Tuesday, April 17, 2012

“Write” of Passage”

Thanks to Mrs. Sharon Caines, a dedicated 6th grade teacher, who wrote this article and allowed us to print it.

What is Cursive Writing?  It is an interlocking, twisting, turning, intricate dance that is done with pen on paper to create a fluid and continuous flow of the written word that artfully glides across one’s page. After witnessing over 25 years of the deterioration of the handwriting skill fall into an abyss of virtually non-writers, I became determined to take action about the lack of writing skills.  My Principal initiated the idea and we developed it together.  It was rejuvenating to know that my Principal was in total agreement with me.  We both shared a common vision.  Our goal was to revive the skill and beauty of penmanship.
Cursive writing unlocks the mystery of literature.  Even the constitution that once was elusive like a foreign language became comprehensible to students.  Cursive writing encourages concentration and ultimately produces an independent and legible written product.
I have found that males are better users of the script form, because they feel it resembles the fluid movement of graffiti.  Males tend to write better in script than print format.  The females as well are better in script format.  The script format is beautiful and appealing - almost artful and intricate in production.  Printing however interrupts the smooth and natural flow of thought.  The Print Style fractures thinking patterns that produce choppy, illegible (lump) group of words together.  It is poor in appearance of a written piece of work.
How can we be a part of the Global Community if our students cannot write their signature in script form, apply for a job application, or a driver’s license?  The other side is that printing, which is taught first in school, is in no better shape than the script form.  Students do not have sufficient time to master the skill of writing.
Why is it when documents require a signature, our children “print” their names?  From filling out applications for summer employment, to healthcare documents, and W2 forms, students struggle with writing their names in script.  Will society reverse to the time of placing an “X” where a person’s legal script is required on a document?
Economic Recession conditions today have thrust us into a situation whereby going back to basics is more reliable and cost effective.  The constant maintenance of computers is a price outside most families’ basic needs.  Costly computer and printer maintenance do take a toll on the family financial means.  Ironically, however the State Standardize Exams given in public schools require students to take independent notes from a given Read Aloud passage.  The Basic Test Skills (BICS) screams for us to step back, reflect, and regroup on the need to teach writing as a skill in the classroom.
We reinvented the wheel so many times that we forgot to screw it on with the bolt.  Even with the emergence of hand held computers –Ipad, Tablet etc not everyone (especially the school system) can afford to purchase these items.  The act of simply jotting down a grocery list, a phone number has become so complicated and difficult for our students.
The rewards to knowing and mastering the Writing Skills are overwhelming.  Students that have learned Script marvel at their accomplishments and exhibit a sense of confidence, fulfillment and independence.  This positive achievement spills over into other core subject areas.  The students become critical linear thinkers.
We cannot afford to lose cursive writing skills to the computer or any new technology.  The freedom of writing thoughts on parchment is an act and ability which will outlive any new digital device which can be erased and lost through one push of a button or a power surge of electricity---ZAP!!!...AND NO HARD COPY!!
 Submitted: Sharon C. Caines
                  Organizational Skills/Penmanship Teacher
                  Thomas C. Giordano School-M.S. 45
                   Bronx, New York

1 comment:

  1. You mentioned cursive handwriting around the world. What do you think of the current handwriting style of schools in the Czech Republic? Here's a video of that style in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1huE2sj6ZuE