Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Cursive and Communication: thoughts on why the neatly written word is important

I remember hearing once, that back in the "olden days" students were marked more on the quality of their cursive writing than they were on the accuracy of what they had actually transcribed. At the time I found this horrifying; how could you mark something right simply because it looked nice? On the flip side, how could you mark something that was right, wrong, simply because it was messy? It seemed so unjust (and for those of you who know me, I LOVE rules and justice #foreveranoldestchild). However, I have recently had a bit of a change of heart, or perhaps mind. As I consider that the study of the English language in our education system is ultimately about the art of communication, I am forced to concede that if one cannot effectively communicate that which is true due to illegible writing, then they have not effectively communicated. I recognize there is somewhat of a movement towards all things digital. And if all students were typing, legibility would not be an issue. But, call me crazy (or maybe...#insertallusionhere), because I think there is still great value in archaic, "vintage" artifacts like books (NOT of the "e" variety) and things handwritten. So when the image above popped up on Pinterest, I was intrigued. An artist from Indiana, Christina Vanko, has embarked on a quest to see cursive writing (no longer mandated currc. in US schools), returned to the classroom. Through her project, "Sans Cursive", Vanko hopes to illustrate the significance of cursive as a necessary skill, highlighting its historical importance and its role in self-expression, brain stimulation, and fine motor skill development.” While I realize not everyone is as given to nostalgia the same way I am (and as such might not care about historical importance), I think she nailed it with the final three points: self-expression, brain stimulation and fine motor skill development. 

Read about her project here

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