(1) Some educators claim that cursive writing plays a role in brain and overall academic development, but others disagree and say what the studies actually show is that any form of hand lettering, including print, engages more of the brain than keyboarding does.
(2) Cursive advocates cite recent brain science that indicates the fluid motion employed when writing script enhances hand-eye coordination and develops fine motor skills, in turn promoting reading, writing and cognition skills.
The signature, the ability to sign one’s own name with grace and confidence, has long been an essential marker of society. Today more and more I meet high school students who, though they can read, sometimes well and sometimes poorly, are ashamed whenever they are confronted with the need to sign a document. [...] Cursive has become a status marker.
I find this shocking. I also think this would be much more of a class marker than cursive.
Frankly I've never needed trigonometry, the Pythagorean theorem, scientific notation, the periodic table, or long division in my adult life. That argument I made when I was a kid, "I'll just use a calculator", has come to pass because every mobile device and desktop computer has one if I'm in doubt.
What essential life skill is it that the relatively small amount of effort spent on teaching cursive taking away from?
Yet scientists are discovering that learning cursive is an important tool for cognitive development, particularly in training the brain to learn “functional specialization,” that is capacity for optimal efficiency. In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of brain become co-activated during learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice
During one study at Indiana University to be published this year, researchers conducted brain scans on pre-literate 5-year olds before and after receiving different letter-learning instruction. In children who had practiced self-generated printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and "adult-like" than in those who had simply looked at letters.
Virginia Berninger, a professor at the University of Washington, reported her study of children in grades two, four and six that revealed they wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard
Defenders of cursive tend to be people who believe that there is great value in requiring children to do mindless, repetitive tasks until they have achieved mastery of those tasks. They believe that among the really important goals of elementary school are to teach children self-discipline and submission to authority
ArbitraryAndCapricious: “Defenders of cursive tend to be people who believe that there is great value in requiring children to do mindless, repetitive tasks until they have achieved mastery of those tasks.”
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