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posted by n1 on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-but-illegible-scribbles dept.

The NY Times asks does handwriting matter? The Common Core standards stop teaching handwriting after the first grade, preferring a proficiency in typing after that.

However, studies are showing that children learn faster, are able to retain more information, and generate new ideas when they first learn to write by hand. The process of thinking about how to form a letter and putting it on the page stimulates more areas of the brain. This come from the inherent messiness in free-form writing, which can be a valuable learning tool.

 
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tathra on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:56AM

    by tathra (3367) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:56AM (#51016)

    kids are still learning how to write (it says it right there - they learn writing in the first year), so this article must be whining about the loss of cursive. good fucking riddance to cursive. i had stopped writing in cursive long before high school (and have long forgotten even how to do it in the past 20 years since) because it was ridiculously slow. and if its not whining about that, its giving a pass to parents for not being parents. (naturally i dont plan on reading it)

    throwing away cursive is a good thing. its slow write and hard to read, and serves no purpose in a digital world.

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  • (Score: 2) by quadrox on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:19AM

    by quadrox (315) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:19AM (#51023)

    The whole point of cursive is to be faster than to write individual letters. And although I too prefer not to write cursive, claiming that cursive is slow is simply stupid.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:24AM (#51028)

      Even faster it is to write with meaningless squiggles, but fastest is not to write at all. Writing spoils the memory and makes the mind weak.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Kell on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:02PM

        by Kell (292) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:02PM (#51050)

        Except that's not what numerous studies about hand writing and memory have shown. The mental process of transcribing ideas into motor actions helps embed the idea in the memory.

        --
        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
    • (Score: 2) by tathra on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:39AM

      by tathra (3367) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:39AM (#51037)

      just because its "meant to be" doesnt mean it is. of course, my own experience isnt everyones, but cursive is being removed from schools because its been falling out of use for decades, and its just not worth wasting everyone's time with it when only a few people still use it by the time they reach junior high.

      cursive should just be relegated to calligraphy and nothing else (and cursive will never die because once its removed from schools, it'll take off as calligraphy and become an art form)

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by physicsmajor on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:59PM

        by physicsmajor (1471) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:59PM (#51117)

        I used to agree with your sentiment. The problem, I think, is that people learn them as two separate languages instead of realizing that cursive is the logical endpoint if you start with plain hand writing, and try to be as fast as possible without raising the pen from the page.

        I disliked cursive because I thought I knew handwriting better, and was faster at it. Then all through college, I took notes using plain handwriting. Guess what? By the end, I was a lot faster - and what I was writing had morphed about 70% of the way toward cursive. Completely organic change, I didn't realize it until I really looked at what I was putting on the page. I'd independently re-invented cursive, sans a few of the weirder capital letters.

        So I do think it's a useful thing, but it's a continuum instead of two separate languages. Teaching it as two separate things is a really crappy way to go about it. Also when teachers grade on how 'pretty' cursive letters are, that doesn't help. Cursive can be flowing and pretty, sure, but it's designed to be fast. That method of teaching makes it slow, which means students (completely rationally) won't see the point and won't use it.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:02PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:02PM (#51164)

          Cursive is what separates men from women, TTYs and other dumb devices.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Buck Feta on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:22PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:22PM (#51054) Journal
      > claiming that cursive is slow is simply stupid

      Of course it's slower, there's so much more to write:

      Non-cursive: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

      Cursive: The quick-as-fuck asshole fox jumped his ass over the son-of-a-bitch lazy-ass dog.
      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Nerdanel on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:58PM

      by Nerdanel (3363) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:58PM (#51067) Journal

      Cursive was invented for writing with ink, the sort that comes in a bottle and to which a pen is dipped. You don't get so many ink blots when you keep the pen on the paper. This also makes writing with ink faster, as you don't have to be so constantly careful.

