I came across something disturbing the other day with 9th graders and I wanted to hear your thoughts/experiences. It's a known fact that many students are reading and writing below grade level. But what I experienced was disheartening. I handed out a short report (easy reading) that was written in cursive. 1/2 the students handed it back to me and said, "I can't read this.' I almost fell on the floor. I explained that this is cursive. (I don't know why I even tried to explain, since they already indicated to me that it was useless to them.) Long story short, those who couldn't read it said they were never taught it? How can this be? Are programs like NCLB and SFA missing the basic fundamentals of learning?

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Well, it sounds like negative generalizations to me. "A general lack in skill mastery of any sort". Really? "We only teach for the moment"? Hmmm. Maybe your school really is that bad, but many are not. If yours is, then that is something you should really address as a district to realign your learning priorities.
Here is my two cents. Cursive is taking an object...pen or pencil and making a mark on an object..paper, walls etc. That is what media has been for a long time. With a computer it does not make a mark on an obeject...you manipulate the information to suit your needs or desires. Text messaging, email, msn do not use cursive. To me this is another example of how we speak a common language with different accents. For example if I run into a problem with a software program I will go to an manual...the kids will just play with the program and find out what to do...we are both doing the same thing based on our age just with a different accent. I use a pen ....they use text...same goal different accents.

It is us who have to let go of what was and see what is and adapt to it...it will not be adapting to us no matter how hard we try...we are the past generation.
I'm about to embark on a teacher-selected research project. I was in her classroom one day showing the kids the PowerPoint project they will eventually get to. They were all so excited, until they marched into the computer lab with paper and pencil to write their notes. They will rewrite the notes until they are neat, then type them into a Word document, then those who finish that on time can make the PowerPoint. All so that we can asses all the steps to the research/writing process. I've seen their writing, and many of these kiddos are not going to make it to the the typing part of it any time soon. There's got to be a happy medium somewhere.
Great way to turn off students to active learning. If they did not have access to a computer it would be different. Lt the kids be creative, this is 2010. My students write everyday for 5 minutes and this is because it is a warmup activity.
Unfortunately, many of the teachers don't want it this way, but it comes from building leadership. It doesn't "count" if it isn't 5 paragraphs, with an introduction, 3 detail paragraphs, and a conclusion. Typed, double spaced, and perfect.... Many of the teachers would love to break free, but how do we counter some of the old attitudes by leaders about cursive, writing, and learning in general? That's my next question for discussion...
Have data to back up your argument. Kids still need to learn to write, because writing assessments are pencil/pen and paper. When they get into the real world, they may be asked to write reports manually, not on a computer. Teach our kids real world skills.
We've all raised some very good points. Bottom line is, it's about finding the right balance.
It was interesting to read these posts. I went back to school/university during mid-life and when a blue book came around I panicked. Even at my age I tend to print fast or in poor cursive (it used to be great writing.) It became unusual for Professors not to accept Word documents for tests, but I think your surprise is about technology as much as anything else. You did not say they can't read (as someone else here mentioned) you just said they cannot read cursive. Somehow I do not find that too strange.
I teach dyslexic students. I was told (I haven't the numbers to back it up but there are several websites which agree) that cursive is of particular value to dyslexic students.

"Some dyslexic children experience difficulty memorizing the sequen...

"The best help for improving handwriting and memorizing spellings i...

Historically cursive was taught first to our nation's children. Tod...

If learning to print is causing difficulty for students with disabi...

Cursive has been severely neglected in our state because it wasn't on the state-administered test. As a result, we have 10 years worth of students unable to read or write cursive.
I have given up on pushing cursive. After all, that won't keep them out of college and many of my students print at warp speed. What I won't compromise on is the need for them to learn to type. As more teachers are requiring their work to be typed, I wonder if cursive should be pushed. Please remember that my perspective comes from the high school ELLs I teach who all arrive without training in cursive. Most are also 3-4 years behind academically.


Denise

www.ellteacherpros.com

www.teachingsuccesseswithells.blogspot.com
I have given up on pushing cursive. After all, that won't keep them out of college and many of my students print at warp speed. What I won't compromise on is the need for them to learn to type. As more teachers are requiring their work to be typed, I wonder if cursive should be pushed. Please remember that my perspective comes from the high school ELLs I teach who all arrive without training in cursive. Most are also 3-4 years behind academically.


Denise

www.ellteacherpros.com

www.teachingsuccesseswithells.blogspot.com
Not to beat a dead horse, but if handwriting is outdated, then so are the creators of the new SAT tests.

What are the SAT's? The SAT has been defined as "the best independent, standardized measure of a student's college readiness. It is standardized across all students, schools, and states—providing a common and objective scale for comparison." http://askville.amazon.com/purpose-SAT-scores/AnswerViewer.do?reque...

Here is a link that talks about the new SAT test that requires an essay to be handwritten. Here are some quotes from the article:
"Most high-school students do not remember cursive. We learned it in fourth or fifth grade and have not been required to use it. This was definitely the hardest thing on the test!"

"the new SAT essay section is going to be difficult for test-takers who have grown overly dependent on computer software to catch grammar or spelling mistakes."

"There are still jobs and incidents when handwriting is still the most efficient way of written communication," she said.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002206209_sat13m.html

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