Changes in Handwriting Education Leaves Teens with Poor Penmanship

In an age where most written communication is done on screens, handwriting and penmanship is falling by the wayside, as 46 states have adopted the Common Core Standard curriculum, which does not include cursive writing instruction.  A article reports on handwriting experts who note the sloppy penmanship among teen stars like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus as signals of a larger trend where the American educational system is producing “a nation of adults who write like children:”

…Teens who can’t write legibly — multimillionaire teen celebrities aside — do suffer. Even though many children use computers to write papers at home, most writing done within the school walls is still done by hand. (The country’s ongoing economic problems won’t likely add many computers to our nation’s public school classrooms in the next few years.)

“Without it [cursive handwriting] you lose the sense of having your thought process through your hand movements to create your language and thoughts to someone else,” says Michael Sull, a master penman in Spencerian script; past president of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting; and author of four books on handwriting including, “American Cursive Handwriting,” which was released last month. “There is a great loss in the progress that could be made with children fostering their motor skill development, literacy training and concepts of communication.”

Sloppiness makes the reader think the writer’s ideas aren’t any good, studies show. “If you have sloppy handwriting, people make [negative] judgments about the quality of your ideas,” says Steven Graham, professor of education at Vanderbilt University.

And poor handwriting slows down the writer. If you write slowly, your hand may not be able to keep up with your mind’s attempt to have a thought, form it into a sentence and remember it long enough to write it down. “Until you can do this skill quickly and without thinking, it will interfere with your output,” says Graham. “You better learn to write.”

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  1. by Maggie

    On September 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    It is very unfortunate that cursive handwriting has fallen away in the education process. I attended Catholic school and penmanship was a separate item on our report cards which received a grade. This is just one more thing that the American education system is taking away from our children, making them even less competitive in today’s global market.

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