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La Fin. The End of Cursive Writing...

4.15.2013

Some children will look at the writing above one day and see it as a form of hieroglyphics, unable to identify (or write) the lowercase "s" and "r" for example. My friends, do you find this is as confounding and unsettling as I do?

A recent article in The Washington Post addressed the impending finale to the art of handwritten script in many US public schools, explaining how cursive is simply becoming irrelevant and impractical in the wake of limited time and budgets, evolving curricula and the widespread use of computers. Since it's no longer required instruction (by Common Core Standards), some schools have simply decided to not teach cursive writing - as basic and splendid and timeless and necessary as it is.

My husband was equally shocked as in France any curriculum decision is made by the Ministry of Education, and therefore something like this would quickly become a national debate, which is a good garde-fou (safeguard) against what he calls "absurdity." This makes me wonder if it's actually happening anywhere else in the world...

The good news is that there are districts and schools of educators who care deeply about preserving l'ecriture. Despite the arguments for its elimination, the benefits to learning and knowing how to read and write in cursive script are numerous: hand and eye control; learning to follow directions; internal discipline of the hand, brain and eye; continuity in process and focus, not to mention maintaining the beauty of the curves and flourishes of individual penmanship - just to name a few. How about children who want to become historians or doctors or as a fourth-grade teacher said to her students, “If you’re going to be a famous soccer player, you need a signature for autographs.” Why of course!


11 comments

  1. What a shame to lose such a beautiful and personal form of expression. These photos are wonderful, and I would love to live on "rue des Rigoles" in Paris :)

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    1. It would be a shame for sure... Ditto on wanting to live on rue des Rigoles! :)

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  2. Lovely lovely capture, though I'm shocked too, to learn that cursive is going out of style! I wish we had the same safeguard the French have, public debate can be a very healthy thing... And you listed excellent reasons for knowing cursive:)

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    1. Isn't it shocking Lulu - especially having to read about it in the paper! It's just not important/exciting enough to be talking about in the news I guess... but let's keep on (cursive) writing away, shall we ;)

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  3. I've heard about this in the states and I believe it's a terrible idea -- there's something to be said for patience and perfecting... but there appears to be no time for that any more. Awesome post Catherine.

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    1. Good news Nancy,... I just read that Congresswoman Hurley from North Carolina drafted a bill requiring all elementary schools in NC to teach cursive (which passed unanimously in the state House)! So all may not be lost :)

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  4. Gorgeous - love that handwriting!

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    1. Thank you Patrice!... wish that was MY penmanship :)

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  5. Such a shame. I've already told my children they will be learning to write in cursive. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures!

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    1. There's hope April... I think as long as we continue to write in cursive - especially to one another (thereby teaching it) and having our elected officials vote for mandating it in state schools, it will never completely be banished from US society...let's hope!

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  6. Interesting write-up! Writing is an art form that reaches a multitude of people from all walks of life, different cultures, and age group. As a writer, it is not about what you want.examples of slang words

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