R.I.P. Handwriting. 4127 B.C. – 2011 A.D.
Indiana is the latest U.S state to adopt the Common Core curriculum, an initiative to phase out the teaching of cursive, joint-up or running writing in schools. Instead students will be thought ‘basic’ typing skills, which education officials see as more useful in the modern employment world. But there are some in the education community who think the move could adversely affect the learning abilities of children. Apart from all these possible negative applications who will teach these kids these ‘basic’ typing skills?
Precious few schools still offer basic typing lessons. By and large, most schools across the globe dropped this subject from the curriculum years ago — either due to financial constraints or clueless and untrained teachers just giving up.
Back in the day, touch typing was a manual skill that required several years of intensive rote learning and muscle memory training; aimed at building up speed and reducing errors. Its primary goal was getting less academic girls (and no, I’m not being sexist) a dreary and low-paying job in a typing pool.
Since the advent of the word processing software, the typing pool has dried up. Most executives now do their own typing. Most with no formal training. And most perpetuating a cluster of shockingly unproductive habits:
- The old “two-finger hunt and peck is fast enough for me” cop-out.
- The “never look away from the keyboard” insecurity.
- The “OOPS, I WROTE THAT ENTIRE PARAGRAPH IN ALL CAPS” fail.
- The “I’ll just backspace over an entire line to fix a single error and retype the entire line all over again” remedy.
- The “I’ll save when I get to the end” routine.
Who’s gonna teach it? Are we going to assign our unskilled and already over-taxed teachers the futile task of teaching children to become keyboard maestros?
Or in the end, will students be left to fumble about in the dark, developing and habituating a range of downright unproductive habits?
Will we breed a generation of QWERTY ninjas?
Or a generation who can’t write a post-it-note?