Printing or cursive?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by AF Mom, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. AF Mom

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    :confused:I teach language arts and have wondered about this question for a while. Is it important for 7th and 8th graders to use cursive instead of printing? I can't believe the number of kids who do not know how to write in cursive. I think they need to know how to write but another teacher said not to worry about it, just let them print. It doesn't matter on daily work but on projects or reports I expect them to use cursive and write in pen.
     
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  3. RainStorm

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    Cursive is a dying art. In my area, there are 3 teachers' colleges/universities. None of them teach teachers how to teach cursive writing (try saying that 3 times fast!)

    Our state standards call for printing to be taught in K and 1, and cursive to be taught in 3rd grade, but it is not tested on the state exams, therefore most teachers skip it in favor of tested items. The schools encourage that. We are encouraged to teach "test taking skills." If they do cover it at all, it is the three weeks after the state exams are finished, at the end of the year, right before summer break. You can't adequately teach or learn cursive writing in 3 weeks!

    After 3rd grade, cursive is not in the state standards again. Therefore, it is not taught.

    Personally, when I taught 3rd grade, we were only given 3 weeks (10minutes per day for 3 weeks) to teach all of cursive writing! We were given no supplies, texts, or reproducibles, and were left totally to ourselves to create the lessons. If we wanted cursive writing paper (with the dotted lines on it) we had to buy it ourselves. I tried to make sure each student could sign his or her name in cursive, and that they could READ cursive. I then gave them as much as I could in the short time allotted. I made a booklet for them with practice sheets that they could use over the summer, if they were so inclined.

    Teachers, often, aren't taught HOW to teach it. Curriculums don't allow time for it to be taught, practiced, reviewed, and remediated. Therefore, students, often, don't learn it.
     
  4. RainStorm

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    It is a shame, too. I personally LOVE teaching cursive. I am fortunate enough to be ambidextrious, and I especially love teaching left-handers how to write without "curling their hand."
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    You should be expecting them to type reports and project, handwriting on projects and reports for me is no acceptable. Honestly, I wouldn't even bother at this point if they do not know cursive.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

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    Funny thing, AF Mom: it was a seventh-grade teacher, many moons ago, who begged me to STOP using cursive.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How does she propose they learn to SIGN their names?

    Teach them cursive!
     
  8. RainStorm

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    Not really. Many teachers today aren't very good at cursive themselves!

    You have to teach children correct posture and pencil placement, and placement of the paper (which is totally different for left- and right-handed students.)

    Most teachers without training in how to teach cursive teach the letters in alphabetical order, which is one of the worst ways to teach it. The second worst way to teach it is vowels first then consonants. You need to group the letters by shape and swoop.

    You have to have practice words that only include the letters the children have already learned, which is REALLY hard if you've made the mistake of teaching them in alphabetical order.

    You have to know the correct slant, what it looks like, and how to get children to do it. Without the correct slant, children won't be able to acheive the smooth, fluid movement they will need in order to write rapidly later, and writing notes rapidly in cursive is one of the most important things we, as adults, do with it.

    Many (most) schools require a specific type of handwritting to be used, and if it isn't the type you learned, you have to adjust your letters. (ie Zanser, D'Nealian, etc.)

    Many people think teaching children to print letters is also self explanatory, and this is one of the biggest reasons our children today can't print worth a darn! It isn't a matter of printing out a bunch of tracer sheets and setting them loose. It is careful observed practice making sure they know the starting place, the correct direction and stroke, and the ending place.

    The children I see today have no concept of where letters start, or their directionality. They have dreadful printing, and make their letters in odd ways. THey suffer from letter confusion far past when it is developmentally appropriate. We have raised an entire generation of poor printers, because teacher's colleges and universities no longer teach teachers these important primary skills.
     
  9. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    You sound like my teachers... that is the way it was when I was in school!!! I remember trying to be so neat when I wrote in pen (often used the erasable{I know it didn't work the best})!!!

    I say stick to your guns & do what you think is best for your kids!!!
     
  10. ebrillblaiddes

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    I wonder if that's contributing to the increase in dyslexia diagnoses...

    I just barely remember a time when cursive was a rite of passage, the early 90's. My sister, just three years younger, missed out on it, and even now I'm not sure she can write in cursive. These days I write private notes and reflections in cursive because the kids mostly can't even read it without extreme effort, something I could do at 6 or 7 because my mom wrote everything in cursive.

    Now they write in txt n idk wuts rong w/their hedz.
     
