Our Younger Generation Can't Write Anymore!

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Yvonne Smith, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,835
    Likes Received:
    6,971
    Penmanship used to be one of the first things we learned in school. Once we learned about the alphabet, and how to make letters, we were able to print out words.
    Eventually, we were taught how to write in cursive, and once we mastered that, most of our schoolwork was written out.
    The schools are no longer teaching kids how to write in cursive. They are probably doing good if they can still print, with all of the things that are done on a computer nowdays.
    Where we used to write notes and secretly pass them in class, the kids nowdays send texts.
    We were talking with a lady today, and she said that her teenage son has no idea how to write in cursive.
    Now , you might not think that this is the end of the world; but guess what-----he was supposed to sign something and has NO idea how to sign even his own name except to print it out ! !
    Think of all the things we have to sign. Even if most of the things we sign are printed out on paper, we still have to be able to produce a legal signature at the bottom of the page.
    What will these kids do when they grow up and have to start signing things ?
    I remember thinking that it was bad that kids nowdays can't tell time on a real clock, or make change from a dollar; but not being able to even sign their names is getting even more serious.
     
    #1
  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,468
    Likes Received:
    9,823
    Yes, we've come a long way from the time when there were several different types of cursive. We had to learn two. Before my time, people wrote letters in what was nearly calligraphy. My wife sells a lot of stuff on eBay, much of what she gets from our neighbor, who is an auctioneer. She is selling a couple of boxes of old letters, mostly from the early to mid-1800s, including the time of the Civil War and, although I have trouble reading some of the words that are used in these letters, nearly all of them are elegant.
     
    #2
  3. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    166
    The worst thing about young people writing is if they are unable to construct sentences correctly and cannot express what they mean without using slang or abbreviations. I think the lack of good grammar, ability to spell correctly and effective use of the written language is more serious than losing the ability to write by hand.

    I never was much good at handwriting. It was always untidy. I do keep a handwritten journal and I write myself notes, but otherwise I use a computer keyboard.

    A signature these days is usually no more than clicking on a link to say 'I agree', and for more important documentation you also need to show some form of official picture ID. I don't think it will be a problem if the present generation are less used to signing by and because this will not be needed when electronic thumbprints and eye recognition etc come in.
     
    #3
  4. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,475
    Likes Received:
    5,598
    When I was child in grade school, I struggled with handwriting. I am left handed, and the rule was to make left handed children write with their right hand. Some people are ambidextrous, but I am not one of them. I am an extremely left handed person, and left sided. My writing has a far left slant, almost laying down.

    When I was in the second half of the first grade school year, my mother went to the school administrator and insisted that I be allowed to write with my left hand. The second half of that year, my grades went from C's to A's and B's.

    When I was in the third grade, my teachers all agreed that my cursive writing was adequate, so would I please print so that all could read my writing.

    When I became an accountant, I started making all my printed letters with one stroke for each letter. Now my writings are all printed, and I still make letters that almost lay down backwards. Only my signature is in cursive.

    My late husband had beautiful cursive writing, and he was always stuck with addressing envelopes and gift tags.:(:rolleyes:
     
    #4
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  5. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,835
    Likes Received:
    6,971
    I also write left-handed; but my letters slant forwards rather than backwards. I can make them slant backwards; but that is difficult for me to do. No matter which way I slant them, my writing is never what you would consider pretty, although it is usually (and I do mean usually) legible.
    When I was in school and we had to write on the blackboard, I had a terrible time, and NO one (including me) could read anything that I wrote on the blackboard.
    Finally, I decided that it could not look much worse if I wrote with my right hand; so I tried that, and it actually came out much more legible than the left-hand writing did.
    I still can't write with pen and paper with my right hand.
    Since mostly I am ambidextrous; I can do a lot of things with my right hand, and some things with either hand.
    I always use either hand , as necessary, when painting , or when I am putting on my make-up.
     
    #5
  6. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,475
    Likes Received:
    5,598
    Yvonne, Envy, envy, envy.:D:p
     
    #6
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,468
    Likes Received:
    9,823
    One of my brothers is left-handed. It looked almost painful for him to write, as his arm would be bent at a sharp angle, almost obscuring the paper that he was writing on. I'm sure you've heard it before, but we'd refer to his writing as wrong-handed.
     
    #7
  8. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,475
    Likes Received:
    5,598
    Yes Ken, I think I've heard most of the tags that come with being left handed. My husband used to like telling me, "Your other letf Ina."

    In the '60, my M-in-L was was upset with her son for bring that dreadful trait into her family. She said that left handedness came from a lazy mind, and a traitor's mentallity. I fooled her. Michael and I were married almost 48 years, and I put myself through 19 years of college. By my fouth year, I became Phi Theta Kappa. So much for her myths.

    I don't contort my wrist to write. I actually keep my wrist straight, leaving my hand to fall back toward the left.
     
    #8
  9. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    877
    Likes Received:
    459
    My mom is left handed and her hand writing is not leigble. I have two grandsons left handed, one is actually ambidextrous, some times he uses his right hand and some times he uses his left hand, it depends on what he is doing which hand will be used.
     
    #9
  10. Jim Veradyne

    Jim Veradyne Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    30
    Yes, I'm afraid it's far more than handwriting. It's printing, spelling, and correct grammar that has fallen by the wayside with the past couple of generations.
     
    #10
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  11. Herbert Jennings

    Herbert Jennings New Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    9
    I agree with you Yvonne, partially. I mean, is it really that important to teach our kids to write cursive. Apart from their own signature - something they should be able to master easily - there is really no need to teach cursive writing anymore. And yes, texts have replaced writing notes on paper but that's just how it goes with new technology. There is no reason to oppose progress in my opinion.
     
    #11
  12. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    32
    Hey all.

    At least those of us who went to school in the US probably went through more or less the following process....

    • Kindergarten-- you learn your letters, play with letter blocks, may even learn a bit how to print them.
    • 1st grade-- you get a big piece of paper which is the top half free for a drawing and the bottom half lined with a dotted line to help you print your letters, the lower ones touching that dotted line (a,c, e, g, i, j, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, u, v, w, x, y, z) and the tall letters extending above that dotted line (b, d, f, h, k, l, t). Spelling was not important yet (you asked the teacher and she would jot the word on a scrap of paper so you could put it into your story)
    • 2nd grade-- you probably began learning how to spell. That big piece of paper with the big fat pencil were changed to notebooks and normal sized pencils and even pens (we were not allowed pens until the 3rd grade, actually, too many errors, so pencil and eraser were much more common)
    • 3rd grade-- printing was suddenly not allowed. Had to learn to string the letters together. Had to learn to form the letters the way Mrs Cass told you to. If you were left-handed, you simply had to twist your arm until the letters came out with the correct round forms and slant. And don't even think about dotting your "i" with a circle or a heart (smiley faces still didn't exist when I was in third grade).

    Along the same pathways, we began to learn stuff like "a noun is a person place or thing" and what a verb or an adjective or adverb were and where they were meant to be in the construction of a sentence. I seem to remember the first lessons in this type of writing taking place around 4th and 5th grade, when we had to begin writing book reports. Nitty gritty grammar seemed to be later, around 6th grade, and composition (the five-paragraph essay, for example) was around 9th or 10th grade.

    When I attended university (in the 80s, I worked a few years between high school and uni), I was required to write at least one paper for every class I attended, and that included tap dance class! Writing was expected from university students.

    I wonder if it is like that now. Anyone with kids or grandkids that knows what they went through? Is it "standard" anymore or is it hodge podge? I, myself, see a lot of loss in writing quality because of new technologies, but I don't blame them as much as I might blame the acceptance, somewhere along the line, of scratchy writing just because it's a forum or a tweet or Facebook. I'm not one of those....

    peace,
    revel.
     
    #12
  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,468
    Likes Received:
    9,823
    At some point in elementary school, I don't remember when, we spent quite a long time diagramming sentences.
     
    #13
  14. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    32
    I think, in my case, the diagramming of sentences was in 7th grade (that would be Junior High), but I also remember the teacher telling us that it wasn't a required subject anymore and that we were simply doing the diagrams because she, personally, thought that the decision to not diagram sentences was a poor choice made by the school board (some thought the same of "new math" and the death of "sight reading" when I was in school-- my school years were the 60s and 70s).

    I happened to enjoy diagramming sentences and, even though we only did one quarter of study of that, I would entertain myself doing the exercises that we hadn't done in class, anyone remember that grammar book (going to find it on Google, hang on) (found it!), and later used diagramming to explain sentence structure to my English as a Second Language students.

    grammar.jpg
    peace,
    revel.
     
