I am not surprised that Common Core standards consider handwriting proficiency an unnecessary component of elementary school education beyond the first grade. Keyboarding instruction takes precedence over handwriting now, but ours is a computer-driven society, is it not? I certainly don’t object to keyboarding — it’s a necessary skill for both school and job — but I do lament the inevitable elimination of cursive instruction. If nothing else, the art of writing letters represents a civilized, genteel way of communicating. Why not hold onto something of the gracious to offset the impersonality of our jarring, computer-driven world?
An article in the June 4, 2014 edition of the New York Times raises the question of what children lose when technology-driven communications tools replace pen and paper. It turns out that there’s more at stake than the art of letter writing: their brain development actually suffers. My takeaway from this article is that learning and consistently using cursive exercises the human brain in ways that keyboarding does not. Strong evidence exists to back this up.
Our kids will lose this opportunity when our schools inevitably eliminate cursive instruction from early education lesson plans. Only time will tell how students learn to analyze the world around them without this valuable tool. I also don’t want our kids to disconnect from the softer side of human communication. Sure, technology points the way to the future, but can’t we keep some room for a little bit of our past to balance that future out?