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Thread: Article: The Case for Cursive

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    Default Article: The Case for Cursive

    Epoch Times article includes pictures of a handwritten message President Abraham Lincoln sent to General George McClellan during the civil war, and others.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-ca...g_3054078.html
    Bob

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    Paper turns out to be a superb information-storage technology, still readable after five hundred years, which our own tweets won't likely be - Walter Isaacson, in Leonardo Da Vinci

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    I find this so true: “You know, writing is great for your memory. You remember 90 percent of what you write, but not of what you type.”

    I used to take notes in One Note for work and could never remember or even find anything. Since I started taking notes I find I remember details and can find them easier even without a "search function" (bullet journal index helps).

    That teacher sounds like my mom: After 35 years she retired then tutored another 5 years. I don't think she wanted to stop but her health got too bad.

    This is also very true for me: “Writing by hand is slower and more cumbersome than typing, and students cannot possibly write down every word in a lecture. Instead, they listen, digest, and summarize so that they can succinctly capture the essence of the information,”

    It seems like we in the US are so obsessed with progress and technology for its own sake and so enraptured by all things "new" that we reflexively categorize anything "old" as antiquated and obsolete before spending even a moment reflecting on whether the new thing is truly better than the old.

    Hobbyists like us come to realize old ways and old things can have advantages over the new.

    Even so, I find myself with a nagging worry that I am wrong, that I am just a luddite, a fuddy duddy, finally acting like the stereotypical old person who romanticizes "the good old days"—see how we scorn old things with our words and connotations?

    But no. Writing letters is better than Facebook. By a lot.

    Note taking in pen in cursive in a notebook is better than fumbling with a cumbersome app.

    Yet here we are, with a generation robbed of cursive literacy in the name of mindless, foolish pursuit of newness.

    But it seems all is not lost...

    https://m.theepochtimes.com/the-lost...k_2876817.html

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    "This is also very true for me: “Writing by hand is slower and more cumbersome than typing, and students cannot possibly write down every word in a lecture. Instead, they listen, digest, and summarize so that they can succinctly capture the essence of the information,”

    "It seems like we in the US are so obsessed with progress and technology for its own sake and so enraptured by all things "new" that we reflexively categorize anything "old" as antiquated and obsolete before spending even a moment reflecting on whether the new thing is truly better than the old."

    Indeed.

    All of my fellow students in first year college French use a pen to take notes in the usual college notebook.

    The converter in my MB 145 Chopin (Broad nib) holds enough ink for a day of taking notes as I study at home, and for two hours of class. Of course, I'm writing with J. Herbin Éclat de Saphir ink.
    Bob

    Paper cuts through the noise – Richard Moross, MOO CEO

    Paper turns out to be a superb information-storage technology, still readable after five hundred years, which our own tweets won't likely be - Walter Isaacson, in Leonardo Da Vinci

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    I learned cursive as early as I could, before it was even taught in school because I liked how it looked and it seemed like the secret language of adults and learning it was part of my desire to enter that world and grow up. I found my older brother's cursive practice book, never used, and used it myself. So I've always written in cursive. However, I dislike pseudoscience and baseless claims, of which this article is chock full.

    I find it so contradictory to praise cursive writing for helping you slow down or forcing you to summarise, while at the same time decrying printing. Is it this happy medium? I don't think so. Cursive is meant to help you speed up, it is simplified writing. People simplify it further with short hand or incomplete sentences. It is hard to listen and write at the same time; personally I think it's impossible. You're thinking about what they said 30 seconds ago, a minute, 2 minutes. You've lost track. Writing is really slow, and then you feel lost in the lecture and you didn't even get a chance to have your own thoughts and reaction. Or you did and now it's 5 minutes later. It was a godsend to me when I could finally use a laptop in class in university. Yes, lots of students get distracted by games or instant messaging, just like they get distracted by doodling or daydreaming. The screen may distract other students, or people who don't know how to turn the brightness down may disturb other students. But writing by hand is not better, and no you don't remember 90% of what you write down, not even close. You only remember what you're exposed to time and time again. Everything else falls out. Our own precious memories and personal experiences we only recall because we recall them frequently, because they are important to us. It takes a number of repetitions for it to really stick, and other than that something has to really trigger it and go deep into that poor unused neural pathway in our brain.

