TED Conversations

Robert Winner


This conversation is closed.

Should cursive writing be required in schools?

Only three state have made cursive a part of the core curriculum requirements while 45 states require proficiency in computer keyboarding at the elementry level. Some states have made cursive optional.

Has our society advanced to the point of where handwriting has become unnecessary.

What impacts can you see on not being able to write in cursive. Could printing be just as acceptable?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 5 2012: I think that there really isn't a point to cursive writing other than knowing how to sign your name. They put such an emphasis on teaching it in elementary school. I remember being told as a kid that they only allowed cursive writing once you got to high school. Obviously that isn't the case. All throughout high school and college I was told not to use cursive. To be perfectly honest, I haven't handwritten any assignment I've had since about elementary school.. so why not spend this time teaching kids about things that they will actually use or focus more on the subjects that form the base of everything they will learn in the future.
    • thumb
      Dec 5 2012: Leanna - you look fairly young. I think your ideas are those of the future. I agree that there are more important things that should fill the school day than an old fashioned method of communication. It's difficult for some of us to "let go" of what we've always known, but I fear the end of the handwritten note is near.
      • Dec 5 2012: Taking cursive out of academia and other curricula will stunt the already depreciating value of analytic thinking. Students today BS their way through assignments as they memorize facts without any concept of them .Cursive writing actually forces you to examine what you are saying rather than how it looks you are saying it. The free-flow form of cursive allows thoughts to gain a sense of cohesiveness in writing. George Orwell said that the politics in education have been ruining society's ability to write. Most students nowadays cannot concisely phrase what needs to be said in an articulate and sophisticated manner without being overly wordy. Besides granting careful attention to sentence structure, that ability to formulate coherent and cohesive thoughts originates from cursive writing. Getting rid of it is completely foolish despite your (Leanna) apparent "lack of use." I actually use cursive to take ALL my notes. When your notes are handwritten, you remember them better because you are "writing them into your brain" or so to speak, and that concept has been studied. You may not use cursive now but I guarantee when you have greater requirements and responsibilities, you will.
        • Dec 9 2012: What does cursive writing have to do with analytic thinking? I agree that excessive memorization and conversational writing are both problems in education, however, I fail to see their connection to cursive. I also fail to see how writing in cursive automatically curbs one's wordiness or improves grammar, these skills come from training and experience. I disapprove of the remark that coherent and cohesive thought can only be produced by wielding a pen. This statement suggests that people such as R. A. Fisher and Stephen Hawking were incapable of thinking analytically or communicating concisely, because they did not have the ability to write out their thoughts in cursive.

          I support cursive education and I have enjoyed reading appeals in this forum that argue for cursive's historical and cultural value. I myself enjoy calligraphy. What bothered me about the post above was the presumption that cursive writing is closely tied to analytical thinking.

          In the spirit of quoting dystopian authors I would like to end this post with a quote that I think is relevant to this discussion. From Juan Ramón Jiménez and in the epigraph of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" : "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way."

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.