Cursive writing isn’t taught as frequently anymore in schools around the United States, and even printing is becoming obsolete. I still remember when I was in the second and third grade, we were taught how to write cursive. And to this day, I can’t say I use it often. But I do switch to cursive when printing becomes too tedious.
I’ve noticed, as have my peers, that kids these days are no longer being taught how to write in cursive. As well, handwriting is quickly becoming a thing of the past. I rarely see people in my classes using notebooks to take notes; it is all laptops and iPads these days.
For one, technology has made it increasingly difficult for students to learn how to properly print their own names and words, especially in cursive. Some young adults don’t even know how to sign their own names on checks or documents where signatures are needed. While it is not necessarily important to know how to write in cursive, kids these days still need to learn how to print. Not only because we are slowly being dominated by technology, but because there are benefits to writing by hand and cursive. A study from Van der Meer shows data that cursive handwriting primed the brain for learning by synchronizing brain waves and stimulating brain energy, which is helpful for learning and memorizing text and what you’re writing down. This is especially important in this day and age where students are struggling to remember what they’ve learned in school and is most important for neurodivergent students, who have more struggles understanding and memorizing material.
Learning handwriting helps children learn how to successfully read. This is because the brain activates a reading circuit that helps with the recruitment in the letter processing area of the brain. This is essential for young children learning how to read. Also, if a child tries to learn how to successfully write on a computer, it may cause harm. For one, looking at a computer for long stretches of time may cause eyestrain. This will make it increasingly difficult for a child or young student to learn how to write when they aren’t able to fully focus on what they’re doing. What’s more, computers crash, and a lot of times you can’t pull up a document without the internet. There is also the issue of a student not having the money or resources to learn typing, which is completely different than handwriting.
That’s another huge reason why handwriting shouldn’t disappear from classrooms. Typing is not the same as writing something down by hand. It works in different ways. When you write something down by hand, it takes more time, which helps the brain to focus more on what it’s writing down and therefore a child may be able to memorize and understand better. This is especially helpful for children with ADHD, ADD and Dyslexia, as handwriting requires using more motor skills than typing does, which in turn helps activate the part of a child’s brain that relates to motor skills.
The entire point of typing is to be able to write something down quicker and I can say personally that I do not always take in what I am writing if it’s on a laptop. If I hand write stuff down, I’ll understand it a lot better. This may not be true for everyone and sometimes it is easier to write on a laptop, but we still should not lose the art of handwriting, because then we may lose parts of the brain that need handwriting to process material in a more effective way. As well, handwriting is completely unique to each individual. No two people write the same and when you type something on a laptop, it loses that unique style that is important for young students to have.
I understand that it’s easier to type on Google Docs or Microsoft Word in a technology-dominated world. But we must understand that losing the ability to write by hand is quite the same as losing a way to understand what you’re learning.