    I will say, not to be super negative, that computers are distraction machines with too many purposes and any kind of hand writing, not just cursive, is one means of helping yourself focus. But not during a lecture. And going for a walk and thinking over what you need to think over in your mind is even better, because a change of scenery can be very important to reducing tunnel vision and feeling more free in our thoughts.

    In my opinion, it's okay to like cursive writing just because you think it's pretty. But for speed, typing is better, for quiet contemplation, printing is just as good, and if you want to get a little extra speed in your quiet contemplation cursive is a little better but tends to become much less legible to others and teacher's margin scrawls are the perfect example of this. Even I who have always written in standard cursive always had to ask my teacher what their writing said on my reports. And hey, guess what, teachers always asked for reports to be printed by a computer, not hand written, because guess what reading student's handwriting is not ideal! And writing an essay at an exam for 3 hours what I could have typed in 1 was the absolute worst, let alone having two exams in one day and hardly being able to hold the pen toward the end of the second one! I gotta say, although I like taking some notes and prototyping with pen at work, school is the actual worst place for handwriting and I have only bad memories of it.

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    That is an interesting article and is probably true -- mostly. However, if you are an electronics, chemistry, math geek like I was, printing is the way to go. Want to see how an electrical engineer writes PROCCLK2ALU in cursive? Give it up. Math and chemical terms and symbols are a similar problem. Mixing printing and cursive in these instances make a rat's nest that would give you the lockjaw.

    In WWII and later, communications people were taught to translate from Morse code to upper and lower case print. Most of the letters were made with only one stroke. You can write legibly very quickly using this method.

    Don't get me wrong here; I am for teaching print, cursive, and keyboard. A kid will need them all. For fun, throw in some runes and blackletter.
    Written on a real computer and real keyboard with capital letters, punctuation, and everything.

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    I’m not a fan of using cursive writing but I would agree that the act of writing down increases retention.

    I print, small, and visually prefer to read printing. On a recent thread on Reddit someone posted a variety of printing styles they used and I found a number of them really nice.

    It seems as though cursive writing is on its way to a specialty like calligraphy and I wouldn’t be shocked to see printing going down the same route within our lifetime.
    Last edited by Mark Dillon; September 1st, 2019 at 07:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    Cursive gives no general advantage over printing. It's a matter of personal preference. And handwriting (whatever form) gives only marginal advantage in long term memory retention over typing. In the short term there is little/no difference. I put stress on handwriting in my classroom (I am a teacher), but I need to be careful not to make overblown claims for it.

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Cursive gives no general advantage over printing.
    It's faster?

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    Quote Originally Posted by catbert View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Cursive gives no general advantage over printing.
    It's faster?
    I haven’t seen any study that shows which is faster but my guess is that it would be very close to the same time for both if you compared large groups of people.

    Cursive often adds line length to the letter but print involves a stop and start with movement to make the lines.

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    "Studies have shown..."

    Just a general comment about how we (including myself) can sometimes use that phrase. "We" read a general interest article stating a point of view with which we generally agree. It cites studies which support that point of view. There's a risk of thinking "well, that settles it", without actually looking up the studies, seeing what they say for ourselves, and trying to evaluate their methodology.

    Personal experience leaves me slightly agnostic about whether writing things down in itself helps me to remember them. If I take notes, it's not with the idea that this will somehow fix the information in my brain, but because I expect to forget it, and want to be able to remind myself later. In high school and college, I found it much better simply to pay attention in class, taking the occasional note on a surprising or important point that hadn't been covered in the text. I was a history major, and I can see how for complicated technical or scientific subjects, there might have been more point in taking detailed notes.

    Laptops were not around when I was in school, so I have no experience on trying to take classroom notes with those. I think it would be very uncomfortable for me to try, but perhaps young people who have grown up with them would have a different experience.

