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robertogreco : cursive   10

Cursive Seemed to Go the Way of Quills and Parchment. Now It’s Coming Back. - The New York Times
"While cursive has been relegated to nearly extinct tasks like writing thank-you cards and signing checks, rumors of its death may be exaggerated.

The Common Core standards seemed to spell the end of the writing style in 2010 when they dropped requirements that the skill be taught in public elementary schools, but about two dozen states have reintroduced the practice since then.

Last year, elementary schools in Illinois were required to offer at least one class on cursive.

Last month, a law went into effect in Ohio providing funding for materials to help students learn cursive by fifth grade.

And beginning this fall, second graders in Texas will learn cursive, and will be required to know how to write it legibly by third grade.

Even as keyboards and screens have supplanted pencil and paper in schools, lawmakers and defenders of cursive have lobbied to re-establish this old-school writing pedagogy across the country, igniting a debate about American values and identity and exposing intergenerational fault lines.

When Anne Trubek, the author of “The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting,” started studying the resurgence of cursive about a decade ago, reasons for teaching it focused on developing a civilized, well-mannered population.

“People were upset about the idea that you might not seem educated if you didn’t know cursive,” she said.

But in recent years, the reasoning for cursive became associated with “convention, tradition, conservatism,” she said, and tied to discussions about school uniforms and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Indeed, several Republican lawmakers have spearheaded campaigns to revive the writing style.

In 2016, lawmakers in Washington introduced a bill backing cursive after Pam Roach, then a Republican state senator, noted that a constituent had said her grandchild could not read a handwritten letter. The measure did not pass.

“Part of being an American is being able to read cursive writing,” Ms. Roach told King 5 News.

Lawmakers have also invoked the Declaration of Independence, which was marked by John Hancock’s flamboyant signature, as a reason for a script revival.

Andrew Brenner told the local news media in Ohio in December, when he was a state representative, that he had co-sponsored a bill requiring cursive instruction because studies show benefits for brain development and hand dexterity. He said it also taught students to read prominent historical texts.

“You can learn the founding documents from reading them directly,” Mr. Brenner, a Republican who now serves in the Ohio Senate, told The Fulton County Expositor.

Others have emphasized the importance of a signature.

“I think your cursive writing identifies you as much as your physical features do,” Dickie Drake, a Republican state representative in Alabama who introduced a bill requiring schools to provide cursive instruction by the end of third grade, told The New York Times in 2016.

Lawmakers in Louisiana supported an even broader measure, in part, because Magna Carta and the United States Constitution were written in cursive. State senators shouted “America!” when they unanimously approved it in 2016.

The history of society is intertwined with the history of script.

“When we want to embrace the past, when we get nostalgic for the past, when we think it was better, then we get all warm and fuzzy about handwriting,” Tamara Plakins Thornton, the author of “Handwriting in America,” said in an interview with NPR.

Cursive was also politicized during the Cold War, becoming a display of patriotism.

“Unbelievably, there were arguments that the fact that American kids couldn’t do cursive made us vulnerable to the Russian menace,” Dr. Thornton said.

Psychologists and neuroscientists say that handwriting positively affects brain development, motor skills, comprehension and memory. Cursive may be particularly helpful for those with developmental dysgraphia — motor-control difficulties in forming letters — and it may help prevent the reversal and inversion of letters, according to a 2012 report.

But some research has been taken out of context, or misrepresented, to further a pro-cursive agenda, said Kate Gladstone, who calls herself the Handwriting Repairwoman and runs an organization by the same name.

“The world of handwriting is very much the world of fake news and crooked elections,” she said.

In 2018, State Senator Jean Leising of Indiana was called out for citing a study that she claimed showed cursive writing “prepares students’ brains for reading and enhances their writing fluency and composition.” The researcher said the study made claims only about writing by hand.

There are also corporate interests at play. In 2013, Ms. Gladstone traced research that was used in bills in North and South Carolina to require cursive instruction in schools to a for-profit company that creates instructional materials to teach handwriting, Zaner-Bloser Publishing.

Kathleen Wright, a spokeswoman for the company’s handwriting division, said that it does not lobby for legislation, but that it does provide lawmakers with research “because we’re recognized as the gold standard of handwriting instruction,” she said.

But Ms. Wright acknowledged that some legislators “may have erroneously conflated studies showing the cognitive benefits of writing by hand to focus specifically on the benefits of writing in cursive.”

