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#1 Aug 29 2013 at 7:11 AM Rating: Good
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Should cursive continue to be a mandated subject of learning for our school children?

The issue sort of grabbed some attention when one of the Trayvon Martin witnesses was unable to read a note written in cursive.

It's duplicative and outdated however many historical documents are written in cursive. Also we still necessitate 'signatures'. Not that you couldn't have a printed signature but cursive is more personalized.

I'd not have missed the cursive lessons. I think I'll have a #2 pencil induced callous on my pointer finger until the end of time.

What should we do with cursive?
The status quo: School kids should continue to learn to read and write cursive. :9 (27.3%)
No Cursive:9 (27.3%)
Elective Cursive:7 (21.2%)
BAN PENCILS:8 (24.2%)
Total:33
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#2 Aug 29 2013 at 7:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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My signature can't even be called cursive anymore. It's three squiggles. Seems pretty worthless, but it's not like gym is teaching anything other than to aim at the fat kid so it's fine as busy work.
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#3 Aug 29 2013 at 7:50 AM Rating: Excellent
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I have mutant hands. My thumbs curve back quite a bit at the tip, one bone is longer than it should be in the thumb, and one is slightly shorter. It doesn't look too out of the ordinary, but the end result is I have never been able to write correctly, and it was the bane of my existence growing up. Having teachers insist that you are lazy or simply very sloppy all the time on writing when you literally cannot make the letters in the shapes they require without extreme and excessive amounts of time and effort is amongst the more annoying learning experiences you can encounter as a child. They eventually realized that no, I wasn't simply doing the letters poorly to piss them off and stuck me in hand therapy, which mainly involved playing with super dense medical silly putty constantly to strengthen my hands, which did absolutely nothing about the fact that the point my fingers meet to hold a pencil is in a different spot for me than it is for everyone else. I ended up with extremely strong hands, which comes in handy when you encounter someone who decides they want to try a power crush handshake, or when breaking bricks in half by snapping them, etc. but is otherwise pretty useless in terms of handwriting. The second I was able to get ahold of a computer and a printer I switched over to doing all my work on that, and I never looked back. Remarkably, my writing scores dramatically improved at that point for some reason. I have no problem teaching kids to identify cursive letters, but it should be about the same importance and level of effort they use to teach Egyptian hieroglyphics. It's not something that most people will ever need in life, and those that do can study it at an advanced level electively later in their education.

@#%^ cursive right in the ear. Seriously.
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#4 Aug 29 2013 at 8:06 AM Rating: Good
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I learned cursive, and I can theoretically read it, and I can still barely read historical documents written in it. And I don't know of a single reason a non-history major would have any need to be reading historical documents that haven't already been placed in a digital format.

It's antiquated, it's stupid, no one bothers to use it unless they had it drilled into them. It's a waste of time for the vast majority of students, and it doesn't add much of anything. Plus, it makes even less sense now that the letters students are most frequently engaging with are in the print format, be it on screens or printed paper.

And at the end of the day, it just adds burden where there doesn't need to be burden.

At the end of the day, if parents want their kids to know cursive, it can be very, very easily taught at home. I had atrocious handwriting as a kid, and most of the work I did to remedy that was at home, writing the alphabet over and over and over and over and over. Since that's literally how they teach cursive in the first place, I see no reason to waste school hours on it.

Also, an interesting note, cursive writing instruction generally starts too early for it anyway, since many or most of the children won't have developed the physical dexterity to handle it anyway.
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#5 Aug 29 2013 at 8:20 AM Rating: Excellent
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They need to stop lying to the students and feeding them the line "Once you get in high school you won't be allowed to print anymore, it's all cursive, so you have to learn it!". We were fed that for years in elementary school, then suddenly cursive disappears once they stop teaching it.
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#6 Aug 29 2013 at 8:25 AM Rating: Good
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
@#%^ cursive right in the ear. Seriously.
Put my vote with this. Only class in elementary to ever prevent me from making honor roll was handwriting, and only once we got into cursive.
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#7 Aug 29 2013 at 8:25 AM Rating: Good
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TirithRR wrote:
They need to stop lying to the students and feeding them the line "Once you get in high school you won't be allowed to print anymore, it's all cursive, so you have to learn it!". We were fed that for years in elementary school, then suddenly cursive disappears once they stop teaching it.


