Finland will soon slowly eradicate handwriting in their schools, with children starting school in 2016 set to learn how to touch type instead. Cursive handwriting will no longer be compulsory and will be replaced with keyboard typing throughout Finnish schools.
The Age reports that Finland’s National Board of Education spokeswoman Minna Harmanen said they acknowledge the major cultural shift that the change will bring but typing skills are more relevant now.
Schools can still opt to teach children handwriting skills, however it won’t be a necessary part of the curriculum. According to a British survey of 2000 people, one third of the respondents said they had not written anything by hand in sex months. With life turning towards digital day-by-day, is handwriting really crucial?
And will Australia phase out handwriting? Perhaps – font styles in Australian schools are changing and time spent learning how to write correctly has gone from 45 minutes a day to five minutes, reports The Age.
But what about those children who don’t have computers at home? Could ditching handwriting have sad economic consequences? And what if the technology fails? Susanna Huhta of the Association of Native Language Teachers defended handwriting, telling the BBC it helps children develop fine motor skills and brain function.
It sounds preposterous to let hand writing to fall by the wayside, but it’s not the first time our generation have (or will) become the holder of a skill that has become superseded – think: shorthand, typewriting and so on. Imagine a world where your children can’t write a letter….
Handwriting is just not a valued skill in this world anymore, but do you want to give it up that easily? If the schools eventually don’t want to teach it, would you teach your grandchildren instead? What is handwriting still useful for in our society?