It’s official. In another decade, Finnish graduates will consider cursive writing an ‘ancient art’.
In many parts of the world, children are no longer being made write ‘longhand’, as typing and other digital communication skills take on more significance.
Minna Harmanen, a spokesperson for Finland’s National Board of Education, has announced that “joined-up writing” is too slow. “Kids only start learning it in Grade 2 (aged eight) and have a year to get it right before moving on to concentrating on what they write, rather than simply how they write it,” explained Harmanen.
British newspaper The Guardian reports that one in three of its readers claim not have put pen to paper at all over a six-month period and, in the US, 46 states now only require children to write in simple print when necessary. Because countries such as Australia and the US are moving towards nationwide digital annual school assessments and because many students are now required to turn in typed assignments, it is widely considered that learning to be legible using block letters on, say, a whiteboard, or typing a text message on a smartphone swiftly and accurately, are simply more important than looping letters together longhand.
Although their numbers are dwindling, there are still those of us who honour the elegant curls of cursive. These up and down movements, say some neuroscientists, improve children’s gross and fine motor skills and give them important ‘alone’ time to consider what they are writing. A personal signature executed in cursive is also still important in some quarters for legal reasons.
Category: Summer 2015