Charles’ post on the slow death of cursive script brought back my own memories of remedial handwriting exercises. My teacher, Mrs. Bremner, discovered when I was in, oh, sixth grade that I was printing everything. So, since I was also completing all assignments in half the time it took anyone else in my class, she started assigning my handwriting practice.
I couldn’t understand why print wasn’t good enough, and so I did the exercises with the same dedication with which one completes punishments consisting of the repeated writing of lines. If s looks like this, or like that, what does it matter, as long as the word is readable?
The whole mourning of the cursive thing is really quite backwards. What I hope, for my own descendants, is that they get proper typing skills as kids. I hope that by third grade, they can outtype me (I’m fast, but I cover most of the keyboard with my right hand, and only use the left for certain letters. It’s quite antiergonomic, how I type, and perhaps I should learn to do it properly.
Schools should be allowing laptops. There’s no reason that SATs shouldn’t be typed instead of handwritten. What freaking century is this, anyway? The very notion that handwriting actually reflects organization or intelligence is a joke, of course. One professor I work with has such band handwriting that even I can’t read it, but he’s a really smart guy with interesting things to say.
The killer is that, when people type their ideas, you can usually tell how intelligent they are within a few minutes. With the naked text, there’s nothing to hide behind. I think that probably scares some teachers, though. I think that those teachers may just not be ready for that.
Anyway, cursive? As far as I’m concerned, any teacher who gives remedial cursive exercises to students, or claims it’s important in this day and age, is living in another century. It’s backwards and stupid and more than a little embarrassing that we can be stuck that far in the past, when we’re living in such a revolutionary time as this.