Sheila Lowe, the president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, said that about 21 states had adopted some form of cursive requirement in schools since the Common Core standards were introduced.

“We’re not trying to replace electronics,” Ms. Lowe said. “Cursive is an important part of brain training.”

The foundation formed Campaign for Cursive, which works with legislators to craft measures supporting the practice and offers training courses for cursive coaches as well as an annual “Cursive Is Cool” competition.

Gayna Scott, a leader of the campaign, said cursive was a surprisingly charged topic, both emotionally and politically.

“You can get people worked up about it,” she said.

But the organization has been able to “change over quite a few states” by providing research to decision makers about the benefits, she added.

“There are a lot of people who think we’re as old as dinosaurs,” she said, but “it’s a lifelong skill that is part of a well-rounded education. Why leave it out?”

Some teachers say policymakers are out of touch with the realities of the modern classroom.

“I am here to build 21st-century learners,” said Heather Sox, a fifth-grade teacher in Greenville, S.C. “We should expose them, but I think you can do it in other ways that don’t involve ‘skill and drill.’”

A few years ago, after a new mandate was imposed, she had to “find time during the week” to teach cursive, she said. Although the students barely touched the new workbooks, she said, she still had to give them a handwriting grade.

Noelle Mapes, a third-grade teacher at a public school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, said the agenda to include cursive classes “feels like a big nostalgia move.”

“I’m a millennial teacher, so it almost feels like a boomer effort,” she said.

The practice was helpful when teaching children with occupational therapy needs or fine motor skill needs. But requiring cursive is not a good use of time, she said, especially because schools and teachers face more urgent demands.

“Add typing skills, anti-racist pedagogy, add activism skills, add digital literacy,” she said. “There are so many other things.”"
cursive  handwriting  2019  education  schools  curriculum 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Asemic writing - Wikipedia
[See also: https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/877535553671090176

Lyn Hejinian: "In responding to the Dubravka Djuric's question about the origins of my interest in writing, I said that it as the materiality of writing that first drew me to it, the prospect of working with 'the typewriter and the dictionary.'"
https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/877535553671090176

[See also:
"Definition Not Found: The last refuge from #content might just be asemic writing" by Rahel Aima
http://reallifemag.com/definition-not-found/

"Asemic writing might be better understood not as illegible but as ‘post-literate’"



"Within the sphere of green anarchist thought there is a current that bills itself as primitivist, with all the condescending fetishism that “primitive” invokes. Avowedly anti-technology, the anti-civilizationist critique of capitalism extends beyond the environmental degradation and forms of domination of contemporary production to rail against the concept of civilization itself. The sphere of alienation is extended beyond labor; as theorist John Zerzan lays out in Running on Emptiness, it is the regime of symbolic thought that is believed to most deeply distance us from our authentic selves, which are arbitrarily defined as the way we once existed as hunter-gatherers. Art, music, mathematics, literature, speech: any mode of representation is highly suspect. It’s the paleo diet, but for culture. Zerzan’s vision for the “future primitive” would have us living in a silent, pre-pastoralist utopia where we exist wordlessly amongst the trees — beyond art and agriculture and beyond semiotics, or perhaps more aptly, before and unsullied by it. While Zerzan’s concepts seem attractive as a thought exercise, they are unconvincingly and rather petulantly argued. Who would want to do away with the back catalogue of some of the only good things to come out of the morass of humanity as we know it? Perversely, a reading of these texts makes me wonder about the possibility of an asemic writing made not by humans, but by bots and other algorithms.

In 2011, So Kanno and Takahiro Yamaguchi created the Senseless Drawing Bot, a kinetic drawing machine that is Jean Tinguely-meets-Mars rover. It pairs a motorized skateboard with an arduino, and a long-short double pendulum that induces an element of chaos, to spray graffiti on the wall. There’s a lot of empty swinging and swaggering, a louche calisthenics. It makes a mark only when its randomized wobbles pass a certain pre-coded threshold, when it’s sure all eyes are on it, and then its gestures are fast, flashy, and nonchalant, as if drawn from immense, tumescent muscle memory. It’s all big words and it’s trying hard to flex; if ever a bot has seemed like a blustery fuckboy, this is it. The outcome is surprisingly great, a dense accumulation of multicolored freneticism, neat on the bottom and looping wildly on top like an overgrown hedge. Unlike the aforementioned Tag Clouds, it points to a machinic tagging that does not mandoline work into strict taxonomies, is unreadable by human viewers, and does not — yet — appear to be machine readable, either, as well as the delightful paradox of generative bots which are programmed by people, yet also enjoy their own agency.

