Is penmanship important or a waste of time?
The state's position on penmanship has teachers and students divided over the value of learning flowing script and looping signatures in an age of touchpads and mobile devices.
Some see it as a waste of time, an anachronism in a digitized society where even signatures are electronic. Others see it as necessary so kids can hone fine motor skills, reinforce literacy and develop their own unique stamp of identity.
Several states, including California, Georgia and Massachusetts, have added a cursive requirement. Most others, such as Indiana, Illinois and Hawaii have left it as optional for school districts. Some states, like Utah, are still studying the issue.
Whether it's required or not, cursive is fast becoming a lost art. Schools increasingly replace pen and paper with classroom computers and instruction which is increasingly geared to academic subjects that are tested on standardized exams. Even the standardized tests are on track to be administered via computer within three years.
But experts says that longhand is also a symbol of personality, even more so in an era of uniform emails and texting, they say.
Students say virtually nobody writes in cursive except teachers and parents. School assignments are required to be typed. Any personal note, such as thank yous and birthday cards, are emails, said Monica Baerg, a 16-year-old junior at Arcadia High School.
For some kids, the only practical purpose for learning cursive is to sign their names.
"They should teach it just for that purpose," said 16-year-old student Monica Baerg. "Everybody wants a cool signature with all the fancy loops."
Critical thinking challenge: Is penmanship important or a waste of time?
Define these words: anachronism, hone
- Posted on November 26, 2012
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