Friday, March 20, 2015

Should Learning Technology Replace Learning Cursive in Schools?

By Sean Scarpiello

As computers and tablets quickly make their way into the classroom, the need to learn about these growing technologies is rising quickly. Yet as teachers try to integrate more technology into the classroom, there is a limited amount of time during the school day, so some subjects need to be removed  to allow more time for technology. There has recently been debate among many grade school educators to reduce the amount of time being spent teaching and practicing cursive as it is becoming obsolete. As adults, we all remember spending countless hours in second and third grade perfecting our cursive. As society moves towards a more technology driven world, teachers are seriously considering cutting cursive from the curriculum. Educators are not calling to question the importance of cursive, but some feel that it isn’t worth teaching when there is so much to learn using technology.

First, the major problem that arises with teaching cursive is the opportunity cost. Teachers often ask, “What other subject can I be teaching during the time that it takes to teach second graders cursive.” This question arises in  many teachers because there is a large chunk of class time dedicated to teaching cursive. Students are practically  relearning the alphabet in a more fancy and complicated style by learning cursive. This means they need to spend a lot of time constantly writing out their cursive over and over again. In my schooling, cursive was practiced first thing each morning for about an hour over a time span of about three to four months. Each hour  dedicated to cursive can add up over time and this time could have easily been used elsewhere.

For many teachers, the instruction of cursive is seen as a dying art as technology is quickly taking over. Many argue that people never use cursive to write letters as email has taken over. Even in the workplace, documents are typically typed  out and if not people just print because it is easier. Therefore, it seems preposterous that schools spend a lot of time on cursive when it is used little, if at all, in the future. This especially holds true when teachers notice that time teaching cursive can be used to time teaching students how to use computers and other technology. In the long run, it would definitely serve students better if they were taught to use the computer and type faster rather than learning to write in cursive.

On the other hand, there are still many arguments for keeping cursive in schools. For one, students need to learn it for writing their signatures in the professional world and even in their daily lives as adults. Cursive has always been regarded as a professional  writing style and practiced by well-educated individuals in society. If there is an end to cursive, some think ,many people would come across as being flat out dumb. Even today, too many students do not know how to professionally sign a letter or write out their signature. It is still important to not completely cut cursive from curricula.

While cursive really cannot be cut from the curricula altogether, the teachers’ best option for students to learn this writing style is to assign cursive as homework. Also, cursive could be done independently over the summer. This would give teachers more time in the classroom to teach other important subjects that may be overlooked when trying to squeeze cursive into a full curriculum. An advantage to cursive is how easy it is to learn and can  be learned  by students independently. In fact students could even utilize technology to learn cursive and accomplish both types of learning concurrently.

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