Re-assessing the value of cursive writing in schools
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Re-assessing the value of cursive writing in schools

Re-assessing the value of cursive writing in schools

Keyboard tapping and screen scrolling may have replaced cursive writing in school classrooms across the world, but some teachers are hoping to keep the writing style current.

Otherwise known as “longhand” writing, the cursive style connects characters in a flowing style, helping to speed up the process of writing by eliminating gaps between the letters.

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Could cursive writing survive the digital age? Source: Santri Vedri/ Unsplash

Yet for St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary School Early Years Foundation Lead, Helen Pinnington, cursive writing is viewed as a curse rather than a strategic script.

Speaking to the Times Educational Supplement (TES), she said her school has stopped teaching it in Reception class for the present academic year. Pinnington plans to analyse the impact of its eradication at the end of the final term.

“It is common for schools to teach children to form fully cursive script using both ‘lead in’ strokes and ‘exit’ strokes, as well as joining some letters.

“But if writing is already a complex perceptual motor skill, why make it even harder by requiring letter-joining from children who are barely beginning to pick up a pencil?” says Pinnington.

In a bid to confine the use of cursive writing in early years classrooms, the Bedhampton-based educator also outlines disadvantages of the script style.

For instance, some key stage 1 teachers are growing frustrated at children for not forming cursive letters properly and children saying that they don’t want to write because it is too challenging.

For ABC Asia Pacific journalist Lauren Beldi, the converse is true. Writing in ABC, Beldi said handwritten materials are becoming increasingly precious in a world congested by computers and digital gadgets.

Referring a study that was led by Indiana University psychologist Karin James, Beldi wrote about how the study’s findings demonstrate the learning benefits of physically writing letters, including helping young kids read.

“As part of her study, children who hadn’t yet learned to read or write were asked to copy a letter or a shape by typing, tracing or drawing freehand.

“When they were placed in a brain scanner and shown the image again, children who drew it freehand displayed increased activity in three areas of the brain that are activated when we read and write,” says Beldi.

For those that believe that digital writing tools will soon take over handwriting habits in schools, the Beldi points readers towards a recent Technavio report, which states: “The global writing and marking instruments market size has the potential to grow by US$6.07 billion during 2020-2024.”

“High-end luxury pens have gained significant popularity as gifts and fashion accessories over the last few years,” Technavio said.

“The growth of the market in the pens segment is expected to be faster compared to the other segments.”

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