Do we need to teach children joined-up handwriting?

The US state of Illinois has passed a law requiring school students to learn joined-up handwriting, or “cursive”, overriding the governor’s veto.

It is no longer a requirement in US schools, and some countries have dropped the skill from the curriculum or made it optional.

Why, then, do some – like the UK – still insist on it in a digital age? Shouldn’t children learn to type effectively instead?

Goodbye writing

While victorious Illinois senators claimed the skill was essential, the reality is that many adults no longer write much by hand.

A 2012 survey of 2,000 adults by UK mailing firm Docmail found that on average, it had been 41 days since respondents wrote – and that two-thirds of us only write short notes like shopping lists.

The clear, blocky “print” style that children are first taught is enough for that purpose. And for an increasing number of young children, that’s where their training ends.

US states such as Indiana have dropped joined-up writing entirely; Finland phased out handwriting lessons; and Indian schools are reportedly abandoning it.

The usual argument is that the time investment could be used to teach modern skills such as typing or coding instead.

But is there a benefit to hours spent painstakingly copying the joined alphabet?

Read more here.

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