      The situation is completely different with pencils and ballpoint pens. Inkblots aren't a problem. You don't have to be careful about lifting a pen; you just do it. The hand movement required to draw a letter is what matters. Flowery shapes are counterproductive for that. You can even move a pencil faster through the air than over the paper, as there is less friction and less fine motor control required. Raising and then lowering a pencil a few millimeters does take a little bit of time, but you don't need all that much distance on the paper to make up for that. You also make your pens last longer.

      • (Score: 1) by CoolHand on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:46PM

        by CoolHand (438) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:46PM (#51079) Journal

        +1 insightful... :)

        I never looked at it from that historical perspective. I've never even heard of that reason, as I'd always heard the reason for cursive's invention being born from the "need for speed." I will have to google your perspective, to see if the all knowing interwebz agrees with this historical tidbit.

        --
        Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by CoolHand on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:12PM

          by CoolHand (438) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:12PM (#51091) Journal

          While doing my research, I came across the following article (and a lot of comments) that has taught me a few great points both for and against teaching cursive..

          https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/ball/cursive-handwriting-philip-ball/ [prospectmagazine.co.uk]

          Personally, I think it should no longer be mandatory. Possibly, it could be a strongly suggested class once students can pick electives. Or possibly, it could be allowed to fulfill an art requirement.

          --
          Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:13AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:13AM (#51480)

            Yes, that article makes very good points, if by "good points" you mean a giant blank white rectangle about 5000 by 500000 pixels.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:20PM

        by kaszz (4211) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:20PM (#51095) Journal

        Interesting perspective!

        "Hey teacher, we have pencils and ballpoint pens these days if you missed it.. doh!"

        Pencils - discovered 1565, in wide use since 1790
        Ballpoint - Launched 1888

        Will it take more than 224 years to update curriculum? ;-)

        What feature will these calculators sized as big as a house using copious amount of staff and electricity have? ha! All students must learn to be the fastest slide ruler [wikipedia.org] calculator they can or they won't have any career .. You must also learn to respect the all important bean counters, they rule everything. Or do you expect to bring that calculator house with you in your pocket and ask others for help from it? ;)

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:32AM

        by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:32AM (#51412) Journal

        Plus 1.

        When choosing a pen, I favor those brands that have the LEAST rolling resistance. (PaperMate InkJoy is one of my current favorite el-cheapo (don't care if I lose it) pens. I could care less how long they last. There's 7 more in the box just like the last one.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:40PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:40PM (#51252)

      That may be the intent, but it's not what really happens in practice.

      There's two ways to write cursive: legibly, or illegibly. Legible cursive is very slow to write, slower than regular print. Fast cursive is illegible by anyone who isn't the writer (and maybe even him/her). My mom wrote in cursive, and frequently couldn't read her own writing.

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:25PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:25PM (#51964) Journal

        Hah! Reminds me of a few of my college classes, where I'd get so lazy with my writing that a cursive lower-case F for example -- or hell, sometimes even *entire words* -- would just turn into a single vertical line. They'd end up as TALL lines though, expanding from my normal 1 line in the notebook to a full three or four. Of course, I never once actually read my notes after the fact in any class except math, so that was perfectly fine. The act of taking notes kept me paying attention...which ironically meant I only ever needed to look something up if I hadn't been taking notes.

        But man, I could write those lines *fast* ;)

        On a more serious note, I feel like cursive -- even neatly -- lets my hand be a lot more relaxed while I'm writing. If I'm printing, all five fingers are exerting pressure somewhere. Even my pinkey is pressed tightly against my index finger, which is pressed tightly against the pen. If I'm writing cursive, my pinkey and index finger often don't even touch the pen. But I'm pretty certain that's just me.

  • (Score: 2) by scruffybeard on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:00PM

    by scruffybeard (533) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:00PM (#51088)

    The article addresses cursive, and says that it may be beneficial for people with dysgraphia. Regardless of whether you use cursive or print, writing by hand is still a valuable skill.