In the realm of graphic notation, Emma Winston’s @GraphicScoreBot tweets out an image resembling a graphic score every hour. Each tweet features an outlined white rectangle, usually with stave lines, and often with a bass or treble clef and dynamic markings, so it’s clear we are to read this as music. Except, instead of conventional note forms, its markup includes an array of colorful geometric shapes, squiggles, and dashes. Circles of varying sizes and transparencies especially make the images feel like musical infographics (to me, they seem to suggest duration; others might see in them chords or orchestra stabs). There are semantic ruptures: the bot will, at random, tweet out cards from Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies, entreaties like “Trust in the you of now,” “A very small object. Its center,” and “Slow preparation, fast execution.” Less bombastic are the double-spaced “B E G I N” and “E N D” that pepper the scores, which Winston suggests can be taken as start and end points or altogether ignored. Though the scores are generally sparse, occasional plaintive adverbs and phrases like “sadly,” “casually,” and “as if tired” make suggestions as to mood. Cameos by Italian terms like con moto (with movement), andante (at a walking pace), and quasi niente (fade away to nothing) make the scores feel somehow more official. If the “post-literate” leads us to interrogate what we consider to be writing, this bot’s relative adherence to notational convention, more Fauvism than De Stijl, does the same for the musical score.

Also on Twitter, Darius Kazemi’s @reverseocr tweets out asemicisms more akin to those absentminded doodles, each cryptic scrawl accompanied by a random word, like “subtlety,” four times a day. It’s a study in impenetrable handwriting, only here the writer is not a shrink with a prescription pad but a bot. Without that accompanying word, the marks, while elegantly spare, are unrecognizable as anything but marks. So far, so asemic. Yet the way the bot works is by selecting a word and then trying — badly, endearingly — to draw it out. It keeps drawing, and failing, until an OCR or Optical Character Recognition program (the question of literacy is transposed to the algorithm, here) identifies a character. If that character matches the first letter of the word, “s” in the case of “subtlety,” that character gets drawn and the bot turns its attentions to the second character, “u.” If not, it perseveres until it gets a match, and eventually it manages, through trial and a lot of error, to draw out the whole word; we only see these successes. Of course all of these computational processes happen at lightning speed, but in a 2014 adaptation of the work for a show at Boston’s now-shuttered Find and Form Space Kazemi slows the algorithm down to a human timescale and makes visible the otherwise hidden work performed by the bot. The word here is, appropriately, “labor.” Yet there’s something in @reverseocr’s yearning to be understood — to be read, to be recognized by another — that makes me think it’s a kind of unrequited love. There is a 1973 interview with James Baldwin in the Black Scholar in which he says, in response to a question about the role of political themes in his writing,
The people produce the artist, and it’s true. The artist also produces the people. And that’s a very violent and terrifying act of love. The role of the artist and the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see. Insofar as that is true, in that effort, I became conscious of the things that I don’t see. And I will not see without you, and vice versa, you will not see without me. No one wants to see more than he sees. You have to be driven to see what you see. The only way you can get through it is to accept that two-way street which I call love. You can call it a poem, you can call it whatever you like. That’s how people grow up. An artist is here not to give you answers but to ask you questions.

Kazemi’s bot expands the field of how we might understand asemic writing. Illegible though its drawings may be to our eyes, it is without doubt trying very, very hard to communicate meaning. Humans are not its intended audience; rather, its visual language, like barcodes or the computer vision markup of Amazon warehouses, is entirely for bots, machines, scripts, and other denizens of the algorithmic world. It’s a robot laughing alone with salad, and its inner life, its own well of lactic acid that it draws from to express itself, is off-limits to us. We, however, are on view to them, from the moment we press our thumbprints into our iPhones in the morning to the moment we touch-type a 2 a.m. text message whose characters are so drunkenly scrambled as to form complete non-words, which an algorithm gently corrects to other words we did or did not mean, so long as they’re legible. Perhaps this is an imposition on our freedoms; perhaps this is that two-way street between us and the algorithms, learning from each other; perhaps this is love."

