Ways to Communicate

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Technology is becoming a substitute for face to face talk; makes it easy for us to NOT talk.

I like e-mail. I use it to stay in contact with my son and my daughter most nights. But it is not a substitute for face to face interaction. Or hearing their voices over the telephone.

With a telephone call, we can hear laughter or crying or happiness or sadness in the voice at the other end of the line. Exchanging words aloud is not the same as texting or e-mails.

Chatting about the day's events or recalling the antics of a great grandchild. That's a more intimate exchange.

Yes, email and texting has its place. But it doesn't take the place of a hug, or kiss, a shared smile or sitting across from each other, frowning or laughing, hand gestures.

We live in a world of condensed messages; a world of Twitters and Pings.

When I was a newlywed and later a mother, I would write six and seven page letters to my parents and in-laws who lived many states away. E-mails have condensed or eliminated long letter writing. It's almost a lost art.

Unless things change, we face a generation of students who won't know how to write cursive. They will instead rely on technology for expression. I prefer the either/or choice. At times it's good to have instant technology, especially in business. But it is also good to be able to read and write cursive.

Some schools have dropped cursive writing altogether. For some schools, it is elective, not mandatory. Some teachers have found that with their busy schedules, they no longer have teaching time for cursive, the joining of the letters of the alphabet to form words.

It got pushed out with Benchmark testing, language arts and math. There was just no time to devote to cursive writing. Neither was it included in Common Core Standards, a new teaching method.

In Arkansas, that is about to change. Last month Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill requiring all public schools to again teach cursive writing. The mandatory law requires that handwriting be taught by the end of the third grade beginning next school year.

The governor favors both computer science and cursive writing, calling it "a great balance."

Some educators say that cursive writing aids in brain development and helps with motor skills and memory.

Many teachers believe that "we can merge the two. NO need to throw out one for the other."

Smartboards in the classroom can help in teaching cursive penmanship.

And cursive writing is another way to connect with the older generation.

The next step is to teach the student how to make change, the old fashioned way.