Yeah. To be fair, our teachers mostly gave up by the time we realized we wouldn't need it and just started ignoring their calls for cursive. But it really doesn't matter. I was never remotely as proficient in writing in cursive as in print, and it was never faster. Just... messier. If I believed that lifting up my pen was actually somehow severely reducing my ability to write, I might care. But I do not.
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#8 Aug 29 2013 at 8:29 AM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
It's antiquated, it's stupid, no one bothers to use it unless they had it drilled into them.
Can't say I've found much use for most of the math courses I've taken in school, either.

Edited, Aug 29th 2013 10:29am by lolgaxe
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#9 Aug 29 2013 at 8:51 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
It's antiquated, it's stupid, no one bothers to use it unless they had it drilled into them.
Can't say I've found much use for most of the math courses I've taken in school, either.

The 'required' math really is usable stuff. I mean come on - you never add subtract multiply or divide anything?

Sure, multi-variable calculus and differential equations have limited use for the public at large, but those are elective classes.

I could see though, cursive being a pre-req for history or even art courses.
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#10 Aug 29 2013 at 9:06 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
I mean come on - you never add subtract multiply or divide anything?
For one, that stuff is learned by like the second or third grade. Second, who doesn't have some sort of calculator on them nowadays?
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#11 Aug 29 2013 at 9:16 AM Rating: Good
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I've had a ton of use for everything up through algebra. Trig stuff is more of the "once in a great, great while" variety.

But I use the skills I learned in algebra all the time.

I guess that includes geometry. But I barely learned that stuff in the first place, because I had a terrible teacher. I learned all of it in trig.
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#12 Aug 29 2013 at 9:19 AM Rating: Excellent
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I only use cursive to sign my name. I haven't written in cursive since computers. IIRC in middle school things were either cursive or typed, but by high school everything was pretty much on a computer. Print always seemed either to read anyway. One of the guys in the lab writes all of his notes in cursive, reading them fairly futile, but that may have more to do with his awesome penmanship skills.

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Elinda wrote:
I mean come on - you never add subtract multiply or divide anything?
For one, that stuff is learned by like the second or third grade. Second, who doesn't have some sort of calculator on them nowadays?
Smiley: um


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#13 Aug 29 2013 at 9:21 AM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I've had a ton of use for everything up through algebra. Trig stuff is more of the "once in a great, great while" variety.

But I use the skills I learned in algebra all the time.

I guess that includes geometry. But I barely learned that stuff in the first place, because I had a terrible teacher. I learned all of it in trig.

I can't say I use any trig, or geometry. A bit of calculus from time to time, but that's really basic like area-under-the-curve stuff (and once the formula is in the spreadsheet it gets done automatically for me! Smiley: grin). Really the biggest thing is statistics, lots of it.

Take trig out of high school and make people take a statistics class.


Edited, Aug 29th 2013 8:29am by someproteinguy
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#14 Aug 29 2013 at 9:27 AM Rating: Good
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The only thing I don't deal with is calculus. Everything else, I deal with regularly.

As for cursive, the only real need i see for it is for signatures. I honestly do not see printed as an option for that.
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#15 Aug 29 2013 at 9:32 AM Rating: Decent
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If anything, they should start teaching typing at an earlier age. Like... maybe 3rd or 4th grade.
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#16 Aug 29 2013 at 9:39 AM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I learned cursive, and I can theoretically read it, and I can still barely read historical documents written in it. And I don't know of a single reason a non-history major would have any need to be reading historical documents that haven't already been placed in a digital format.
My grandparents write cursive, my grandfather's cursive is so hard to read that when he writes a letter it usually takes 3 people to decipher it.

So no historical documents but it's in cursive nonetheless.
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#17 Aug 29 2013 at 9:42 AM Rating: Good
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BrownDuck wrote:
If anything, they should start teaching typing at an earlier age. Like... maybe 3rd or 4th grade.

My kids had keyboarding in Middle School. Not sure if it was part of the laptops program back then or what.

I had typing in high school...and short-hand.

Anyone else learn short-hand?
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#18 Aug 29 2013 at 9:49 AM Rating: Excellent
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Elinda wrote:
Anyone else learn short-hand?
*raises hand*

We learned a little way back when. Don't ask me to use it or anything, but I remember it being in the books along side other writing things like "What's a verb" and "how to address an envelope." It was like this is short hand, people who need to write a lot fast use it, here are some examples. Now you try it. Wasn't that fun? Okay lets learn about pronouns.
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#19 Aug 29 2013 at 9:59 AM Rating: Good
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It is antiquated and hokey. I surmise teaching children how to type would be a far more profitable use of that allocated time.

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#20 Aug 29 2013 at 10:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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Anyone else learn short-hand?

