April 20, 2024

Handwriting has slowly been declining in popularity as typewriting has become the new norm for communication. However, handwriting has a history, and cursive specifically has been around since the fifth century AD.

However, cursive may become an extinct form of handwriting soon.

The first big change regarding learning cursive was enacted in 2010 when the Common Core standards (followed by at least 41 states) omitted cursive instruction from school curricula, meaning cursive learning was no longer required.

In 2018, results posted by edweekly.org found that only 7% of elementary schools were teaching cursive on a daily basis.

In contrast, two years ago, a University of Southern California and technology fund study found that 95% of California school-age kids used a device for their school learning. Currently, approximately 50 million teachers and students use Chromebooks, a tablet popular in middle schools, according to Google.

While typing classes have increased and may be considered the replacement for learning cursive, some think we are still too advanced to need these classes, either.

Researcher Anna Trubek argued that teachers see typing classes as a waste of time because typing is common knowledge.

“The kids already know how to type was what the staff at my son’s school told us at curriculum night, and they decided to use computer time on something else,” Trubek said in her MIT Technology Review column. “Many schools aren’t teaching typing anymore because they figure students already are proficient at using keyboards.”

Since technology is widespread knowledge and handwriting courses are on the decline, the number of people who still use cursive is declining as well.

In 2013, The Washington Post wrote that “nowadays, for many students, cursive is becoming as foreign as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.” Additionally, College Board reported that in 2021 only 15% of SAT takers used cursive in their essays.

Yselle Barajas, sophomore psychology major, said that she somewhat knows cursive but does not find much use for it in her daily life.

“I learned cursive in the third grade, kind of,” Barajas said. “I don’t think it’s useful, and I don’t use it anymore. I think if anyone is using cursive, it’s mostly for name signatures, like when you sign a receipt.”

Dr. Jocelyn Navarro, professor of education, thinks the usage of cursive is more for creative and unique things, such as a diploma.

“Cursive is specialized,” Navarro said. “It’s a craft and is used to distinguish notability and recognition.”

Navarro said that although cursive classes are not common anymore, she thinks typing classes are an important replacement.

“Learning to type is important for kids,” Navarro said. “They’re eager to learn the technology that they see all around them, and these technology skills are life skills. They are necessary for setting students up for success in the modern world.”

Typewriting is now a valued skill in society, but if you are one of the few who still is adamant about continuing to write in cursive, science is on your side.

Cursive writing has been shown to improve left-right brain synergy and promote the brain’s language and memory functions, according to a New York Times article.

In the same article, it was reported that students who wrote in cursive for the SAT in 2017 scored higher than students who used print.

Even “first graders who learned to write in cursive received higher scores in reading words and in spelling than a comparable group who learned to write in (print),” the Academic Therapy journal said.

There are still positives to learning cursive, even though it is not mainstream anymore. The choice to ditch it or not is up to you.

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