Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Times They Are a-Changin'

Apparently, I have always been kind of an overachiever. My mom told me that once, when I was a toddler, I refused to get out of the car for an hour until I had successfully tied my own shoes. And I remember that in third grade, because I was having such a hard time with cursive writing, I locked myself in my room and didn’t come out until I had written out an entire book in acceptable cursive.

And for what? A few short years after I nailed shoe tying, velcro became all the rage.

And now I hear that many elementary schools have stopped teaching cursive writing, claiming that it has become obsolete.

I’m not going to get all nostalgic about cursive. I’m left-handed. It was never really going to work. But its omission from the curriculum is making me think about what’s next on the chopping block.

With the advent of the calculator, is there still any point in teaching long division?

With the FDA’s decision to ease the restrictions on the lap band, will we still need PE.?

And what do you think about proper grammar? It already seems to be reinforced less and less in schools. Will it dwindle away until the spelling of a word is subjective? Will the semi-colon be dusted off and hung in a natural history museum? Or will there be a grammar renaissance?

Don’t be afraid to tell me what you really think. I’ll be okay either way. If need be, I’ll figure out something else to do with my life. I’ve always kind of wanted to be a truck driver. Or maybe I’ll catch a bus down to Zihuatanejo and see what Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are up to.

All I ask is that Heads Up Seven Up remains a classroom fixture.

12 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Grammar will always be used by writers, because it's necessary to make their prose more readable and clear in its meaning. It's not so important for those who only text, though.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Some day you'll be the "All Wise and Wonderful" keeper of the grammar knowledge. I think some grammar "rules" will slip away. Spelling? It's a crap shoot anyway.

Christopher said...

I'm actually hopeful. It may not seem like it but more people are writing now than ever before. A lot of it may be on facebook, or twitter, or in blogs but I think the more people that learn to express themselves through the word the more that people will want to learn to do it well. There might be a bit of an adjustment period and we might make new rules, but the written word is going nowhere and it has to be structured to make sense.

Hart Johnson said...

WE NEED GRAMMAR!!! *cough* I love grammar. I get how it morphs over time because of how we speak, but that should be SLOW and things that are regional should be disallowed (except y'all or yous... because 'you' really needs a plural in this blog age and I wish we'd just adopt one already so people outside of the south or New York could join)

As for cursive... i want to know how the heck people will read historic documents if they never learn what a cursive b looks like. Or f. Or T. And is there ANYTHING more fun than a cursive Z? I think not!

Tere Kirkland said...

Viva la Grammarevoluc├Čon!

I'm always worried about art, since so many schools cut funding for the arts and music. But you know PE is never going to be dumped... how else would we know who all the good athletes are? Priorities, people! ;)

PS, I still don't know how to do long division without a calculator, and my cursive is far more legible than my printing.

Julie Musil said...

I'm sad when I see kids texting with their own weird spelling of words. I worry that this will prevent them from remembering the correct way. I didn't hear this about cursive. I'm glad our sons have learned to write it, even if they might not use it. Same with grammar. (Although I'm not perfect at it, and I'm nervous when I leave posts here. Please forgive my mistakes!)

Meg O. said...

I was so mad when I heard some of my students talking about how they didn't have to learn cursive! I am a lefty, too (GO LEFTIES!!) and I managed to have great cursive and print. Yeah, it was hard, but we can do it. I love cursive and I think it should never go away!

David L Macaulay said...

I can relate, having always been a perfectionist, didn't get me anywhere, though. But I can write shorthand...

Rachael said...

My phone auto-corrects "there" to "they're" half the time, for some reason. I like that it recognizes that "they're" is an option, but I really hate that it assumes I don't know how to use it correctly. This has resulted in texts to my mom (who also has a degree in English) that I'll "be they're in a few." which makes me shake with rage.

Carolyn Abiad said...

We'll always need grammar, if only to know when we can ignore it. gtg y'all <3 :)

Theresa Milstein said...

With less face time because of more screen time, our written words are more important than ever.

As for that velcro, once you reach a certain age, you've gotta learn to do the laces. There aren't too many adult shoes with a velcro option. (Thank God.)

Organic Meatbag said...

I'm waiting for somebody to bronze my dangling participle... OK, I have to admit, I said it because that sounded really dirty...hahaha