In today’s technologically-driven workforce, being able to type may be more valuable than writing in cursive. But learning handwriting provides measurable rewards and benefits, and should still be taught to students.
John Miller: Obviously you are a teacher; you need a chalkboard. You write on it, people need to be able to read it. Typing, though, is incredibly important, more than it was a generation or two ago possibly. I sometimes say, only half jokingly, that the most important class I ever took in my K-12 education was typing in middle school. Does that mean handwriting matters less today than it once did?
Daniel B. Coupland: I understand the argument that we are moving much more in a technological direction and we are using handheld devices and computers in order to express those ideas, but I am concerned about the loss of other things connected with handwriting, as I talked about in the lecture, even of the development of the motor skills that kids develop by actually holding a pencil and actually being able to write. In addition to that, I think it’s a great learning tool as well, in that if you have to form the letters with your hands … Even now when I talk to undergraduate students, I ask them how do you prepare for a particular test or exam, and they say that they’ll often write out their notes or rewrite their notes out, because there’s some kind of connection with using your hands to form those letters. It cements it in your mind a lot better. I understand that we’re moving in a particular direction in terms of technology but I mourn the loss of those things if we move completely away from it.