Is there really any point in children learning “Handwriting” in the 21st Century?
When I say handwriting, I mean cursive. We live in a digital age in which our children are surrounded by digital text and typography. Hand written letters to grandparents have been replaced by emails or Skype or FaceTime. I am 44 yrs old. I email, Text Message and “Whats App” everyone. I have over 30 notes on my iPhone. Instead of rummaging through my handbag trying to find that scrappy bit of paper I have scribbled my weekly shopping list on, I now have it to hand on my iPhone. I didn’t plan it this way, it just happened.
I’m not concerned or scared or skeptical about technology like many people of my generation. I have a dream of what technology might look like in the future, and it’s not frightening but beautiful.
I have struggled with Dyslexia all my life and to be honest, handwriting just got in my way. When I got to use my first ever computer to write my essays on in university it was liberating and look at me now; an author of TWO blogs, articles published in magazines and I’ve even written a “short” book (and currently working on a novel). I didn’t know I could write, I didn’t know I had anything worth saying, I was nervous as soon as I put pen to paper until I started using computers. When I left school at sixteen years old, I went to work in an office. My role was to file papers and make tea for the boss. I resigned myself to believing this was going to be my life, that I was incapable of doing anything else. I had no idea that inside me was a river of creativity trying to get out!
Dyslexia is a label, given to people who’s brains work differently to the standardised way we are told we are supposed to learn and be in this world. I have heard stories from many parents about how their child ‘s confidence grew and their world expanded, once they had been given access to an Ipad or Computer.
Teaching children to learn handwriting belongs to the last century. Children always want to embrace the century they are born into. Of course, if a child wants to learn how to do handwriting as it is something they enjoy, then they should be allowed to do so but forcing every child to learn is pointless. I wonder, will even printing become redundant in the next twenty years and maybe typing will too? Quite possibly. Look how popular Youtube, Snapchat and Instagram are with the younger generation. These are visual-based platforms with very little text involved.
I am not going to join the fear mongers who predict the downfall of humanity due to technology. I believe in a more positive outlook. It really doesn’t matter if our children choose not to learn handwriting as they are the ones entering a future world where visual is king and that’s okay. It seems to be the natural progression of human consciousness, of evolution and we shouldn’t be afraid. Instead, we should embrace it and enjoy the creativity, and the opportunities it may bring to many more children who would have otherwise been left behind by an educational system that belongs to the last century.