Teaching cursive remains a matter of opinion

Cursive2

It is widely debated on whether or not cursive should be taught in schools. Some students and teachers think it should not, while others think it should. Amy Ostdiek said via email, “My students slow down and think more when writing in cursive. The assignment has more weight. The students want it to look nice. In addition, I find their cursive easier to read.” Illustration By Breydon Doubet

Current House Bill 146 hopes to require all Ohio students to learn and utilize cursive. While the state of Ohio does not currently require students to learn cursive, the Oakwood City School District still incorporates it into their curriculum. In the Oakwood school system it is first introduced in elementary school but is not continually taught throughout elementary and high school.

Some states require that cursive be taught in schools but others do not. The same applies to school districts; Mindy Hasty teaches cursive in her third grade classroom at Edwin D. Smith Elementary.

“The state of Ohio says were not required to [but], our school district says yes,” Hasty said.

Hasty believes that it is important for elementary students to learn cursive because it has many uses.

“They want the kids to be able to read historical documents, so that they can read the Constitution and all that. If kids can’t read history then they can’t learn history,” Hasty said.

Although she thinks it is an important skill, she does not believe that it needs frequent practicing; currently, it is not a required piece of curriculum in high school.

“I just think that they should be exposed to it in elementary school, so that they can read certain things,” Hasty said.

Cursive is not required to be taught at many high schools, and some students agree with this because they do not believe that cursive is that important of a skill.

“I don’t think it’s important in life because we’ve moved on from the writing age to more of the technology age, where typing is more important now than writing. We still use handwriting every day but cursive is obsolete because printing is more efficient than cursive. I think it should be introduced just so students know that it exists, but I don’t think it should be taught that much,” Peter Haverland (10) said.

High school English teacher, Amy Ostdiek, thinks otherwise. She believes that cursive is beneficial to more than just a person’s writing skill.

“[Cursive] is vitally important. There have been numerous studies on the application of cursive and how the brain works. Those studies have found that more areas of the brain light up when writing in cursive than when printing. In addition, cursive slows a typical writer down enough that the writer thinks about forming the letters and choosing the words. Cursive also requires a certain amount of care when writing. When we use cursive, it is typically more formal,” Ostdiek said via email.

Noble Byers (11), like Haverland, believes that students and people use technology and printing more frequently than cursive, as they are more convenient.

“They thought that we were going to use it a lot in high school but now since we’re more of a tech age we just type everything,” Byers said.

Ostdiek, who has her students write some assignments in cursive, has a different stance on the use of technology.

“When composing solely on a computer, students spend most of their brain power on spatial relationships, organizing, and planning; when students write by hand, they spend most of their brain power on the main ideas, effective expression, and support,” Ostdiek said via email.

For these reasons, she has her students write certain assignments in cursive because they have to slow down to think about what they are writing.

However, with technology becoming a larger part of everyday life, cursive may become obsolete.

Hasty said, “High school kids use the computers so much they don’t need cursive anymore.”

 

By Breydon Doubet

doubet.breydon@oakwoodschools.org

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