No, but then they weren't equipping me to work in a 1940's steno pool either.
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#21 Aug 29 2013 at 11:01 AM Rating: Good
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I know of police short-hand for report taking. Still looks like the alphabet got drunk and threw up all over the place.
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#22 Aug 29 2013 at 12:13 PM Rating: Good
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Secretaries needed short-hand well past the 40's! Smiley: mad

I had one term of short-hand. It was a new fun tool to write our girly back and forth notes with.

Now the only secretaries are cabinet positions.
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#23 Aug 29 2013 at 12:26 PM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
Now the only secretaries are cabinet positions.


Oh, they still exist, but now they give them fancy titles like "Administrative Assistants".
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#24 Aug 29 2013 at 12:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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I call mine a minion.
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#25 Aug 29 2013 at 2:15 PM Rating: Good
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I say yes, they should be taught cursive strictly so that they will have to write without a computer. Put the emphasis on spelling and maybe I won't feel the need to gouge my eyes out while reading half of the messages I do at work.
#26 Aug 29 2013 at 2:27 PM Rating: Good
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xantav wrote:
I say yes, they should be taught cursive strictly so that they will have to write without a computer. Put the emphasis on spelling and maybe I won't feel the need to gouge my eyes out while reading half of the messages I do at work.


You know how else they can be taught to write without a computer? Standard print.
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#27 Aug 29 2013 at 3:23 PM Rating: Decent
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Learning cursive is mandatory? I never really learned it until high school when my german teacher wrote in it exclusively. It was "taught" for about 10 minutes in third grade or whatever, but i never learned it. Fortunately most letters are basically the same, so reading it is manageable without any previous knowledge, but it takes me much much longer to read than regular print. I have never been able to write cursive.
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#28 Aug 29 2013 at 3:26 PM Rating: Good
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My cursive was better than my print for many years.

Now that I type primarily, they're both rotten.

I'm in the 'teach people to read it but not necessarily to write it any more' camp. That's easy enough to do with some fancy fonts in Word.

Edited, Aug 29th 2013 5:26pm by Catwho
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#29 Aug 29 2013 at 3:54 PM Rating: Decent
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Cursive is one of those things that probably should have been eliminated decades ago, but continued to be taught, more or less out of the assumption that each generation should know how to read/write it because the last generation was. It hasn't actually served a purpose since the invention of the ball point pen. I don't think it was as big a deal until computers came along and everyone started communicating with type rather than by hand. But yeah, now's a great opportunity to put the whole thing to bed IMO.
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#30 Aug 29 2013 at 6:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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It probably has some benefits. I have no idea if it has enough to justify the cost.

I used to write in a fine, even script. Now I can barely decipher my own scratchings. Ah, well.
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#31 Aug 29 2013 at 6:46 PM Rating: Good
I say split the difference and make them learn Fraktur.
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#32 Aug 29 2013 at 7:06 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm all for learning cursive. When I write by hand, I use a combination of print and cursive and I think it's much faster than simply writing in print and less intensive than cursive writing. I'm less concerned about cursive writing and more concerned about the fact that we don't fully use the metric system. At least cursive writing is used in other countries.
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#33 Aug 29 2013 at 7:11 PM Rating: Good
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Almalieque wrote:
When I write by hand, I use a combination of print and cursive write sloppy because it's faster.
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#34 Aug 29 2013 at 7:15 PM Rating: Default
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TirithRR wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
When I write by hand, I use a combination of print and cursive write sloppy because it's faster.


? I guarantee if you look at your own hand writing, you will see elements of both. (if you were taught both). People naturally loop their p's, q's, etc. out of habit.
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#35 Aug 29 2013 at 7:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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That's not what makes cursive cursive though. The point of cursive is to write with a minimum amount of lifting the pen tip from the page. It developed out of the necessity of dealing with ink quills back before we had things like ball point pens. The quill was dipped in ink, with the surface tension of the ink drawn into the narrow quill tip holding it in place until you touched it to the paper. But once touched down, you had to keep it on the page as much as possible until the ink was expended or you'd get drops all over the place. In cursive each letter should flow into the next letter allowing you to minimize the number of times you might have to lift the quill from the paper between dipping for more ink. Simply putting a bit more curve or loop into letters while still separating them from each other has nothing to do with writing in cursive.

