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  • Posted by mckenziecalhoun 5 years, 11 months ago
    It's a misuse of the word "right".
    Define it and I can answer you.
    If you are referring to a human right, the idea is silly on the face of it.
    If you refer to a Constitutional right, I see no reason to repeat myself on that count.
    If you refer to "I want it and think people should have it and even be forced to participate in it" that is so common today, then according to that definition, yes, it is a right.

    One I disagree with.
    I disagree with cursive? No. We as the last bastion of reason in a world that uses words like "right" so carelessly must never be afraid to use ANY word or to make utterly clear what we mean.

    I disagree with it being anything but the latter definition of "right", that definition being a new one and without any basis in history.

    Cursive is a wonderful skill. It is not owed and it is not necessary to survival in our society.
    Whine all they wish, it does not make it a "right" in any sense that we have traditionally held, and usurping the word "right" to a new definition will confuse no one of intelligence or anyone else as long as there are people of ethics and courage willing to speak up and point out such attempts to twist words of importance like "right" into new agendas unrelated to the word.
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  • Posted by PeterAsher 5 years, 11 months ago
    It seems that the Marxists, euphemistically calling themselves Liberals, have taken to calling basic, essential, or highly desirable needs, “Rights.”

    Empirically, anything requiring the rendering of the service or property of another cannot be a Right.

    Unless, of course, it were valid that one should receive “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.”
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  • Posted by  $  Snezzy 5 years, 11 months ago
    Perhaps a century ago, no doubt with the beginning of "Progressive" reform to education, a major use of cursive was dropped: copying well-written material into a notebook.

    From time to time I find myself advising students or their parents on how to learn, without a teacher, the skills of writing and reading, and how to get an increased vocabulary. My recommendation? "Find a book or magazine article you like, one that is written in a professional style, and copy it, word for word, into a notebook. Use handwriting rather than printing, and do not use your computer at all."

    That is the method by which Ben Franklin gave himself an education.

    Why does it work? Well, the process of putting words in through the eye and slowly out through the hand allows the brain a chance to think about each word, rather than merely seeing pages move by without comprehension. When the student finds a new word, there is at least the possibility he'll look it up in a dictionary, or remark, "Oh, THAT's how that word is spelled! I hadn't realized."

    Now of course there is no fundamental right involved, but if people are going to get a good education, it's certainly wrong to cheat them by telling that some shortcut is "good enough." Shall we eliminate arithmetic and algebra, because any mathematics anyone might need can be done by computer?

    As for Latin, it was and still is, along with Greek, an important part of a good education. Even knowing "little Latin and less Greek" (my own situation) provides a tremendous advantage in learning and discovering the meanings of words, as well as granting the power to invent new words as required in the sciences. Medical terminology in particular is rendered far less obscure to those who know Greek and Latin.

    Currently I find myself pressed into needing to speak Spanish, a language I never learned in school. My faint abilities in Latin and French allow me to construct possible Spanish words. Half the time I seem to arrive at something at least comprehensible to my Mexican acquaintances who are struggling with English.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
      I don't understand "handwriting rather than printing," because printing is one form of handwriting. It is as if you had advised me to "eat fruit, rather than apples."

      Or are you redefining "handwriting" to mean only one of the several forms of handwriting — as if you re-defined "fruit" to mean "grapes"?
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      • Posted by  $  Snezzy 5 years, 11 months ago
        Using cursive script makes it less likely the student will copy only the shape of each letter. The powers of observation and of muscular control are exercised in recognizing the shapes of the printed letters and in forming the somewhat different cursive forms.

        Similar skill is used in working with other alphabets. Can you tell gimel from nun in Hebrew? Or vet from khaf? I can't, but lots of people learn how, presumably through practice.
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        • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
          My own experiences with both cursive and printing (learning them, and later teaching them, in several languages and alphabets) are that cursive has no special magic in this regard. One can — and often does — unobservantly and uncontrolledly copy from print into cursive, or _vice_versa_.

          To your questions: I started studying Hebrew at age 5 1/2, so the answer is "Yes — for both printed and cursive Hebrew" (Cursive Hebrew, by the way, dies not join its letters. Its sole differences from printed Hebrew — which are large — are in the letters' shapes.)

          Definitions of cursive (in our own alphabet) vary. Some dictionaries define cursive as writing in which all letters are joined, others (equally respected) define it as writing in which letters may join — and still others define it as writing which is "running or flowing" (cf. Latin CURSIVUS), irrespective of whether or not any of the letters join or of how they are shaped.

          How do you, yourself, define "cursive" — and what criteria did you use to decide to define it in that way and in no other?