  • (Score: 1) by gidds on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:32PM

    by gidds (589) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:32PM (#51103)

    Not sure if I agree with your reasoning (maybe you'd have got faster if you hadn't given it up 'long before high school'?), but I fully agree with your conclusion!

    I did cursive up until my final year at uni, when I had such trouble reading my notes that I did a complete redesign of my handwriting. All the testing I did then suggested that while neat printing takes very slightly longer than neat cursive, printing stays much more legible as I speed up, and so I worked out a style of printed handwriting that's stayed with me ever since, and has gained several appreciative comments.

    (I also found that ascenders and descenders were best kept very short, the middle parts of the letters relatively wide and rounded, the letters within each word relatively close, and letters like x and w in simple straight-line forms. Century Gothic is the closest common font I've seen.)

    It surprises me, though, just how opposed people are to the idea of printing. It's not necessarily childish, and it's no bad thing to write in a way that's clear, simple, and easily legible! If my experience is any guide, then with practice it's really not much slower than cursive. So there's no good reason to dismiss it the way people seem to.

    Also, there are many more styles of cursive to interpret: roundhand, italic, copperplate, etc. etc., some of which are radically different from each other. Printing is more of a common standard!

    --
    [sig redacted]
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:39AM

      by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:39AM (#51413) Journal

      Ditto this.
      My normal writing style is mostly printing, with a few instances of "convenient cursive" thrown in.
      Words like "the" and "on" seem to flow from the pen in cursive, while most everything else gets printed. My dad always favored printing, and even as he aged, and his hand shook, you could read his printing, but never his cursive.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:56PM (#51116)

    Cursive becomes even worse than useless when you start doing math.

  • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:32PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:32PM (#51196)

    Wow, I have just the opposite experience. If I write with block letters I go much slower and get hand cramps much sooner than if I use cursive. I try to avoid hand-writing all together because I was never very good at it (in fact it was one of the main arguments I made to my parents to get an atari 800 - I could do all my school essays on there and never get marked down for bad handwriting) but when I do have to write I vastly prefer to use cursive.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:56PM (#51257)

    throwing away cursive is a good thing. its slow write and hard to read, and serves no purpose in a digital world.

    Cursive CAN'T be thrown away unless you get rid of paper checks altogether.

    Check's need signatures on them to cash them and they are ALWAYS -- as far as I know -- written in cursive.

    Unless you can get by with 'X's or 'squiggles' of some sort as a signature.

    • (Score: 2) by efitton on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:26PM

      by efitton (1077) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:26PM (#51306) Homepage

      Of course you can get by with squiggles for a signature. In the "old days" when they told people to make their mark (as most were illiterate) it wasn't an x. It was a simple pattern or design. That and if you look at most checks (those that aren't just done over the internet) you can't actually read the signature anyhow.

    • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:44PM

      by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:44PM (#51971) Journal

      Both of my parents use pretty much the same signature -- first initial, last initial, squiggly line. And the initials are printed.

      My brother uses some sort of design. Basically just merges a bunch of letters from his name into a single symbol.

      Your signature can be literally anything you want. It doesn't even have to be your name really. ANYONE could just write your name down. The important part to your signature is that you should do it the same way each time. $RANDOM_IDENTITY_THIEF can certainly write your name in cursive, but they won't know what your normal signature looks like unless you've given it to them before. The best thing you can do is make your signature NOT just your name written in cursive, as then if someone else just signs your name it's pretty easy to prove at least that it isn't your normal signature. Make it a drawing of an egg or something. It really doesn't matter.

      That's why, for example, you're supposed to sign the back of your credit cards. When you buy something, the clerk SHOULD check that the signature on the receipt matches the signature on the card (most don't, because it's cheaper for small purchases to just eat the loss if you claim fraud). For checks, the bank makes you sign when you open the account, so they can then compare your signature on your checks to the signature they have on file. If you don't have access to a known good copy, a signature is worthless.