Lydster: Cursive writing, analog clocks

Even thirty years ago, I realized some ten-year-old children could not read an analog clock.

The Daughter was practicing her signature, using cursive writing, earlier this year. A couple generations ago, this wouldn’t have even warranted a mention.

Now there’s a great debate regarding the necessity and efficacy of cursive writing. In some circles, it is now considered a form of creativity, art, if you will, and I think the Daughter was attracted to it at that level.

It is also true that, for some time, she was having difficulty READING cursive, notes from her grandparents, for instance. To the degree that she can, it’s like learning a foreign language. I imagine the folks who design logos are cognizant of that trend.

One of the “cons” of cursive listed: “It’s gone the way of the typewriter.” Of course, the typewriter is making a comeback.

Is the loss of cursive a “dumbing-down of our education system” or is teaching it time wasted? As one who thinks that quicker is not necessarily better, I believe that since it appears to be good for the brain, it should be taught.

“Since it engages both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, it can actually aid in reading comprehension, idea generation, spelling, brain development and memory.”

Even thirty years ago, I realized some ten-year-old children could not read an analog clock. The Daughter was learning in second or third grade, but I know I understood it before I left kindergarten, and I might have known it earlier.

The announcement that analog clocks are disappearing from UK schools caused similar conflict, with some bemoaning it, others suggesting that we can’t read a sundial either, times change, etc.

I suppose I like the analog clock – a retronym, BTW – precisely because it’s imprecise. A quarter to three might be 2:44 or 2:46, and unless you’re trying to catch a train or something, it matters little.

If I had to keep one or the other, it would be cursive writing. Yes, toddlers might have computers to type on, but there’s value to the hands-on craft.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “Lydster: Cursive writing, analog clocks”

  1. In my (cranky) opinion, there’s no point in having digital clocks UNLESS they are ones that can pick up the Atomic Clock signal, so they are “correct” in the sense of being all on the same time.

    The clocks in the classrooms here merely give a suggestion as to what time it is; they are all set wrong, some of them run fast, others slow…I go by my own watch which at least I know runs 5 minutes fast.

    I once suggested we invest in atomic-clock-tied-in clocks for the classrooms here and was called a “control freak.” Well, I prefer “control enthusiast” but it’s maddening to have someone slope into your classroom 7 minutes late and mumble “the clock in my other classroom was different”

  2. Norah learned to write cursive starting very early – probably second grade, even, and she has pretty good handwriting. When she got to a new school in seventh grade, the other kids – with whom she often swapped papers so they could grade each other’s work – complained because they couldn’t read her writing. She still writes in cursive for stuff she turns in to the teacher, but she has to print for things they’re going to swap in class. I get that not everyone learns cursive and it can be hard to read, but the fact that her classmates can’t read it depresses me a lot for some reason.

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