Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not All Change is Progress

At the crest of the generational divide we find another example of technological progress, casting off the old and clasping the new.

That penmanship and spelling are skills that have served us well for generations is indisputable. That they are disciplines requiring assiduous attention to detail and practice, practice, practice is evident. That the young reject it is as much a rebellion against discipline as it is an adoption of technological advances.

The older set, of which I am representative, is as averse to adopting the "new" as the younger set is to dragging with them the luggage of a past era.

So we have submitted. They win. Of course it never would enter the imagination that everything that relies on electrical power will be so much ash in the hand when there is no power.


Lin said...

Just think of all those fine motor skills going out the window. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

When I was a boy in the 1970s, learning cursive in the third grade was a rite of passage. I found it very difficult but I applied myself and finally mastered it. I have a nice hand now, if I do say so myself.

All of my sons (26, 14, and 12) learned cursive begrudgingly and then immediately discarded it. All of them print like they just learned how, with improper letterforms that stray outside the ruling on their paper. Yet somehow they manage to have successful lives.

My grandmother, b. 1916, was horrified that I graduated from high school without having to translate Chaucer, which was a requirement in her day (in the same school system). Somehow, I've managed to have a successful life despite this egregious oversight.

Vee said...

Teaching kids skills steals precious time from important things such as teaching second and third-grade sex education and helping them develop positive self-esteem. Today’s youth also don’t need to learn to tell time because they have digital watches or learn multiplication tables because they have calculators. And when they can’t spell, we just slap a label on them. That makes everything okay.

Learning handwriting now travels down the same path as did learning to use tableware while eating. The goal is to get it done. Methods and skills are no longer important. It's interesting to watch young people while they are eating in a college cafeteria. Many “shovel” their food with a spoon held from the top. I have to assume that it would have taken too much time away from sports and other extra-curricular activities for parents to teach their off-spring how to hold a fork and use a knife.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

This is a trend that is happening here in MI too. Won't it be interesting when kids can't even read cursive. It will be as if all our historic documents are written in a foreign language.

vanilla said...

Lin, too right you are. There is more to penmanship than meets the eye!

Jim, ...and I had an m.i.l., born 1902, who studied Latin in all four years of h.s. Each generation will move some direction, ahead, sideways, backwards? Perhaps I should not lose any sleep over these "changes"?

Vee, it is crucial that the tykes view themselves in a positive light. How others see them, be hanged. Don't you ever just wonder why you bothered to teach the offsprouts how to set a table, to wash before doing so, how to use those utensils?

Jo says parents have to teach kids. Implication, it's not all the fault of the kids.

Shark, which is exactly the case. But it could be employment for "interpreters" who take a four-year degree in cursive writing!