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Arguments Against Cursive Writing

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Why cursive? Educational policymakers pose this question as they face the increasingly digital and app-based twenty-first century, a world in which the curls and flourishes of longhand seem increasingly outmoded. But I pulled out my favorite pen and thought of ten reasons.

1. Cursive Helps People Integrate Knowledge
According to David Perkins, in his new book “Future Wise,” we are not teaching what really matters in schools. So much of educational focus now is on achieving a significant body of knowledge and expertise, and gaining enough mastery of a subject to answer multiple-choice tests. Eventually, that knowledge fades.

What matters? Skills. How to read. How to write. How to research. How to think. How to learn.

As Dr. William Klemm argues in Psychology Today, “Cursive writing helps train the brain to integrate visual, and tactile information, and fine motor dexterity. School systems, driven by ill-informed ideologues and federal mandate, are becoming obsessed with testing knowledge at the expense of training kids to develop better capacity for acquiring knowledge.”

NPR makes this point, albeit arguing the fight over cursive is missing the boat. There is not enough old-fashioned composition
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The significant cognitive demands of writing combined with the added cognitive load of physically writing means it is important for a student to be able to handwrite effortlessly. As the author indicates, lacking fluency in handwriting causes difficulty in composition, as thoughts cannot get on the page fast enough. In addition, the student cannot focus on the sequencing and higher-order thoughts essential to composition. The relationship between handwriting and composition quality is even seen on MRI, with the brains of those with good handwriting activated in more areas associated with cognition, language, and executive function than the brains of those with poor
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