via: "This @_reallifemag essay on asemic writing by @cnqmdi might be the best unwitting 'take' on Trump, covefefefe, etc."
https://twitter.com/eyywa/status/875099774059507716 ]
writing  asemicwriting  scribbling  randomness  typewriters  dictionaries  howwewrite  materiality  rahelaima  jeremybushnell  lynhejinian  dubravkadjuric  content  joséparla  apophenia  oseneworkekosrof  scat  scatsinging  conlang  language  experession  hélènesmith  medewianta  mirthadermisache  zhangxu  marcogiovenale  timgaze  jimleftwich  dariuskazemi  bots  emmawinston  horse_ebooks  huaisui  cursive  legibility  illegibility  avakofman  covfefe  literacy  postliteracy  ocr 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Handwriting Just Doesn’t Matter - The New York Times
"Cursive has no more to do with patriotism than Gothic script did with barbarism, or the Palmer Method with Christianity. Debates over handwriting reveal what a society prizes and fears; they are not really about the virtues or literacy levels of children.

Finally, current cursive advocates often argue that students who don’t learn cursive won’t be able to read it — “they won’t be able to read the Declaration of Independence” — but that is misleading. Reading that 18th-century document in the original is difficult for most people who know cursive, as the script is now unfamiliar. A vast majority of historical manuscripts are illegible to anyone but experts, or are written in languages other than English.

In fact, the changes imposed by the digital age may be good for writers and writing. Because they achieve automaticity quicker on the keyboard, today’s third graders may well become better writers as handwriting takes up less of their education. Keyboards are a boon to students with fine motor learning disabilities, as well as students with poor handwriting, who are graded lower than those who write neatly, regardless of the content of their expressions. This is known as the “handwriting effect,” proved by Steve Graham at Arizona State, who found that “when teachers are asked to rate multiple versions of the same paper differing only in legibility, neatly written versions of the paper are assigned higher marks for overall quality of writing than are versions with poorer penmanship.” Typing levels the playing field.

Ours may be the most writing-happy age in human history. Most students and adults write far more in a given day than they did just 10 or 20 years ago, choosing to write to one another over social media or text message instead of talking on the phone or visiting. The more one writes, the better a writer one becomes. There is no evidence that “text speak” like LOL has entered academic writing, or that students make more errors as a result. Instead, there is evidence that college students are writing more rhetorically complex essays, and at double the length, than they did a generation ago. The kids will be all right.

Despite the recent backlash, handwriting will slowly become a smaller and smaller aspect of elementary school education. That will be a loss — I don’t deny it. The kinetic movement of pen across paper is pleasurable, and soothing in its familiarity. It is affecting to see the idiosyncratic loops and strokes of relatives from generations past.

But as a left-hander with terrible handwriting who watched my son struggle to master cursive — he had to stay inside during recess for much of third grade because he wrote his j’s backward — that is a loss I can weather. And history is replete with similar losses; consider how rarely people now carve words in stone, dip pens into ink or swipe platens of typewriters. There will be no loss to our children’s intelligence. The cultural values we project onto handwriting will alter as we do, as they have for the past 6,000 years."

[review of Trubek's book: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/books/review/history-and-uncertain-future-of-handwriting-anne-trubek.html

"How we write is delicately connected to what we write and why. Trubek suggests relegating cursive to art class, but removing it to the realm of the exceptional limits our expectations of experiencing beauty in the day-to-day. Today’s second graders, including my own, will learn to type — one day, my daughter might even out-key Stella Willins, who banged out 264 words per minute in 1926. But we can’t quantify the value in an ability to forge a rare harmony between utility and beauty, the handsomely scripted grocery list, the love letter, the diary I write just for myself.

“We will lose something as we print and write in cursive less and less, but loss is inevitable,” Trubek concludes. Though one technology often supplants another, that doesn’t necessitate concession. Considering its rich significance, instead of hustling handwriting off to the graveyard, perhaps what’s called for is resurrection." ]
handwriting  education  schools  la  us  annetrubek  2016  sfsh  pedagogy  literacy  typing  writing  howwewrite  cursive  penmanship 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Vik Muniz Pays Attention to the Other Side of the Painting
"Because people excel at finding new ways to waste other people’s time, a small but vocal faction of conservative educators and politicians have called on our schools to start teaching cursive again. Tamara Thornton, the author of the 1996 book Handwriting in America, sees the reactionary anxiety at the center of their argument: “Learning cursive has never been just about learning how to express yourself in writing … In the early twentieth century, it’s about following models and suppressing your individuality … We get very interested in cursive when we feel that our morals are in a state of decline, all hell is breaking loose, people are doing whatever they want … And I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch that the sort of people who believe in the standard model of the family get very nervous when we depart from the standard models of the cursive script. So there have been periodic bouts of hysteria about the decline of cursive. And it’s always when we feel that as a society, we’re going down the tubes.”"

