Saturday, September 07, 2013


OK, I get it that teachers are no longer teaching cursive.  That curriculum has been pushed out with the emphasis on the language arts block and the math block, leaving little time for cursive writing.  It is even a struggle to include social studies and science.  But this rant is aimed at teaching PRINTING.  I have subbed for 3rd through 6th graders recently.  In each of these classes, the MAJORITY of the students didn't even print correctly on their papers.  There was a mixture of capital and small letters, with B's and P's being the biggest culprits, but many other letters capitalized at random.  One student even wrote half of her B's correctly, but the other half incorrectly.  When I asked her why she didn't write them correctly, she said she didn't think it was important.

Another boy, who did the same thing said that he usually types things on the computer.  Ah, ha!  A clue.  Has auto-correct gotten to be so good that students don't even notice when they are typing the wrong thing?  Of course, on the computer, it is easier not to type capital letters at all.  MS Word will even correct sentences to automatically capitalize the first word.  Some students don't even seem to know that the word "I" is always capitalized.  And, they seem unconcerned by all of their errors.

The assignment for the 5th graders was to write up a science experiment.  Specifically, they were to write a conclusion, with three requirements:  1) they had to restate their hypothesis, 2) they had to include their data, and 3) they had to use complete sentences.  They could also state whether their hypothesis was supported or not and whether their experiment seemed to be reliable.  Only about 5 of the students managed to write a conclusion what was acceptable their first time around.  Many of the write-ups were almost illegible.  To be fair, it would have helped if the worksheet had included lines on which to write the conclusion, and it is the beginning of the school year.  Still, I felt justified, even as a sub, in sending them back to improve their written conclusions.

There are still times when students will need to use printing, as far as I can tell.  I think teachers should hold students to printing the letters with correct capitalization - and spacing, which was another problem I haven't even touched on.  One word would run right into another word and it was hard to decipher which word was which, because, frequently, both were misspelled.  Even the word "hypothesis" was usually misspelled - and it was there for them to simply copy.

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