Question for the Vorgians

Should kids be taught cursive or typing (both? neither?) in elementary school?

Posted by vinny9 on February 12, 2009 with category tags of

9 comments
Cursive: yes
Typing: bof. They should have computer classes, but I don't think they need to be taught touch typing.
   comment by Bryan (#22) on February 12, 2009

I would be up for teaching both.
I was taught cursive, never used it, but now I wish I did.
I was taught typing, but only really learned it when ICQ came along (but have many colleagues who still can't touch type). I remember my teacher telling us we would be the last generation to type because voice recognition was just around the corner.
Who knows, maybe we should be teaching kids how to use T9 as well.
   comment by Stretch on February 12, 2009

Cursive is cute and all, but about as essential to modern day life as knowing how to tan leather. My handwriting is atrocious, I print, and even then it's all-caps. This would have been a big disadvantage 50 years ago, but it's affected my life in almost no way. Other than the artificial environment of school, our children will never need to submit a hand written report, or essay. Provided kids can write clearly enough to leave a post-it note for someone else, and can read their own chicken scratchings, they should be fine.

Today not being able to type is a much bigger disadvantage. I'm not sure that will be true for their lifetimes, what with carpal tunnel and all, but at least for most of their teens and maybe 20s keyboards will be a big part of our lives. Just thinking about the number of hours a modern kid who can't touch type will waste hen-pecking at the keyboard scares me.

I'd like to leave calligraphy to art classes, and let kids learn to communicate like adults do, with keyboards.
   comment by KingCasey on February 13, 2009

Cursive is nice because once you get the hang of it, it's a much faster way to write. Great skill for those essay questions and all those times you're not next to a computer. I've used it a lot, although almost not at all now that I've left school. In classes I wish I had known shorthand, it would have made taking notes so much easier. I was always either behind in writing things down, or frantically scribbling while missing what the prof was saying.

Touch typing makes life with computers much faster and easier, lets just hope they don't change to a smarter and more efficient keyboard in the meantime.

My verdict, teach both. Writing is the basis of everything else. Let's not be stingy.
   comment by LePhil (#198) on February 13, 2009

I think that cursive writing should be taught in elementary school. It is a difficult skill to master, one easiest learned when young, and ideally suited to the elementary school setting, which has a lot of pencils and paper but relatively few computers.

Typing fast is not necessary for children until they start to write essays, which begins in high school. It is also a relatively easy skill to learn, and one that can be done either in high schools (which tend to have more computers) or at home using any number of easy and free software programmes.

That's my two cents worth.
Christopher Dye
Montreal
   comment by Christopher Dye on February 13, 2009

Children should be taught that obedience is more important than critical thought. Those who dissent should be executed in front of their peers.

ps. It's midterm season. Can you tell?
   comment by Alex (#118) on February 13, 2009

BOTH!!! Handwriting first, then typing.

It strikes me as kind of ivory-towerish, to be honest, to neglect handwriting, since the sorts of schools and families that can afford to give every student a laptop on which to take notes or write exams are still far from the majority. If we cut handwriting at the expense of typing, we'll be doubly stiffing the poor kids in elementary school they'll be wasting time learning a skill that they won't be immediately (if ever) able to use, and they'll also be missing out on the only alternative for efficiently communicating their ideas in writing.

But, in the same vein, I don't agree that we should leave typing to be learnt at home, because that way those same poor students will never learn the skill that is nowadays required of any kind of white-collar job.

So, yeah. Both. Vive la revolution!
   comment by goodladd (#144) on February 14, 2009

Slashdot tackles the same question:
http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/09/20/2351248/Cursive-Writing-Is-a-Fading-Skill-mdash-Does-It-Matter
   comment by vinny9 (#33) on September 21, 2009

Indiana becomes the first US state to no longer require teaching cursive:
http://www.local12.com/news/local/story/Indiana-Ends-Requirement-To-Teach-Cursive-Writing/uwAuCWgVIUiJ6164y9_0pQ.cspx
   comment by vinny9 (#33) on July 7, 2011

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