    #14
  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,468
    Likes Received:
    9,823
    We did it earlier than that but, for us, that would have been elementary school anyhow because we just had elementary and high school.
     
    #15
  16. Juan Ortega

    Juan Ortega Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    13
    With their realities being protruding by arising concepts of mental conditions, such as A.D.H.D. this becomes understandable. They lack the ability to focus and expand thought. This can be fixed with meditation and other calming remedies. Basically their mind needs to be put to work other than mindless entertainment. Letting the imagination run wild can help thought processing.
     
    #16
  17. Adam Fields

    Adam Fields Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    18
    To be honest it would not take long to learn how to sign your name or certain documents. Personally I think it is a bit silly anyway that we can't just print our names instead of using cursive. Sure it looks more professional but that's about it. I think the bigger issue is not the fact of how well we can actually write the letters but about what we write about and how we use them.
     
    #17
  18. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,835
    Likes Received:
    6,971
    I do think that being able to actually write in cursive is a very important thing, We are losing many of our sklills in America. People used to be craftsmen, and knew how to make things. We had blacksmiths, and silversmiths, and leathercrafters, and all sorts of other specialized skills.
    Now, not only can many people even plant and grow a garden; they can't read, write, tell time, or make change from a dollar bill.
    Most of us are totally dependant on having everything done for us, and much of that even comes from other nations, like China.
    So, even if it is not necessary for us to have to write every day anymore; I think that it is a basic skill that everyone should be able to do.
     
    #18
  19. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    2,774
    I am no longer proud of myself. I read every post including the thread and having done so I am now suffering a complete and utter meltdown. A lot of what I learned when I was younger is now considered useless. (by some)
    So much wasted time, so many worries over getting good grades, and so many teachers pulled their hair out trying to teach a bunch of nearly illiterate kids the three R's and now I find out I didn't really need to learn most of what has classified me as a useful, educated person with a measure of perspicacity. What I know now is no longer needed, ergo, I can teach our young nothing, except how to fish.

    I used to practice my handwriting like grandma practicing her embroidering. Everything had to be perfect and beautiful. Now, it was for nothing it seems. Yes, thumbprints and using the checkbox is accepted but will you accept the ID shot that is coming up? They do it on animals and are experimenting with GPS for kids so guess what's next. I would rather be able to sign my name than take that particular government overseen shot.

    I hated diagraming at first, but when I started taking Deutsch I found out very quickly that the diagraming I was learning in English was also applicable in foreign languages. It comes in handy to be able to tell a participle from a pronoun, unless of course all you are doing is learning phrases by rote. Which, by the by, if you are learning a language in that fashion you are not thinking in the language, therefore cannot truely express the language with all of the emotions and artistry that come with it.

    Civics, Gym, American history, geography, penmanship are all studies that are no longer taught or on the way out. Math is almost a thing of the past. How many cashiers do you know who can make change by using their heads and not the keyboard on a cash register?
    Learning has given way to key punching. If we ask the right question, out pops the answer. Why learn anything except how to punch a computer?

    I think I shall now light my pipe, then take my almost archaic self with nearly nil acceptable education and try to remember the days of getting hand written letters with just a touch of perfume on the paper. Or maybe the time I hand wrote (using cursive writing) a book report on the novel, "Great Expectations." Or maybe I shall just take pen in hand and write about anything that comes to mind. Why? Because I know how to, and there are so few of us left, who can.........
     
    #19
    Sheldon Scott and Ken Anderson like this.
  20. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    359
    I suppose we could all "outsource" our writing needs...everything is! It is really pathetic that we are losing our abilities due to technology. Kids and even some adults working in restaurants can't even make change without the help of a computer. What is next?
     
    #20
  21. Richard Lee

    Richard Lee Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    29
    I think the truth is that hand written communication is a dying art. It will soon be relegated to the history books like quillmanship, and clay tablet carving. Technology is rapidly taking up all the hand written tasks. The more serious issue though is the breakdown of grammar. Just look at any of the question sites (like Question.com / Ask.com / and many more - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_question-and-answer_websites ) and see kids asking for their homework answers in the poorest grammar. I live in Thailand and English is very poorly taught here, but even so I often see less flawed English text here than I do online from supposed native English speaking teens!

