Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

April 7, 2013

Instruction of cursive writing has tapered off locally

GOSHEN — As digital smart boards replace chalk boards and wireless tablets replace textbooks in many classrooms across Indiana, is teaching cursive writing still relevant in today’s increasingly technology-centered schools?

As far as the Indiana Department of Education is concerned, the answer appears to be no, as the IDOE dropped its cursive writing requirement in 2011 after the State Board of Education voted to adopt Common Core State Standards, a system that favors student proficiency in typing over cursive writing as more and more instruction and testing is done via computer.

In light of this recent change, many schools across the state have reduced or completely abandoned cursive writing programs in order to allow teachers more time for instruction in core subjects such as reading and math.

Despite the IDOE’s endorsement of the change, not everyone is happy with cursive’s recent decline. For those concerned with the move away from cursive, much of that concern lies in the fear that a loss of the skill will lead to a generation of handwriting illiterates who are unable to read important historical documents or even sign their own names.

Supporters of the change aren’t concerned, however, noting that many of today’s textbooks and other reading materials, both old and new, are readily available in electronic form, or soon will be. As for the signature argument, many supporters predict some form of retina or fingerprint scan will likely be the preferred signature of the future, rendering the hand-written scrawl obsolete.

According to Tamra Ummel, director of curriculum and instruction for Goshen Community Schools, cursive writing instruction within her corporation has fallen off dramatically since the state stopped requiring school’s to teach it.

“Right now I would say it is being taught, but it is not one of our higher priorities given all of the other expectations and given the movement to Common Core,” Ummel said. “What we see in Common Core is a real shift from producing work in hand-written form to being able to produce it using technology. We want our students to be able to recognize writing in cursive and be able to produce cursive writing, but to say that we spend a lot of time on that would not be accurate.”

Joy Goshert, director of curriculum and instruction for Wawasee Community Schools, had a similar take on cursive writing instruction within her corporation.

“We do not mandate it right now,” Goshert said. “We used to have workbooks for cursive writing, and we haven’t ordered those. We’ve looked at some iPad and Android apps for it, but to be quite honest, because it’s not mandated by Indiana, the question really becomes, ‘What would you ask teachers to take off the plate from the things that are mandated, and how would you work that in?’”

Like Ummel and Goshert, administrators at Fairfield, Wa-Nee and Middlebury community schools have all recently reported similar declines in cursive writing instruction in their districts due primarily to the more technology-centered needs of the Common Core.

At Fairfield, for example, cursive writing instruction has been limited to focus more on giving students a basic understanding of the structure of the writing, rather than full mastery.

“We teach it in limited ways, mainly so that students can read it and maybe sign their name or know the basics,” said Fairfield Superintendent Steven Thalheimer, “but we don’t teach it with the intensity that we used to.”

The same holds true for both Middlebury and Wa-Nee, where teachers are given the option to teach cursive writing, though only in a limited capacity and not at the expense of other core subject.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 21, 2014

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 Ignition art Plenty of good music on horizon at Ignition Several upcoming shows at Ignition Garage in Goshen were announced this week.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • City plan nearing a final draft GOSHEN — The city’s new comprehensive plan is nearing completion, and a near-final draft has now been released for public review. Goshen Plan Commission members released the draft of the city’s newly penned comprehensive plan, titled “Uncommonly Grea

    August 19, 2014

  • GN140820 Hakws building Hotel, brew pub plans progressing GOSHEN — Plans for a new boutique hotel and brew pub at the historic Hawks building in downtown Goshen continue to move ahead steadily.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 nappanee awards 031.jpg Nappanee mayor honors 'Spirited' youth NAPPANEE — Two Elkhart County 4-H’ers were honored by their hometown mayor during Monday’s city council meeting. Receiving the Community Spirit Award and a key to the city were Lane Flowers and Sarah Stump. Mayor Larry Thompson recognized Flowers, a

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed