Bad Habits Part 2 – Cursive

#4. Cursive

Virtually everyone reading this was made to learn cursive writing in school. Most of the people reading this are either in college or out of school completely, living in the adult world. So when was the last time you wrote something in cursive, other than your name? Do you even remember what a capital cursive Q looks like? Put your hand down, Quentin.

Originating from the Latin cursivus, meaning “flowing,” cursive developed in ancient languages to be a speedier way of writing by hand. And for many hundreds of years, it was. Also, nobody could read your handwriting.

Why It’s Inefficient:
There’s a reason nobody can read your goddamn signature — cursive is hard to read. Many colleges forbid students from turning in exams written in cursive and present lectures via PowerPoint, not pretty P’s and looping L’s. Some say writing in cursive can help brain development, but so can printing. Also, kids can type far faster than they can write in cursive, and they can work on their grammar, syntax, spelling and idea flow much more efficiently on a computer than they can with a quill pen and parchment.

But the main argument against cursive comes down simply to an allocation of classroom resources. If you somehow already know cursive, fine, but in these days of stretched school budgets and limited teaching time, some wonder whether we should really be devoting school resources to the world’s stupidest way of putting words on paper.

Yet 90 percent of schools are still spending the recommended 60 weekly minutes teaching their second- and third-graders cursive. If that hour is going in, what are we sacrificing? Math? Cultural diversity? Phys ed? Our fat, racist, counting-on-their-fingers kids don’t need to know how to make flowery Z’s. Or at least, they need to know a lot of other things more.

Why We’re Stuck With It:
There are some signs that cursive is on the way out. Ten percent of schools have stopped teaching it, which actually makes cursive even more inefficient, as 10 percent of kids now won’t be able to read what everybody else is scribbling about.
But most schools are, for now, clinging to their curling C’s, thanks to slow-to-change educational standards. Cursive was actually reinstated in Florida’s school standards in 2006, amidst fears of students becoming too reliant on technology. Perhaps we should also reinstate hunting and gathering, over fears of becoming too reliant on grocery stores.

Part 1: QWERTY Keyboards

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