          By the way — there are handwriting forms and methods in English which are considered "cursive" by most of their practitioners, yet are considered "not cursive" by most practitioners of other methods. Here are sine examples — http://www.BFHhandwriting.com, http://www.handwritingsuccess.com, http://www.briem.net, http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com, http://www.italic-handwriting.org, http://www.studioarts.net/calligraphy/it... — is each "cursive" or "not cursive," and why?
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  • Posted by Herb7734 5 years, 11 months ago
    When my grandson told me that they are no longer teaching cursive in our primary schools I took it as one more sign of the deterioration of public education in the USA. As to it being a "right" -- what nonsense! It would lead to any subject from Home Ec. to architecture as a "right." This kind of thinking explains one reason why the state of education is run, with some exceptions, by people with politically correct moronic attitudes.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 years, 11 months ago
    I am a big fan of hand-written notes. As I posted on my blog:
    “Thank you” is rare enough, even by email. If you want to stand out, send a handwritten note. Even if you practice often and own a passel of pens, it takes time. Making time says that you honor the recipient. You can improve your handwriting with a browse through a calligraphy book and some practice on scratch paper. You can spend 89 cents each on a three-pack of fiber calligraphy pens or you can invest $890 in a Mont Blanc fountain pen.
    http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2013/...

    The word "right" has many meanings. We have natural rights, human rights, civil rights, and contractual rights. For a student in public school - forced by law to attend - rights are the promises of the authority to deliver certain values in return for the compulsion.

    Glenn Beck apparently had a hissy fit because cursive is not universally taught. He was afraid that children would be unable to read the Constitution if they could not read cursive. Fortunately, the government provides an electronic copy (in Roman serif)
    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charter...
    This copy from the Cornell University Law Library is in San serif:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/...
    Here is an audio version from the University of Chicago Law School:
    http://www.law.uchicago.edu/audio/by/tit...

    That all being as it may, I am happy with my keyboard, but I keep several notebooks. I love a good pen.
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  • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 5 years, 11 months ago
    Archaic memes trying to survive in a high-tech world: The only reason for "cursive" writing is that it was once done with quills and ink, and the flow had to be kept going without lifting the pen from paper until the ink was all used or a big blob would drop off. In a world of ballpoints and pencils, it is absurd to require a single connected line of writing, which when poorly done is illegible. I can remember being graded on penmanship. Do schools still do that?

    My English teacher in high school, on the first day of class, laid down the rule that only printing would be allowed in her classes--upper and lower case, not all caps. I loved it and never looked back to "long-hand" and script. As a graphic artist I can admire the many beautiful fonts that have evolved since the invention of printing presses, everything from the ornate old English Gothic to the magnificent clean shapes of Helvetica.

    Then we have the antiquated form of the QWERTY keyboard that's another hard meme to dislodge. At some point more ergonomic keyboards will have to be invented for interfacing written language with machines.

    If we abandon the mechanical construction of writing and go to voice-activated writing machines, a new era of the creation of visible symbols to represent auditory expressions of human thought will arrive. But something will be lost: the conscious, objective understanding of the hierarchical structure of percepts forming concepts, and the integration of knowledge from premises to the most complex thought structures like astrophysics or global government. How will people then understand the difference between "rights" and contracts for mutual benefit by mutual consent?
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    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
      Re "Do schools still do that [teach handwriting]?" Some do, many don't ... and some of the ones that don't teach it still grade it (by removing points from the grades of the worst performers in a skill that the school doesn't teach, but wishes to causelessly "emerge.")
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    • Posted by khalling 5 years, 11 months ago
      excellent points puzzlelady. I didn't think about the quill problem, I just thought the technique was designed to speed up the writing process. I used to be amazed at how fast some people could print all their words. But now I am amazed at how fast peoples' thumbs poke out text messages on tiny phones.
      I am so ready for voice activation programs to get better.
      I'm not sure I follow your last statement.
      Perhaps I see an argument more for teaching drawing. Art has become a free for all in the public school system and basics in realistic drawing has gone to the wayside. certainly a skill that is very helpful for conceptualizing ideas.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 5 years, 11 months ago
    I'm not even sure literacy will be in the end game before too long. Voice recognition makes it possible to message someone by speaking the message, and the response spoken by the phone. Voice recognition word processing has been around for over a decade. Scanning apps exist that allow reading and verbalizing titles, prices, and payment can be made without even signing one's name (biometric recognition).

    We are on the verge of becoming a society of the educated and the uneducated, and the latter are becoming a serious drag on the nation. They are usually illiterate, living off entitlements, with no concept of how to actually earn a living.

    If the economy somehow becomes solvent again, and the job market provides opportunity to anyone willing to work, what will happen to the part of our society to whom honest labor is a foreign concept?
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  • Posted by Hiraghm 5 years, 11 months ago
    In the picture, that stylus is not being held correctly.

    While I am very, very much in favor of cursive writing being taught in school (in fact, I believe calligraphy should be taught from 3rd to 6th grade as required-to-pass courses), it of course not a basic right.
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    • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 11 months ago
      Just out of curiosity, how would you change the way the writing instrument is held? Not what would you change it to, but what would you do to change it?
      Just wonderin'.
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 5 years, 11 months ago
        First, loosen the death grip they have on it.
        It's *hand* writing, not *finger* writing.