  11. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I just wanted to say I saw a leapfrog abc thing at the store that has how you form letters printing & cursive!!! Maybe there is hope. I know when I subbed there was a 2nd grade teacher very strict about how her students wrote in cursive when they were learning the letters!! Some still teach it!!!
     
  12. AF Mom

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    Print or cursive

    Thank you for all of your responses. I am glad there are others who believe that cursive is important. You are right about how they sit and hold their pen. It is amazing how this important part of their education is being put on the back burner. Thanks again. AF Mom
     
  13. RainStorm

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    I used to write parent notes in cursive so that "little eyes" couldn't read them... until I had more than one case of the PARENT not being able to read cursive.

    Isn't that sad?
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Yes it is and that is EXACTLY why I disagree with it not being important. Until the business world and other people stop using cursive, they are limited if they don't know it. Plus it gives them the appearance that they aren't that "educated" if it comes out. Until I read this board, I was shocked that this was even a debate. I know we use more typing nowadays than ever but that doesn't mean cursive is gone. I see it all the time.
     
  15. Christine3

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    When I student taught for 10th/11th grade, they would complain every time I wrote in cursive."I can't read that." "Um,can you right NORMAL."

    As of now I give my kids extra cursive worksheets. They complain too!
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Can you imagine being at an important business meeting and having someone write down some information they want everyone to know and having to admit you can't read it?!
     
  17. teresaglass

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    Buy a Cursive writng book at a teacher store. Start having them practice cusrsive as a warmup activity three times a week. You can do it the first 10 minutes of the period.
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I currently teach print handwriting and I've been given a program and shown how so it follows that similar swoop pattern but I can say that while it may be easier for kids to learn and assimilate, I can't understand why it is HARMFUL for kids to learn other ways as long as they do but yet they are fanatics when my students, who have been taught the right way, are still going the wrong direction. They can write and it looks good so I'm not crazy about understanding why it is so fired up important.

    What I do understand is that maybe it lends to doing cursive easier if they are at least in the right direction but it still doesn't explain why it MUST be taught in that order if the students are getting it.

    A few of my letters I don't do the traditional way, though most I do, yet I can write cursive too. I keep a manuscript alphabet with the numbers and arrow directions up just so I am sure I am teaching it the way I'm supposed to. (That's kinder). In first grade we don't really teach handwriting so it never dawned on me to watch which way they write every single letter. I only work with the ones that have terrible writing. Is this wrong?
     
  19. Jarenko

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    Cursive isn't very important. Pass.
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    That's really too bad! I remember learning cursive in the third grade and have used it ever since. I am sorry, but this whole "teaching to the test" is crud, even though I understand why we have to do it. But in the end, the students are losing out because now we don't have time to teach things that used to be important, like cursive writing. I find the whole thing very sad.
     
  21. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    What I find funny is that while I think education spirals and adds to the previous curriculum and serves to open our minds to different types of thinking and different types of knowledge but much of what we learn, we never conciously remember and some we never directly use yet cursive is something we do use for the rest of our lives and the ability to use it (both through reading and writing) isn't dependent on what job or career we have.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

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    (chuckling)

    Poking the hornets' nest with a stick again, are we, Jarenko?
     
  23. RainStorm

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    I personally found this recent Newsweek article to be very informative.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/67956

    I love the analogy drawn between the fact that we all have calculators, and yet adding and subtracting are still taught in schools, and highly valuable in becoming a learner.... and the importance of fluid, rapid writing skills to academic success and self expression.

    I mean, if you think about it, we all have computers or PDA's, or some type of calculator that can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square roots, etc. -- and yet as educators it would be absurd to say there is no point in teaching these to children since, in the real world, they could always do them on the computer.

    As adults, most of us use a calculator to balance our checkbooks (if we even, indeed, still have checkbooks and don't just let the online banking service handle it for us)... but I still want to know how to add and subtract!

    Today's cash registers not only tell the cashier how much change to give the customer, many of them show the cashier pictures of the change drawer, lighting up which coins and how many of each to give! I still want to know how to make change! When the power goes out, I can still make change. Some might argue, that rarely happens, but it is still an important skill.

    Try teaching a child now-days to read an analog clock! Some say that is a lost skill, since digital clocks are everywhere. I'm glad teachers still teach it. Think how foolish someone would feel if they came across an analog clock and had no idea how to read it.

    I used to think that cursive was a dying, unnecessary art... but after doing a fair amount of research into the topic, I think that having a rapid, fluid writing is essential in order to express oneself.

    Keyboards are great, but they shouldn't do away with cursive altogether.

