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Will cursive writing become a thing of the past?

Emily Manns | Fulcrum Staff

IN OUR RUSH to become more tech savvy, it is inevitable that certain outdated and “useless” things get discarded along the way. I’ve replaced my portable cassette player and typewriter with an iPod and laptop respectively.

While I’m happy about those particular swaps, there are some historical relics that shouldn’t have an expiration date and should remain an integral part of our lives. Cursive writing is one of those things. If future generations can’t read or write in cursive, then there will be some problems.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, elementary schools are considering changing their curriculum so that cursive writing is no longer mandatory. Instead, they wish to emphasize keyboard proficiency, which shouldn’t be too difficult a task considering the number of hours kids these days spend on Facebook and Twitter. I guess when you take into account that comScore reported that about 6.5 million Canadians owned a smart phone as of 2011, it only makes sense for teaching methods to keep pace with technology. Still, there is merit to holding on to the more traditional ways of learning.

“I write predominantly in cursive, especially when taking notes, because it’s quicker,” said Hilary Oudyk, a third-year humanities student at Carleton University.

Based on my own three years of university experience, I can definitely vouch for the efficiency of handwritten note-taking—but that isn’t the only benefit to having mastered this art form. There are things that can be accomplished with cursive writing that can’t be by digital means.

“Keyboard proficiency is very important for typing professional documents, but I don’t see it as a replacement for handwriting,” said Rebecca Maloney, a third-year linguistics student at Carleton. “At least for me, there is something very personal about handwritten thank-you notes and invitations. Call me sentimental, but you just can’t get that effect from typing or printing.”

Perhaps schools are jumping the gun in considering ditching cursive writing. It may fall into disuse eventually, but for the time being it should remain a vital part of learning in elementary school. Every child should have the chance to experience the thrill that comes from connecting letters in one fluid motion, and the satisfaction of having created something personal and beautiful.