cursiveWe are polar opposites concerning the need to teach cursive in grade school.

Although disagreeing, we both believe that the key issue is whether or not eliminating teaching cursive will reduce a student’s ability to communicate during their lifetime.

Even though the news was buried below the fold of the Saratogian, our local newspaper, we learned that Indiana has dropped the requirement to teach cursive and is now emphasizing keyboard skills. USA Today had, for them, a fairly long article about this debate more than two years ago.

As a former elementary-school teacher, my wife is upset with the change. Although she has much more credibility on this subject than I do, I believe that my point-of-view is equally valid. After all, my handwriting always has been terrible, and I don’t think this held me back in any way. Perhaps my poor handwriting even hid a few spelling errors, but that’s another subject.

Typing was the most useful course I took in any grade, including college. And I took this course only because a teacher told me that he’d flunk me if I didn’t take and pass typing since he couldn’t read my homework.

I wrote my college papers and some of my work for a couple of years on a typewriter (remember them?). The skill lay dormant for more than 20 years until my office got our first computers. It was great to discover that I could still type. While my peers were virtually unable to use their computers at first and had to rely on their assistants when this function still widely existed, I found that I could complete a lot of the work quicker myself.

Since then, I use the keyboard for most of my written communications and only use cursive for an occasional note and to sign my name on financial and legal documents.

My conclusion is to teach more of what’s practical that will help students be successful. My wife believes this is shortsighted and that we are eliminating an important skill. Doubt that we’ll agree on this.

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



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