    Now, going back to the original poster, I understand your frustration, but personally I wouldn't want to read essays done in cursive writing and ink if I had a choice. I know how poorly most children handwrite today, and I wouldn't want to spend my time trying to decipher it. I also know that your curriculum probably doesn't allow you enough extra time to teach something that should have been learned and mastered in elementary school.

    I would also feel bad for the students who went to a school that didn't bother teaching it. Can you imagine trying to turn in a report in cursive if you had to look up each letter, and how time consuming and frustrating that would be?

    Personally, if it were me, and I felt strongly about it, I would probably require that the report EITHER be written in cursive writing (in ink) OR be typed. That way, if a child had never been taught cursive, but they had done all the research for your paper, they would still have a way to show what they had learned. :2cents:
     
  24. Jarenko

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    I sign my name without really using cursive. I use mostly squiggly lines and long and elegant curves and twists. I think most signatures are more pictorial in nature than actual writing.
     
  25. Jarenko

    Jarenko Companion

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    Ma'am? :confused:
     
  26. mkirishgirlie

    mkirishgirlie Rookie

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    I had to write in cursive second through eight grade no print aloud. Which i was fine with when i got used to it because you cant mix up b and d p and q. (S and I's are a different story) Now, in high school i find my self only writing in cursive only when im tired (b's and d's q's and p's) or takeing notes But thats just the looney grade school i went to when we learned how to print in kinder. and how to write in 1st grade.
     
  27. Mamacita

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    At the college level, we require a cursive signature that is easy to decipher.

    If the power goes off, and if a sales clerk can't make change, I think he/she should be fired. I was once in a bookstore and the power went off. The manager closed the store because not one employee knew how to make change without a register or calculator. I call this. . . . stupidity. I never went back to that store nor will I ever.

    Using calculators and keyboards, etc, for ease and speed is one thing; using them because it's the only way someone knows how to do something is quite another. One is a tool, and the other is a crutch.

    Let's make sure our students do not enter the working world so incapacitated that they need a crutch.

    In my husband's calculus classes there are always a few students who can't do any kind of math unless they have a calculator. They fail.

    What a shame that some teachers don't believe handwriting is at all important. A person's signature is a reflection of himself/herself. Often, an employer will study a signature carefully, because it indicates personality traits, and I'm not talking about those silly " what does your handwriting tell about you" things you see in magazines.

    Handwriting is artistic. It's cool. It's individualistic. Yes, it's fast becoming a LOST art, but only because some people have chosen to kill it.
     
  28. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I can do math. I'm always making graphs and analyzing my budget, etc from every angle. I would be lost if I couldn't do it without a calculator because I don't always have one around. Every week I calculate my shopping cart as I write it down. BUT I confess if I had to make change for a line of people I would be lost because I would require paper and fingers to count on. I guess my point is I can do it but not in my head and not fast. My husband on the other hand is a whiz. Ironically I'm better at creating budgets, etc. He's just better at computing.
     
  29. Brendan

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    I can write in cursive and sign my name in it, but I usually do not as when I do my handwriting becomes a little unreadable. My printing is very neat, but when I begin to write in cursive it turns into a mess. My kids can read neat cursive, but not my chicken-scratch version of it.
     
  30. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Mamacita, where does this leave the doctors, dentists, lawyers, et cetera??? :eek:

    Just had to say it. :)
     
  31. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Here is what I think, too. Not to argue, just to put some things to think about out there. I have a book, "Two Thousand Years of Calligraphy." I read it several years ago, so I don't remember everything perfectly and I just don't have the time right now to go through it again, sadly. But here is the thing--cursive writing has been around about 800 years or so for writing in the English language. It developed, you guessed it, for speed for those manuscript copyists who made multiple copies of books before the printing press was invented.

    I have another book about the history of writing--starting from 8,000 years ago--it's very interesting but I won't get into that here. My point in bringing it up is that I don't recall cursive/connected writing in any other written language and I wonder if we would have this argument about any other language?

    My personal thoughts on handwriting are that everyone should know how to write but cursive is not necessary. Once the students get into middle school around here, most of the teachers won't accept anything but typewritten papers or printed papers so they can read the writing. In college or business they won't use it and really, only in personal "snail mail" letters would they use it and you certainly don't need to write your letters in cursive. Right?

    Plus, D'Nealian horrifies me, that's all there is to it. If we're going to teach them cursive, ugh, can't we use something a little more aesthetic?
    I think the most beautiful writing ever is the Arabic alphabet--it's so beautiful it looks like magical writing to me. It's so graceful and swirly. I wish our letters would look more like that.
     
