeUnlike · .
Sandy Cirillo Barnes, Sonya SistasMovin Hawkins and Tangelia Plazz like this..
Tracey Friley In China, students use computers and the fear is that the style of Chinese writing will be forever lost.
April 5 at 11:56am · LikeUnlike.Roni White My children, ages 7 and 9, are both currently being taught in school how to write in cursive.
April 5 at 12:11pm · LikeUnlike.Tracey Friley That's good to know, Roni. Evidently, it's being phased out in some schools.
April 5 at 12:24pm · LikeUnlike.Sherbeam Wright I volunteer as a writing coach for 9th graders and was told not to write notes in cursive because they wouldn't be able to read it.
April 5 at 12:25pm · LikeUnlike.Tracey Friley Wow, Sherbeam. I guess it's slowing fading away. What a shame.
April 5 at 12:29pm · LikeUnlike.Tracey Friley See
April 5 at 12:36pm · LikeUnlike.Myrah Falco Duque OMG! Talk to me about this! My daughter has the WORST handwriting ever thanks to today's school! They do not offer penmenship! All kids do nowadays is TEXT!!!
April 5 at 12:36pm · UnlikeLike · 1 personLoading....Tracey Friley That's really crazy, Myrah. I guess people will start signing their name with an X.
April 5 at 12:37pm · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading....Tangelia Plazz My niece has been writing in cursive since she was 6. It was actually her choice to learn. Since then her classmates thought it was cool and wanted to learn, well my Sister in law volunteers in the class and decided to teach those who.wan...ted to learn, well a couple of the parents complained saying that the kids were being pushed too hard/fast. So she stopped even though it was the kids who were interested in learning.See More
April 5 at 12:41pm · LikeUnlike.Tracey Friley Pushed too hard to learn penmanship?!?!? Wow. Although I'm sure they don't mean it, some parents get in the way of their children's growth.
April 5 at 12:42pm · LikeUnlike.Tracey Friley And if cursive writing is going to be obsolete, it'll be unique to know how to do it. I like unique.
April 5 at 12:43pm · LikeUnlike.Hillary Brown Funny you brought this up. I brought out the cursive handwriting workbooks today in class. My 3rd graders LOVE learning how to write in cursive! And they are silent while they practice! Best part of their day! Haha!
April 5 at 1:02pm · LikeUnlike.Tracey Friley LOL Hilary! Is there any threat that teaching cursive will become obsolete where you teach?
April 5 at 1:04pm · LikeUnlike.Hillary Brown I think so. Its not mandatory. Teaching Reading & English are the 1st priority. But on the same hand, the city provides the workbooks. (They're the same workbooks I learned cursive writing in 20 years ago!! Hahaha)
April 5 at 1:12pm · LikeUnlike.Hillary Brown Oops, meant Reading & Math
April 5 at 1:12pm · LikeUnlike.Shaunta Booth electronic signatures now, lol
April 5 at 1:13pm · LikeUnlike.Tracey Friley Shaunta: Sometimes, yes. But what about original paper documents? Technology is changing so many things.
April 5 at 1:16pm · LikeUnlike.Shaunta Booth it's evoling into just that.
April 5 at 1:19pm · UnlikeLike · 1 personLoading....Nitza Harris Wow my 6 year old wants to learn I guess I'll start w/him before he realizes its not mandatory and loses interest.
April 5 at 5:30pm · UnlikeLike · 1 personLoading....Shautel Walker I plan on teaching my younger kids, b/c I always write in cursive, it was how I was taught so it's what i do..and if you want a note from me, you best be knowing how to read it..LOL
April 7 at 4:58pm · UnlikeLike · 1 personYou like this.


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