Cursive Writing: A Problem or Heritage?

Which side are you?

Yay for this elegant art or nay for this obsolete style of writing in the digital world?

The internet is flooding with opinions on whether to back cursive writing or actually look into the problems children face at school. Many western schools have stood up against this classical writing style. While teachers are voicing their opinions on this topic, I am sure most of the children would be secretly wishing to the stars for a nay.

This debate actually reminds me of my school days. I remember my workbook of cursive letters and alphabets distinctly. It has carved a place in my life with funny memories I tell at every family get-togethers. The story goes back in the cool 90s when I had cursive writing in my school curriculum. Every year we used to get a book of ‘how to write in cursive’ along with the other textbooks. Thus, every time I would resolve that AT LEAST this year I’ll be the one with an excellent record of filling up the workbook on time. I also had an imaginary award for the ‘Best Student in Cursive Writing’ given to me in my daydreams. But reality strikes you hard, I know it from then.

Never in my school days, I was even nominated for this imaginary award nor did I ever complete the workbook on time. I used to procrastinate cursive writing till the time I had nightmares about submissions. Sitting up throughout the night (Not actually, for kids throughout the night is till midnight!) and waking up with puffed up fingers, all I expected was to get through the submissions. But that day had some other plans for me. I was heartbroken when my teacher spotted my last-minute hard work. She could see some words making no sense at the end of the book. Eventually, I returned home with the everyday homework along with a punishment of erasing the doodle with curvy English language, for real.

I agree that procrastination was my fault, but there surely was a reason why I avoided completing the workbook. It was because of the already laden burden of exams, scorecards, competition, peer pressure, homework, etc. The pressure is real as is the ‘exam fever!’ The brain of a child doesn’t work as an adult to self-motivate or self-evaluate; they get bogged down by pressure if not rescued on time. In the end, even though being the most beautiful form of writing, a heritage in literature becomes a burden for students. Thus, the subject gets categorized as one of the major issues in classroom learning.

As of today, my handwriting juggles between cursive and straight for no apparent reason. I guess when my brain reminds me of my English submissions my fingers take a curve!

This is just a subjective viewpoint as far as my experience matters but there are teachers around the world who have backed this art with strong statements. Since cursive writing was removed from some American schools, many of their teachers came forward to highlight the pros and cons of cursive writing.

The pros are as follows:

  • Cursive writing facilitates cognitive development of a child.
  • It can help children struggling with dyslexia as the writing helps build memory, improve hand-eye coordination, etc.
  • This writing style improves the learning ability in children as they tend to read and understand more effectively while writing on a paper as opposed to typing.

The other side of the coin says that the schools can’t burden the children with this lost art and rather can include some other activities or subject which would be useful for them in today’s world. We have to sometimes move forward from the past to accommodate modern thinking. That’s how cursive writing is perceived by contemporary education systems today. After all, we don’t heavily use abacus anymore then why is cursive writing necessary? Obvious question raised by many.

Children already have a heavy bag to carry every day to school and bring back home loads of homework to complete. Parents and teachers sometimes tend to overlook some problems students face in school because of a few subjects which are a misfit in today’s world. The concept of ‘way of life’ is imposed on the children and this continues for generations. On the other hand, children can’t complain about the school curriculum either to their parents or teachers. In the end, the cycle continues until we grow up to question why we did go through all the struggle when some could have been avoided.

Due to the large economic gap in India, digitizing education nationwide is difficult. Hence, the discussion about cursive writing cannot be based on the debate of writing on paper vs. typing. Rather it is all about reducing the burden on children and their psychological development. Kids generally spend more time in school than their homes and it is important that they ENJOY learning along with the extra-curricular activities. We don’t want future generations to struggle with regrets and low levels of cortisol in their brains.

So again, which side are you?

Also read: How To Encourage Children To Do Homework


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