Let’s Bring It Back….Penmanship and Spelling

I have never had amazing handwriting. I’m usually in a hurry when I hand-write documents. However, in my defense, when writing slower, I have very legible handwriting. Obviously, I should begin slowing down and doing a better job more often.

As a history teacher, I get to see a lot of student writings. Granted, some have beautiful handwriting.  You can tell they had practice and someone at home working with them. The vast majority, unfortunately, have abysmal writing and their lack of penmanship is clear.

Part of the problem is technology. Schools stress the importance of technology and integrating it into the classroom. Teachers are appraised and judged on their ability to use technology with their lessons. Computers are very important in a global market and for a future of heavy tech use. That said, there are still many times that people need to be able to hand write and they must have some sort of training so that people can read what they write. Many of my junior high kids have the same handwriting skills as my 5 year old cousin. I’m not even kidding.

Here’s another problem. They can’t write in cursive. Since they can’t write in cursive, they cannot even read cursive. When asked to sign their name, they are forced to print due to no penmanship or handwriting training. They won’t be able to read any handwritten historical document or signature.

Spelling is also affected because of tech reliance. Students are so used to spellcheck and texting that they cannot spell basic words. Even words that they should be expected to know at their given age. As an English teacher the past two years, I attempted to stress spelling and cursive in my class, only to receive a lot of backlash from the administration because I was “not aligned with the STAAR training.” I was told not to do any more spelling or cursive training and instead, focus on reading and writing comprehension. That made no sense to me and still doesn’t.

Please stress spelling and penmanship with your children. We are losing some of our foundation to be able to read and write. What happens if computers all stop working? Chaos.

Be part of the solution and demand that cursive be brought back to the classroom.

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