[link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/once-all-but-left-for-dead-is-cursive-handwriting-making-a-comeback/2016/07/26/24e59d34-4489-11e6-bc99-7d269f8719b1_story.html ]
cursive  handwriting  education  1996  tamarathornton  sfsh  via:austinkleon 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Finland to remove cursive handwriting from education curriculum - Education News - Education - The Independent
"Cursive handwriting will be scrapped from the Finnish education curriculum and replaced by lessons in keyboard typing, it has been announced.

The country’s education board said that the change - set to take effect in 2016 - will reflect how typing skills are more relevant than handwriting. The move has sparked debate over the future of handwriting in the classroom.

Minna Harmanen from the National Board of Education told Finnish publication Savon Sanomat that "fluent typing skills are an important national competence".

In September 2013 cursive handwriting was removed as a compulsory skill in the US, where 43 states have adopted the standard as of last year.

Misty Adoniou, senior lecturer of Language, Literacy and TESL at the University of Canberra, told The Independent: "I think they [Finland] have made a sensible decision, and it has probably come about from a sensible curriculum review.

"Cursive writing is a reflection of a time when we used a fountain pen and ink - a writing technology.

"Nobody is arguing that children shouldn't learn to write by hand. However writing technologies have continued to evolve and most of us use a keyboard of some kind to most of our written communication, so it does make sense to spend some time at school ensuring children have those keyboard skills.""
handwriting  cursive  finland  2015  curriculum  schools  education  learning  keyboarding 
march 2015 by robertogreco
How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Handwriting with Tears; Don't cry for cursive.
"Handwriting is going away. Not scribbling quick notes on pads, but the era of formal cursive handwriting, the very form of handwriting that seems to most provide these neurological benefits, is coming to an end.

The solution is not to lament the loss of cursive and not to force kids to learn cursive anyway, despite its lack of utility, but rather to find other means to stimulate related neurological processes. Is it art? Is it rock climbing? Is it baking bread? I don't know, but let's not confuse means with outcome."
assistivetechnology  dyslexia  handwriting  ableism  davidperry  rickgodden  cursive  via:ablerism 
june 2014 by robertogreco
So, What About Handwriting? «
"I definitely want to continue this conversation and, while I often write with a view or a position, I am really writing this with less of an opinion and with more of a question today.

I do come to the conversation with my own biases.  I don’t know how to handwrite.   I was slow to learn how to print and given how messy it was — and still is — I never really took to handwriting.  I don’t think I’ve missed out on not knowing how to handwrite. I can read handwritten work, sign my name but, beyond that, it has been a life of printing and, more recently, keyboarding.

I recently discussed this with several teachers in our district who suggested that handwriting is a huge hang-up — particularly for boys — and creates a level of stress that interferes with their learning.

The instruction of cursive writing is not simply teachers clinging to past practices, it is part of the curriculum."
writing  handwriting  cursive  tcsnmy  education  teaching  schools  curriculum  boys  learning 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Thinking About Cursive | The Principal of Change
"The more education a child had been allowed to have before his/her handwriting was changed over to cursive — in other words, the fewer months and years s/he had spent learning/using cursive — the larger his or her vocabulary was (as measured by the number of different words used in the student’s writing over the course of a year). The differences were huge — the kids who’d been required to do the least cursive had vocabularies THREE TIMES the size of those who’d been required to do the most cursive…"
cursive  thinking  handwriting  education  learning  vocabulary  writing  tradition  teaching  tcsnmy  schools  policy  curriculum  language  wastedtime 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Writing off cursive at Joanne Jacobs
"Cursive is important for cognitive development, writes Education Gadfly. . . . "it requires “fluid movement, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skill development,” explains Frances van Tassell, an associate professor at University of North Texas."" Weak argument. Kids can get develop eye-hand coordination and fine motor skill development through art. Another handwriting article here: http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0112/p19s03-hfes.html
handwriting  schools  education  teaching  cursive  bullshit 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Is the pen still mighty in the computer age? | CNET News.com
"Your grandchildren may use a stylus on a tablet PC instead of a Bic on tablet paper, but they will continue to write."
writing  handwriting  penmanship  communication  schools  children  curriculum  keyboarding  notetaking  cursive  instruction  teaching  learning  future  time  generations  change  development 
april 2007 by robertogreco

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