Teaching cursive…or not.

I was wondering what would happen to graphology and graphologists if we all permanently migrated to keyboards and smartphones/tablets to communicate rather than pens. Interpreting someone’s character through the idiosyncracies of their hand writing would no longer be possible. It has always played its part in forensic science . As I was searching I came across this article in The Guardian about graphologists being used currently to screen  job applicants and the reasons why they are now doing it. There has also been quite a debate taking part on Twitter with regard to the relative merits or lack thereof of teaching cursive. I rarely use pen and paper. If I need to use pen and paper it takes me a while to find a pen which actually works. I trained myself to think and type. It wasn’t easy at first because it was an alien process for me. Now I can think as fast as I type and prefer to develop my ideas on a screen because I have mastered the cognitive flow and hand co ordination for it now. Before I’d write ideas out in a book and then type from that. Now I can use something like One Note and compose a complex piece from my electronic notes. True enough, there will be occasions without electricity and no battery life. Pens and paper would be handy for those occasions but if we do transfer to devices we shall probably eventually see the end of pens and paper. It won’t be worth any one’s while to produce them. You can use a stylus and a sketchnoting app. Different people express themselves in different ways and so having the choice of typing or scribing opens up options for expression and self expression. It has been over 5 years since students have been able to read my handwriting. I don’t print. I use cursive. By the end of the year they have all mastered the art of reading my handwriting. Should we teach handwriting? That is what is being debated and it needs to be a good, long, thorough debate. It is a number of years since teachers taught cursive. In South Australia they teach linked script which is joined together print. At my last school I taught cursive as part of secondary English because there was a strong expression of interest from students. We had no laptops/tablets then and it was interesting how their English became more fluent as they mastered a more fluid style of writing and then yes, some of them developed their own style of writing. There are apps which teach handwriting these days and these ones have been recommended by an occupational therapist, Jo Booth

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