Obviously, since no one has used quills and ink pots to write for the better part of a century, it's long past time we got rid of cursive. It was not developed to be easier to read (cause it's not), nor to be faster to write (cause it's not). We continued to use it even after modern pens were invented more out of inertia than anything else. As long as we were still writing by hand, why not continue to teach people to write in the same style? There wasn't a super need to change. But now that nearly all correspondence is done by typing, I don't think we need to teach kids how to write anything other than print characters.

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#36 Aug 29 2013 at 8:24 PM Rating: Default
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Gbaji wrote:
That's not what makes cursive cursive though. The point of cursive is to write with a minimum amount of lifting the pen tip from the page.

...

In cursive each letter should flow into the next letter allowing you to minimize the number of times you might have to lift the quill from the paper between dipping for more ink.


Exactly. I made the assumption that you would connect the two together. Take the word "together". If I were to write it, I would continue the loop from the "g" to the letter "e"; likewise with the letters "h" and "e". If you look at your handwriting, I'm sure that you probably do the same thing. It's no different than your signature. People don't always use the cursive letter for every letter in their name (if it's even a letter).

Gbaji wrote:
I don't think we need to teach kids how to write anything other than print characters.


You wouldn't be embarrassed if you, or your child, weren't able to read cursive in a group of people that could? I would rather focus on the Metric system rather than cursive writing.
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#37 Aug 29 2013 at 8:44 PM Rating: Good
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The only time my letters blend together is when I'm using one of those stupid gel pens and it leaks. I may double over on a letter P, d, b, etc and end up making the upright portion look like a loop, but my letters are still separate. And my signature is pretty just just a bunch of scribbles these days. Occasionally it looks like the cursive leters, but most of the time it's just "up down up down up down up down slash"
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#38 Aug 29 2013 at 9:50 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
I say split the difference and make them learn Fraktur.

I did calligraphy as a hobby when I was younger, for about three days.
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#39 Aug 29 2013 at 9:51 PM Rating: Good
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Almalieque wrote:
TirithRR wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
When I write by hand, I use a combination of print and cursive write sloppy because it's faster.


? I guarantee if you look at your own hand writing, you will see elements of both. (if you were taught both). People naturally loop their p's, q's, etc. out of habit.

Nope.
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#40 Aug 29 2013 at 11:33 PM Rating: Decent
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Debalic wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
TirithRR wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
When I write by hand, I use a combination of print and cursive write sloppy because it's faster.


? I guarantee if you look at your own hand writing, you will see elements of both. (if you were taught both). People naturally loop their p's, q's, etc. out of habit.

Nope.


Maybe not you, but there is a noticeable number of people. I used to think that I had a "unique handwriting", until I start studying how people write. I noticed that people indeed loop their letters into the following letter because it's easier and more convenient than having to lift up your hand. That isn't true for all letters or all people, but definitely for some, especially signatures.
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#41 Aug 29 2013 at 11:37 PM Rating: Decent
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TirithRR wrote:
And my signature is pretty just just a bunch of scribbles these days. Occasionally it looks like the cursive leters, but most of the time it's just "up down up down up down up down slash"
I used to at least start with an R to sign my name. Not anymore though; it's just scribbles.

I do however connect some of my letters when writing, as alma is talking about. Particular with e, l, i, and t. It's pretty silly when i write "little" in cursive but nothing else Smiley: laugh
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#42 Aug 30 2013 at 5:41 AM Rating: Good
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This thread is giving me culture shock.
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#43 Aug 30 2013 at 6:11 AM Rating: Good
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If I do have to write anything beyond a shopping list, I typically use script. It's faster and funner.
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#44 Aug 30 2013 at 7:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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TirithRR wrote:
Occasionally it looks like the cursive leters, but most of the time it's just "up down up down up down up down slash"
Mine has gone full Parkinson's.
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#45 Aug 30 2013 at 8:11 AM Rating: Good
My cursive is bad. I don't remember a handful of letter, or the right way to connect them.
I hate reading cursive, as a "personal" style makes each person's cursive different.
When I was in school it was taught in 3rd grade, and we had to write in it up until I was in the 7th grade. Once in Jr.High and we had to start taking notes for different classes, the teachers didn't care. It was our notes.

I do still sign my name is cursive. My signature, something I hate to look at, looks like that 3rd grader who learned how to write his name Smiley: glare

To the OP poll: Maybe teach it, to learn how to read it, but not force it.

Edited, Aug 30th 2013 9:12am by Sandinmygum
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#46 Aug 30 2013 at 8:22 AM Rating: Good
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Yeah. I had given up on my signature. Then I got a job where my signature would sometimes be on things. I pretty much spent four hours training my hand to make it look presentable, scanned it in, and now digitally attach it wherever possible.

