Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Look inside the classrooms of today. A pen and paper have taken a back seat to computers, and Microsoft Office is used more often than handwriting.
But some South Carolina legislators think that no matter how advanced technology becomes, students should learn cursive.
The Back to Basics Education Act of 2013 (H 3905) would require students to learn cursive by the time they reach the fifth grade. Cursive lessons have not been included in the state’s required curriculum since 2000.
Rep. Norman “Doug” Brannon, one of the 13 Republicans among the bill’s 19 sponsors, said writing in cursive is still a relevant skill, despite the fact that students may communicate only with technology.
“But until you get to a situation which the business world is dealing just in electronics, you’re going to have an issue,” he said.
It isn’t just some in corporate America and legislators who think cursive needs to be taught, though. Here’s what a few professionals and parents had to say about the place of cursive writing in modern-day life.
Cynthia Grosso is the owner of the Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette.
“Etiquette says the words ‘thank you’ are words you should handwrite yourself. A proper thank-you is not an email and is not a text,” Grosso said.
An etiquette teacher for corporate professionals and children, Grosso said she’s seen the significance of cursive for people no matter their age.
“Formal letter writing is still important,” she said.
“It teaches us socialization, but also in personal situations, it’s not very appropriate to type a note.”
She added that cursive helps in formal situations, such as signing legal documents.
“How will our children sign a lease if they don’t know cursive?” she said.
Often overlooked is the relevance of being able to read cursive, she said, not just write it.
Grosso is teaching her stepson, Jacob, to write in cursive.
“Once Jacob understood the ‘why’ part of cursive, he got very into it,” Grosso said. “He realized he couldn’t study history and couldn’t sign his name, so now he’s excited about learning it.”
Grosso said the way to successfully teach cursive is to empower children to learn it by showing them its significance.
“The personal branding aspect of things, people pay attention to detail,” she said. “They don’t realize it speaks loudly about them, and this is what we need to remind the future generations.”
Despite the support for cursive in many circles, some businesses and recruiters still favor technology.
Sherry McAdams, director of USC Upstate’s Career Center, thinks cursive is a thing of past.
“I look at dozens of resumes and cover letters, and no one ever includes that they’re good at cursive,” McAdams said. “This is a technologically driven world, and there really is no need for cursive anymore.”