    I enjoy writing in cursive for its own sake, without worrying too much about justifying it to others. I do think that it's one of those skills which people will appreciate having, if only they will take the trouble to acquire it. My own handwritten notes are almost entirely in cursive, unless it's essential that I record a sequence of letters and numbers with no ambiguity. If writing to or for someone else, unless I know that they are comfortable reading cursive, and can handle my own version of it, I will print.
    "Philosophy, after all, is not the foundation of things, but a late and rather ineffective activity of thinking men."
    George Santayana

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    Quote Originally Posted by Zou View Post
    I learned cursive as early as I could, before it was even taught in school because I liked how it looked and it seemed like the secret language of adults and learning it was part of my desire to enter that world and grow up. I found my older brother's cursive practice book, never used, and used it myself. So I've always written in cursive. However, I dislike pseudoscience and baseless claims, of which this article is chock full.

    I find it so contradictory to praise cursive writing for helping you slow down or forcing you to summarise, while at the same time decrying printing. Is it this happy medium? I don't think so. Cursive is meant to help you speed up, it is simplified writing. People simplify it further with short hand or incomplete sentences. It is hard to listen and write at the same time; personally I think it's impossible. You're thinking about what they said 30 seconds ago, a minute, 2 minutes. You've lost track. Writing is really slow, and then you feel lost in the lecture and you didn't even get a chance to have your own thoughts and reaction. Or you did and now it's 5 minutes later. It was a godsend to me when I could finally use a laptop in class in university. Yes, lots of students get distracted by games or instant messaging, just like they get distracted by doodling or daydreaming. The screen may distract other students, or people who don't know how to turn the brightness down may disturb other students. But writing by hand is not better, and no you don't remember 90% of what you write down, not even close. You only remember what you're exposed to time and time again. Everything else falls out. Our own precious memories and personal experiences we only recall because we recall them frequently, because they are important to us. It takes a number of repetitions for it to really stick, and other than that something has to really trigger it and go deep into that poor unused neural pathway in our brain.
    Agree, at least it works that way for me. I cannot write notes and listen at the same time. Back when I did university there were no note-taking machines short of lugging a typewriter into the lecture hall. I had the benefit of having a lot of personal aptitude testing done on me. I learned, at that time, I had a 98% oral retention rate. When I listened I could remember 98% of what I heard. Now that's short-term memory and will fairly quickly dissipate. So, my convention in college was to simply sit and listen to everything said in a classroom. Then I could later sit alone and summarize it all in writing -- to the extent I found any of it worthwhile.

    I don't know what I would do in these times. I'd probably try typing, but I think even that would distract from my listening.

    And I haven't read the article posted; just not that interested. These days I type when necessary and write when I like. (And, being retired, I do virtually nothing I don't want to do!)

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    I know of only one university based research report into writing and memory vs typing. You can look it up. I read it a year ago. I was summarizing its findings above. It isn't earth shattering or revolutionary. It studied university students, note taking, and later performance on assessments. If anyone knows of any other research into this, please share. I have never encountered anything else on this subject, but I don't have access to pay-in databases.

    The key finding was that writing (whatever form) was slower and students tended to engage their minds in more synthesis and discriminating along the way, and this correlated with marginally better long term retention and performance. The research did not address what kind of handwriting was used (it was not concerned with this). The subjects used whatever form they wanted (I assume).

    Arguments of the educational or cognitive efficacy of cursive over printing are never, to my knowledge, based on any actual research. They are anecdotal or simply about aesthetic or cultural sentiment.

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    Reality aside, speed was the whole point of cursive to begin with. Business interests wanted greater productivity so it was placed into educational currics.

    Personally, my cursive is much faster than printing.

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    Default Re: Article: The Case for Cursive

    I quickly discovered 3 scholarly articles showing a link between improved learning and hand written notes - none of these distinguished between cursive or printing. I also found many blog type and advocacy/sales articles stating the same outcome.

    As a teacher, I "think" my students learn better when writing by hand rather than typing on a computer. I wonder if it is because I highly encourage them to think and then write and not try to capture all of the information verbatim.

    As far as cursive versus print, I am only concerned about legibility. I switch back and forth when writing on my whiteboard. My written feedback on papers and in lab notebooks is always in cursive as my writing is faster and more legible with cursive.
    I use a fountain pen and a paper planner - paperinkplan.wordpress.com

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