For times where that isn't possible... I just block those out.
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#47 Aug 30 2013 at 6:05 PM Rating: Decent
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Almalieque wrote:
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I don't think we need to teach kids how to write anything other than print characters.


You wouldn't be embarrassed if you, or your child, weren't able to read cursive in a group of people that could?


Well, I was talking about what we teach them to write, not what we teach them to read, but honestly if cursive is written clearly, reading it isn't an issue, even for someone who's never been taught it. As pointed out above, the issue with reading cursive is that most people don't write it clearly, so it's hard to read even if you've been taught it and used it all your life. Someone who's never been taught to read or write anything but printed letters, upon being exposed to something typeset in cursive should be able to make it out just fine. It's not like the letters are not still recognizable (with a couple minor exceptions which should be easy to adjust for when reading).
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#48 Aug 30 2013 at 6:42 PM Rating: Default
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gbaji wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
Gbaji wrote:
I don't think we need to teach kids how to write anything other than print characters.


You wouldn't be embarrassed if you, or your child, weren't able to read cursive in a group of people that could?


Well, I was talking about what we teach them to write, not what we teach them to read, but honestly if cursive is written clearly, reading it isn't an issue, even for someone who's never been taught it. As pointed out above, the issue with reading cursive is that most people don't write it clearly, so it's hard to read even if you've been taught it and used it all your life. Someone who's never been taught to read or write anything but printed letters, upon being exposed to something typeset in cursive should be able to make it out just fine. It's not like the letters are not still recognizable (with a couple minor exceptions which should be easy to adjust for when reading).


OP wrote:
The issue sort of grabbed some attention when one of the Trayvon Martin witnesses was unable to read a note written in cursive.


I was in reference to this. As long as stuff is still written in cursive, we should teach students how to write in cursive and give them the option if they want to forget it or not. Given the amount of time we spend in school, I'm sure there is plenty of time that can be devoted to cursive writing with no loss towards anything else.
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Demea wrote:
Almalieque wrote:

I'm biased against statistics
#49 Aug 30 2013 at 7:15 PM Rating: Good
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Almalieque wrote:
OP wrote:
The issue sort of grabbed some attention when one of the Trayvon Martin witnesses was unable to read a note written in cursive.


I was in reference to this. As long as stuff is still written in cursive, we should teach students how to write in cursive and give them the option if they want to forget it or not. Given the amount of time we spend in school, I'm sure there is plenty of time that can be devoted to cursive writing with no loss towards anything else.


Given her age while still in high school, I have a sneaking suspicion that her inability to read the letter wasn't just because it was written in cursive. There was presumably a reason why she dictated it to someone else to write rather than write it herself. And, as a couple of us have pointed out, difficulty in reading cursive has less to do with whether someone has learned to write it, as whether the specific thing you are reading was written in clear cursive. Anyone with a reasonable reading capability should be able to read cursive, even if they've never been taught to write it. The letters just aren't that different.
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More words please
#50 Aug 30 2013 at 7:49 PM Rating: Default
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gbaji wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
OP wrote:
The issue sort of grabbed some attention when one of the Trayvon Martin witnesses was unable to read a note written in cursive.


I was in reference to this. As long as stuff is still written in cursive, we should teach students how to write in cursive and give them the option if they want to forget it or not. Given the amount of time we spend in school, I'm sure there is plenty of time that can be devoted to cursive writing with no loss towards anything else.


Given her age while still in high school, I have a sneaking suspicion that her inability to read the letter wasn't just because it was written in cursive. There was presumably a reason why she dictated it to someone else to write rather than write it herself. And, as a couple of us have pointed out, difficulty in reading cursive has less to do with whether someone has learned to write it, as whether the specific thing you are reading was written in clear cursive. Anyone with a reasonable reading capability should be able to read cursive, even if they've never been taught to write it. The letters just aren't that different.


I understand, but that doesn't take away from my point in teaching it in school. It doesn't take that much time to teach it, allow the students to forget it if they choose not to use it.
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Demea wrote:
Almalieque wrote:

I'm biased against statistics
#51 Aug 30 2013 at 8:34 PM Rating: Decent
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Yeah. I had given up on my signature. Then I got a job where my signature would sometimes be on things. I pretty much spent four hours training my hand to make it look presentable

Type your name underneath is like a normal person? Anyone I know who worked anywhere they had to sign for many things (including me) has a signature that's basically, at most, 2 legible letters and a line.
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