University Writing Center Blog

Posted on April 16th, 2019 in Language by University Writing Center

By: Logan G.

The continual advancement of technology is ever-present in our lives, and its expanding branches have roots in our educational systems and curricula. Many aspects of education and early childhood development that were seen even twenty years ago are no longer relevant or necessary. In large part, the frequency with which children are using tablets, computers, and cell phones has caused a significant and sudden change in the prevalence of the written word.

Meaning it is disappearing. And fast.

Despite the influx and expansion of technology into the many facets of our lives, the written word still has a place within our world. Note-taking, signing legal documents, and writing lists/letters are a few of many examples of how handwriting still has relevance, need, and importance today. However, many elementary schools saw the abolition of teaching aspects of physical writing, such as cursive, in their curricula. A new Ohio law is seeking to change that by requiring students to be able to write in both print and cursive.

Journalist Natasha Anderson discussed how the law’s ideal goal is to aim “for students to be able to print letters and words by third grade and write legibly in cursive by fifth grade”. A noble goal, yes? At first glance, this seems late; to be roughly 9 years old by the time you’re able to physically write in print, and then 11 by the time you can write in cursive. After multiple discussions with individuals over the past week, I’ve found some individuals who thought this should be a required skill by the end of first grade, and others who did not think physical writing, primarily cursive, should be a required at all.

What do you think?

Does being able to physically write give individuals that hands-on connection and experience that allows them to engage with language further? In my opinion, yes, it certainly does. Should being able to type take precedence over the written word as time marches on? What sort of implications does this have for the younger generations? Should they learn how to physically create text at a younger age, or does mastery of digital technology take precedence?

Tumultuous times, indeed.

Continuing to teach print and cursive in schools is ongoing; like it or not. Whether this law either gains in popularity over time or vanishes into the void of irrelevance, only time will tell.