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Mourning the Death of Handwriting

Written by Trey Smith
September 01, 2010

I still remember my fourth grade teachers harping on our cursive handwriting, telling us that our teachers in middle school would require all written work to be in cursive. I worked to improve my cursive handwriting. But when I got to fifth grade and beyond, no one really mentioned cursive. What happened?

Claire Suddath wrote about “Mourning the Death of Handwriting” in a August 2009 piece in TIME magazine. Suddath outlines some of the changes in handwriting that have occurred over the decades. The loss of the art of cursive writing is not the only topic in her piece.

Students today focus less and less on handwriting because of new technologies, like computers and cell phones. Want to send a note of well wishes or for a birthday? Greeting and thank you cards have been in the e- form for quite a few years now.

Suddath’s article generates opportunities for teachers, administrators, and students to consider a number of questions. Is it important for our society to maintain our handwriting? Should we use computers less? Should we use computers more and throw away our pencils and pens? Should teachers push handwriting out the door or resists its demise? Is there an opportunity for handwriting to undergo a renaissance?

Furthermore, do traditional handwriting lessons and practices teach students a kind of discipline, patience, and attention to detail that may be lost with the use of new technologies? Might teachers still teach discipline, patience, and attention to detail using the new technologies? What are other consequences of the disappearance of handwriting?

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