    Twitter and texting is partially to blame with the need to shorten text.
     
    #21
    Richard Paradon likes this.
  22. Richard Lee

    Richard Lee Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    29
    Talking about education standard - I found an old A Level Mathematics practice booklet - with past papers - from the 1950s. I struggled doing some of the questions (for fun)! It was seriously hard (the pre-decimal money and imperial measurements are hard for me having been brought up in the metric system). I have taught the same level today from curriculum and there simply is no comparison - much reliance on scientific calculators.
     
    #22
  23. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    2,774
    It's yet another symptom of a failing system when even other countries know that the American student is lacking compared to the rest of the world.

    Now, here's the question: What do we do about it? I enjoy other discussion groups and when the topic of education comes up everyone seems to know what the problem is, but no one has the answers as to how to stop the trend of the functionally illiterate. Is the American educational system too far gone to repair and are we indeed spawning a full generation of key punch operators?

    The true measure of shame in our schools, is the comparison of our military veterans versus the young civilian population. A person entering into the military does not expect the type of educational experience they will receive. It is strict, well balanced and has a purpose which all entrants soon realize no matter what the subject matter might be. The civilian school system in both lower and higher levels cannot say the same thing. It is permissive, mediocre, and without any realization of the future. When there is no incentive to aspire to greater intellectual heights there will be no initiative to rise to those heights.

    When making bread, it's the leavening that makes the other ingredients rise. Our youth has little or no leavening. How do we solve the problem, and when will we start if there is a solution?
    If we do not teach our young how to hunt, the villiage will starve!
     
    #23
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  24. John Stone

    John Stone Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    19
    Wow, there's a lot of opinions on lost hand writing skills! I went through the same handwriting lessons that everyone else did in school and frankly I always had awful penmanship. Maybe there are too many Doctors in my family. From High School on up I printed when I wrote. I had great printmanship skills. I'm glad you can type everything now. It's much faster and you don't have to worry about how the writing looks. Everyone's writing looks the same and it's more based on content.
     
    #24
    Bobby Cole likes this.
  25. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    2,774
    Howdy John,.....It is true that typing is faster and all that you said. I do believe though that the point has been missed by a few of our seniors here. It isn't an argument as to the merits of either one when it comes to the personal preferences of individual tasks. It's about the loss.

    The same school and grade I went to taught me how to type and also demanded hand written (cursive) reports and homework. Later, there was some concession made for those who had a typewriter at home but when a piece of typed material came in it had to be absolutely perfect in all ways. (no white out, correct type or paint jobs)

    The thought concerning losing cursive writing is pretty simplistic. It is soooo yesterday. We do not need it any longer. Or, do we? Some of the ramifications have been written in past replies so I need not repeat them.
    A loss, is a loss, is a loss. We do not need to add or subtract in our heads any longer because the cash register does it for us. We do not need how to look at a thermometer because the weather channel is on my computer. We do not need to know how to park a car because there are cars that can do it without my help. We do not need to know how to cook, Souffers is good at it. Get rid of art classes, the computer does a better job and in 3D! The digression goes on and on. Think about it, what else do you not need to know how to do just because you might not have been the best at it or might never be?
    I found out when I was a kid that if I could not do something I would have to find and pay someone else to do it for me. And guess what? On almost all legal paperwork there is a place for someone to represent and witness for those who cannot write.

    It's not just a dieing art, it is a dead necessity, because we have gotten lazy and complacent and can no longer see the need for something because it takes some effort to learn how to do. Which, by the by, is a legacy we choose not to pass on to our children and grandchildren, and they too will find something they can be lazy about and not teach their children and grandchildren.

    Hmmmmm.......Ya know? I used to be able to tell a whole lot about a girl before I took her out, just by looking at her hand writing. Extrovert or Introvert? Perfectionist or not? Artistic or not? Steady and thoughtful or not? Forceful or mild? Now, I'd have to look at the type of keyboard she has. Wow!! she has a pink keyboard, and she almost never hits the delete button!! Yup, she's a keeper!!

    These opinions are not necessarily shared by this station and cannot be held responsible for it's content. IMHO
     
    #25
    Richard Paradon and Yvonne Smith like this.

Share This Page