Author Topic: NPR story re handwriting vs printing  (Read 514 times)

Offline Mary_M

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NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« on: June 01, 2018, 09:18:25 AM »
Oh look! Yet another story on NPR yammering about why teaching handwriting is pointless and obsolete.
https://www.npr.org/2018/05/31/612197167/so-longhand-has-cursive-reached-the-end-of-the-line

I found this statement particularly infuriating: Some people still talk about cursive instruction as instilling self-discipline. But the only jobs that require fastidious penmanship these days are tattoo artist or addressing wedding invitations.

Note the writer says "fastidious penmanship" not beautiful or elegant.  More to the point, I don't think everything we teach in schools needs to equate to a job skill. If that was the case, most of us wouldn't have taken trigonometry.




Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2018, 10:53:31 AM »
Interesting article. It felt to me like the person was given the topic and then rounded up all the facets and put it together. It read like a string of ideas rather than a compassionate opinion on the topic.

I found it funny, the link to the summer camp for cursive writing (at University of Illinois) includes an image of Roundhand!  ;D

This though made me wistful: “But cursive is steeped in tradition. It evokes an age when American schoolchildren sat at their desks in identical postures making their loops with military precision.” Ah... those were the days. LOL!  ;D

And I was happy to read that students are going back to using handwritten notebooks to take notes versus a laptop.

Thanks for sharing Mary!
Truly, Erica
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Offline Starlee

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2018, 06:33:33 PM »
I don't mean to ruffle feathers, but I LOVED this article. It opened my mind on the matter. Since I first heard about it last year, I was saddened to hear about cursive being eliminated from classrooms for the very reasons the author discussed, e.g., effects on self-discipline. I was particularly worried about the deterioration of the students' learning experience, so like @Erica McPhee, I was so happy to hear the students have figured it out for themselves. I know the statement is irksome to us calligraphers, but after reading this article, I now agree with the author. And the truth hurts. But seriously, what other jobs out there today require impeccable penmanship? I've been thinking about it for a bit, and I can't think of any...maybe teachers, administrative, bankers/investment, or other positions that involve filling out forms by hand. But, even those tasks are evolving as people turn to digital to not only keep up with the times, but also to be more environmentally conscientious. That, actually, is one point the author did miss in this article. He overlooked one more thing: having a beautiful hand is a skill that makes you stand out in a crowd, like a competitive job market. A beautifully written thank you letter is a very memorable thing indeed! And so, I agree with Anne Trubek...perhaps it is best to keep handwriting as an elective, and let people decide for themselves how much they want penmanship to be in their lives. Thank you so much for sharing this article!!
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2018, 06:45:31 PM »
Such a good point Star! An excellent way for someone to stand out from the crowd. Additionally, messy signatures are often the norm but there is a difference between a signature that is written quickly and has become a person's mark compared to rudimentary handwriting.

When I worked in HR, I noticed people's handwriting on applications. Those that were neat, either cursive or print, stood out.

Doctors do get picked on quite a bit for their handwriting -- but it is still true today that doctors write prescriptions and instructions to their patients and it's frequently illegible. I can think of a number of jobs where handwriting is still necessary. Beyond jobs, as Mary said, in the same area, people still need to fill out forms when going to the eye doctor, dentist, etc.

The author should put his hand in an ace bandage and see how many times in a week he actually uses handwriting!
Truly, Erica
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Offline Starlee

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2018, 08:59:46 PM »
Good points Erica. I interpreted the article that he was referring to the loss of cursive, not all use of pen and pencil since he said signatures could be done with printing. 
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2018, 02:10:15 PM »
He does sort of shift gears halfway through. He starts with handwriting altogether and then delves into the cursive "politicism." 
Truly, Erica
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Offline Mary_M

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 09:30:58 AM »
Maybe in the future there will be handwriting clubs in schools. Kind of like the Finer Things Club, if you've ever watched The Office.

I love NPR and just want them to like everything I like. Beautiful handwriting will always be an admired skill/art form. Offering it as an elective gives me hope that my 2nd grade Excellence in Handwriting Award meant something (which of course only meant I was a bit of an obsessive rule follower).

As a side note, I work in a law office and am involved in document signings almost daily. It's always fun to see what the signatures are like, especially since a majority of our clients are elderly. The older women are often apologetic that their signatures have grown wobbly with age - and yet their signatures are usually quite lovely. Men more frequently make a scribble, and do it forcefully. My Pop Psychology degree leads me to infer that it's another way for insecure men to show their importance and authority.  ;D

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2018, 08:16:23 AM »
Ha ha - the Finer Things Club! I love it! (Big Office fans here.) When I worked on the executive floor at a large insurance company, there was a senior vp who had the most beautiful signature. He said it was from years of getting his hand smacked with a ruler by the nuns at Catholic School.
Truly, Erica
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Offline Mary_M

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 12:32:12 PM »
Truth! I was at Catholic school too and only from K through 2nd grade.

Offline Starlee

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 06:32:13 PM »
I went to Catholic school until grade 8, but only my very first teacher was true old school catholic. She was a nun, and the church was right next door. I remember being slapped in front of the class, but I don't remember why. There's effective discipline! :S
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Offline KristinT

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Re: NPR story re handwriting vs printing
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2018, 05:57:41 PM »
I haven't read the article in question yet, so please let me know if I'm posting in ignorance.

While I support teaching handwriting, including cursive, for a variety of reasons, I think one of those reasons isn't talked about much: reading handwriting and cursive.  I worked at a right-of-way service for a few months and it involved a lot of land title detective work.  Even just a few decades ago official documents like that still relied a lot on handwritten input.  Less than a hundred years ago, they were entirely written by hand, usually in cursive.

I understand not every job requires this, but honestly it's more complicated than just considering the folks who want to work at "The Handwriting Factory" or whatnot.  :P  At any rate, I just wanted to toss that thought out there.  Would be intrigued to know some of the circumstances we've all experienced when it was necessary or helpful to know how to read handwriting well.