Writing Wednesday: Lost skills

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Hand milking a cow

Many of us have lost skills that were commonplace not long ago: knowing how to make our own soap, milk a cow, weave cloth, etc. With cursive no longer being taught in many schools, it seems handwriting could soon be one of those antiquated skills that most people don’t practice in their everyday lives.

There are plenty of post-apocolyptic scenarios where lost skills like cow-milking would come in handy. As for handwriting, it looks like a comeback might be needed sooner rather than later.

In this recent article, the author discusses reasons why handwriting may turn out to be useful for children to learn after all. One main point is new technology that allows the user to write on any surface and load that information directly to their digital device. Beyond the sheer convenience, this may be a useful security measure against identity theft.

And to be completely honest, with more and more large-scale online security issues happening (like this one today and others), I can’t help wondering if at some point people will revert back to pen-and-paper for our communications.

Last week I wrote about how writing by hand (especially as opposed to typing on a keyboard) accelerates learning. With all the benefits to our brains, not to mention our personal security, I hope handwriting doesn’t become a lost skill in the future!

Do you think handwriting into digital devices is useful on a large scale? Or do you think typing on a keypad is more convenient?

2 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: Lost skills

  1. Here in the UK, cursive is still taught, at least in my grandchildren’s state school, and, I think, generally. They start with individual letters with the beginnings of joins, and then move on to joining them up. The reason, I believe, is that it helps children learn the movement of the hand and feel of words as they write them, and this helps with spelling. Certainly when I was working with children with dyslexia, we encouraged them to think about how the hand moved as they wrote.

  2. People talk about handwriting like it is just a skill used to write notes. I mourn the loss of handwriting emphasis for another reason; drawing.

    That hand-eye coordination used to make a letterform is invaluable when you are trying to draw a shape without thinking about the action. The control needed for legibility becomes control needed to make a single shape or line over and over. The practice I got with calligraphy translates directly to shape making with drawing. These days, you can digitize anything if you want to, so the tool you use to make it is a personal choice.

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