  32. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I think they should learn it if for no other reason but to be able to read it if it comes up and use it if the need comes up. We do have access to a computer for formal things but many things are far less formal and a computer isn't attached to our hips. It's sad to leave children out of the loop just because we think type has taken over. My husband got care gifts and letters while he was gone. They were written in cursive. I think it is embarassing to have to admit that one doesn't know it.
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

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    Cursive is very much a feature of Continental languages - manuscripts were certainly being copied in Italy and Germany and France and so on. Not surprisingly, styles have changed and different styles have developed in different countries - the cursive p of Lincoln's time, with both ascending and descending strokes and with the loop of the p unclosed, was still a feature of German cursive (and possibly French, but I don't recall for sure) as late as the 1970s, though possibly not now.

    Arabic is indeed glorious, but golly - ! One needn't worry about capital letters, but most graphemes have at least two forms and up to four, depending on whether the grapheme occurs at the beginning of the word, after a non-joining grapheme (such as 'alif), in the middle of the word between joining graphemes, or at the end. It would be interesting to find out the incidence of dyslexia in Arabic, though, because if I recall correctly there really aren't graphemes which are flips and/or rotations of each other, which means the b/p/d/q confusion issue presumably isn't a problem.
     
  34. Mamacita

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    Most doctors, dentists, lawyers, movie stars, etc, know how to write legibly, but they cultivate an illegible style so their signatures are more difficult to forge.

    About most sports figures these days, I'm not so sure. I wonder if some of them can spell their own names in big capital letters, printed.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

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    "Cultivate"?? Believe me, doctors etc. don't cultivate any style except "fast" - ten-minute appointment slots don't leave much time for writing, and there's an awful lot to write, between notes (which must be signed), diagnoses (which must be signed), lab orders (which must be signed), referrals to specialists or communications back to primary physicians (each of which must be signed), prescriptions (each of which must be signed), and so on. If you've ever had to endorse ten checks in a row, you've probably noticed that your signature on the last didn't much resemble the first - imagine spending your whole day doing that, and you have more or less the idea.
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And cursive is Faster!!!

    Besides, if we were to eliminate every course of study that kids don't see as practical, we would lose a whole lot of education!!
     
  37. ebrillblaiddes

    ebrillblaiddes Companion

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    Happens to my seventh graders all the time. I try to explain it but I don't have time to stop the whole class for a few weeks to teach it properly.
     
  38. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    This year I bought the clocks that go at the top of the room to write the classroom schedule on. We haven't taught time yet but half the class is already using it!
     
  39. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Well, okay, I knew I should have said the Roman alphabet... :rolleyes:

    I knew you would have some wonderfully interesting things to say to this, TG. :)

    When I feel better I'm going to start a thread about middle English, because I have some questions to ask about the translations I'm reading for Canterbury Tales. You will love that thread. :)
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

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    Time for shoures sote, is it, then?

    In Roman times, of course, people still depended on their memories; and the alphabet looked the way it did partly because its grandest use was for inscriptions on buildings: straight lines are very much easier to execute in marble than are curves. (Similarly, the runic alphabet runs to straight lines: it was being carved more than it was being written.)

    Writing systems are amazingly interesting...
     
  41. MissFroggy

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    As a teacher of 3rd and 4th graders, I sure hope you expect them to write in cursive. Once we get back from winter break, all final drafts in my class are in cursive. It pains me to think that after I taught it, it's never required once they leave my class! Our whole school uses the Handwriting without Tears program, and seriously, it's like 5-10 minutes a day... everyone can do that!

    Here is what's important about cursive:
    1) it's a second chance for kids to learn to write when they misform letters... I have a child in my class whose print is illegible because her a's look like u's her b's look like h's, her e's like c's etc. Almost every letter is malformed. Hopefully, with good cursive instruction, I will actually be able to read her writing.
    2) for kids with dysgraphia, it's much harder to confuse letters like b and d, though I've seen it done despite the cursive because they are still translating in their minds... however, this goes away.
    3) It develops fine motor skills and connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain (my belief anyway) because the loops and swirls in cursive do a lot of crosses, and according to some beliefs this helps build the connections between the two sides (like making figure 8's.)
    4) They still need to know how to read it... there will always be a professor or teacher who writes on the board in cursive, or an aunt who writes you snail mail in cursive.. you should be able to read it if nothing else.

    Anyway, just my :2cents:
     

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