As we have looked at a number of times on this blog, cursive handwriting, or writing “longhand,” may be going the way of the proverbial dodo bird. Extinct. Think what that can mean to our society, and to the civilization our progeny will inherit.
The teaching of cursive handwriting is being dropped from the approved school curricula in state after state, and even our neighbors to the north are seeing the same thing happen with penmanship being dropped from Canada’s Common Core State Standards.
While foregoing the instruction of handwriting may, at first, appear to be a practical move in the wave of technological advances, something very crucial will also be lost along the way.
As journalist Andrew Coyne so eloquently puts it in his article “Putting Words on Paper – How We Write Affects What We Write,” tapping into your intuition is a critical part of writing, and indeed of thinking.
“That process of letting your mind rummage about in its library, subconsciously comparing words until it finds the right one, may sound vague, or aimless: but it’s really about precision. I know of poets, who value precision in words more than anyone, who refuse to write on a computer for this very reason,” says Coyne.
How we write, explains Coyne, affects what we write. We compose in a different way using pen and ink than we do on a computer. We think in a different way. You’re using different parts of the brain.
Typing is file retrieval, remembering where a letter is. With handwriting, you create the letters anew each time, using much more complex motor skills, and engaging the more intuitive, right-brain aspects of cognition.
We are becoming different people now, says Coyne. Our brains are almost certainly being restructured by interacting with computers all day long, and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that.
“But it would be a shame if that were all we knew,” Coyne writes. “If one day we found ourselves cut off from our ancestors, unable to fully comprehend the thoughts they composed in longhand, having even forgotten how they compose them.”
Read Andrew Coyne’s article.
Photo Credit: jonathanshipley.blogspot.com