        Second, I'd teach them to place the stylus across the first knuckle of the middle finger, rather than gripping it with the middle finger.

        It must be painful and exhausting to write very much with that death-grip on the stylus.
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        • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 11 months ago
          I agree that that kid has GOT to be in pain!
          The WAY to change it is 1} use larger pencils - that way, students can't do that finger-squishy thing; and 2] equip the pencils with the molded plastic grips which encourage the fingers to go to a less-anatomically damaging positions. Then no one has to watch them to make sure they're doing it right, they just do.
          technology good!
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          • Posted by  $  Snezzy 5 years, 11 months ago
            Some kids seem to desire to avoid the instructed method. Sometimes I teach elementary horseback riding to little kids. Some of them sit comfortably on the horse as I help them adjust to a good posture. Others flail their arms and legs about and bounce up and down, no matter how I exhort them to stay still.

            I have a feeling that underneath the rebellion is the belief that "for me this is impossible, so I'll mess it up, and that way I'm in control."
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    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
      For more on the matter (as an educational concern, of course, not as some newly proposed "right"), visit http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/201...
      For the record, I find that at least one calligraphic style (italic) is far more likely than conventional cursive to lead to a handwriting which is easily read, easily written, and error-resistant. I'd value your comments on the matter, and you may value these sites addressing it: http://www.BFHhandwriting.com, http://www.handwritingsuccess.com, http://www.briem.net, http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com, http://www.italic-handwriting.org, http://www.studioarts.net/calligraphy/it...
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      • Posted by  $  winterwind 5 years, 11 months ago
        interesting.
        My handwriting looks very like the italic shape, without the slant. I don't really remember learning to write [except for doing the Palmer method exercises], but I do remember thinking that I wanted my handwriting to look like THAT, with some of THIS, and these letters like this, and setting out to change my handwriting to look the way I wanted it to.
        I have worked as a professional calligrapher [professional is when they pay you!], I have taught calligraphy, usually to students about 10 years old, and I fiddle around with the look of letters and forms all the time.
        There is no single method by which every person learns a particular skill. The secret to learning is to find the method that works - I was particularly irritated with 2 of the sources, one which talked about "blue letters" and "red letters", and one which talked about "letter groups". Please, asked sarcastically, add another level of complexity to the subject!
        If you're wondering if learning to write italic could be a path to having nice looking, readable, quick handwriting - sure, one of them.
        What every teacher should wonder about is why the student wants to learn the subject - and if he doesn't want to, why not? Answer THAT question, and you're on the path.

        N.B. I wrote you a whole 3 more paragraphs on a common-sense way to do prep for this, which I will send you if you'd like, but you may not need it. Out of curiosity, what IS your interest here?

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        • Posted by Hiraghm 5 years, 11 months ago
          "What every teacher should wonder about is why the student wants to learn the subject - and if he doesn't want to, why not?"

          We need to stop doing that. I think it's something we've done for decades, and it's wrong.

          Back when we were a literate country, teachers didn't question "why the student does or doesn't want to learn". Teachers put the material before the students and made them study, interested or not. Learning was their job, not their hobby or playtime.
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        • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
          Further for the record: Most of my students respond well to "letter groups" practice — but I agree that there are exceptions and that a wise teacher has more than a one-size-fits-all mentality or premise.
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        • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
          Yes, please send those three further paragraphs!

          My interest here is that I teach handwriting through my business Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works, as I have done for the past couple of decades, I direct the World Handwriting Contest (both endeavors are at http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com ), and (over half a lifetime ago) I remediated my own then-incompetent handwriting by a process somewhat similar to yours. (The biggest difference between what you did and what I did was that I also read through every book I could find on handwriting's history, back to the earliest published handwriting textbook [an italic manual published in Rome in 1522].

          Ask me someday about the time (late 1996) that Martha Stewart tried to get me to lie to her readers about handwriting's history. (Stripped of details, the "Cliff's Notes" version is this: late in 1996 or 1997, I'd been interviewed by her top reporter for a story on handwriting and how to improve it, and had been specifically asked to address the history of the skill. The reporter later called me again and said that "Martha needs me to get you to change the history of handwriting for this article, so that she and her audience can better relate to it. The cursive we have today needs to be made to come chronologically first, with italic being its remote descendant. She doesn't like your having it the other way around — so, if you won't sign off on this rewritten version of your interview that she has prepared for your approval, ALL of your material will be cut from the story."
          Key me know if you're interested in hoe I managed to ensure instead that the story WOULD go to print with my material preserved and handled accurately: which. I later learned from the same reporter, was the first time that any interviewee had EVER accomplished that when Ms. Stewart had decided that the facts on any matter "needed" to misrepresented because "that is what the public will 'relate' to: it fits what they already believe."

          For the record: much italic (nowadays, and from the time of its origin) lacks even the small slant which italic usually has.
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