Apparently a state in the USA has decided to stop teaching joined up writing. It is hard to understand what the thinking is for a group of state officials making such a decision. I know the keyboard is used extensively nowadays and hopefully children are being taught how to touch type but not be able to write a flowing cursive script seems to be a cruel trick.
What will happen to simple thank you letters? Those wonderfully studied letters from children who were made to write thank letters for their birthday gifts and thereby bringing joy to their grandparents. And love letters full of secret codes and messages to keep lonely feelings at bay and something to tuck under your pillow? Imagine not to have been able to read the fabulous collections of letters sent home by men from the war front? What will we do when we have to print out a shopping list because we don’t know how to scribble a readable note? And alas there will be no more remembering to bring a pen so we can make notes at interesting presentations or conferences?
So with emails instead of letters and video calls to our nearest and dearest perhaps there is no need to hand write anymore. Lists can be made quickly and instantly using smart phone apps. We can even record our thoughts on our phones and again the app is there to transfer them to typed words. Will the next step be to dispense with grammar and well crafted turns of phrase? Will we ignore spelling errors as mere typos? I for one hope not. Brilliant writing is all powerful and creative, and many writers of great books admit they still handwrite their first drafts.
If we stop teaching handwriting it won’t only be doctors who will be criticised for their writing it will be all of us. And those days at school chewing the pencil and trying to think of how to present your thoughts as words to win the handwriting prize will be gone forever.