- Cullman, Alabama

April 9, 2013

EDITORIAL: Hands off the keyboards

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The digital age has brought a lot of challenges to society, including one very important debate that is gripping the education community.

The rise of computers and smartphones for texting has made penmanship an afterthought in some circles. Why should you learn to print letters or engage in cursive writing when a keyboard is so handy?

Arguments to drop cursive writing from the classroom have plenty of reasons to stand on. Creating a paperless world and taking advantage of technology in the classroom may have benefits for students, but the ability to understand language could well be lost in this tap and send world.

The need to teach cursive writing goes beyond tradition, because it’s a skill that brings students closer to language. A student who sits down to write a book report or essay must focus and think deeply about the subject.

Proponents of cursive writing point to research noting that handwriting may improve students’ cognitive and motor skills development, enhance literacy and help retention of what students learn. There is also concern among educators that a keyboarding-only generation will become more introverted and less able to express themselves creatively.

Using technology as a teaching tool is great. And most people agree that technical skills will be valuable from this point forward. Nonetheless, erasing proven methods of learning is inviting more illiteracy into society. Penmanship should remain an important, mandatory part of education. Too many factors point to its value.