Guest AbbyMac

Cursive Writing

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    Guest AbbyMac

    Hi there,

    My daughter is 6 years old and has just started in an Aussie state primary school. She's entered into Year 1. For the last 2 years while attending a normal state school in England she has been taught cursive (joined up) handwriting. Over the last few days she has been coming home some what distressed saying that her teacher can't read her writing and she needs to print her letters and not join them up, 'they don't do it in my class'.

    So I had a quick chat with her teacher who confirmed that, no they don't teach joined up writing, she now needs to print her letters. So basically un-do/un-learn all that she has been taught in the uk. I came away from talking to the teacher thinking, yeah ok, she needs to fit in and i don't want her to worry. But on reflection, does it really matter? Should i accept the 'un-handwriting' sheets to practice at home?

    Handwriting is so individual and unique to that person. As long as it is legible and neat (more so than a Dr's) what's the real problem? Is she going to be tested on it in school?

    I know through experience that when a Spanish or French (European educated )pupil enters the UK teaching system that they are not 'pulled' up on their handwriting.

    Any other parents out there experienced similar problems?

    Abby

    :skeptical: &:arghh:

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    Guest loopylisa

    I was educated in the Australian school system until I was almost 16. I was never 'tested' on my handwriting on recollection but was pulled up for it being messy. I also know from experience what it's like to move across systems and I feel personally you want to be doing everything you can to make that transition as easy as possible. However, you are the parent ultimately and you know what is right for your child. She might just 'unlearn' in time.

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    Guest Adelaide_bound
    Hi there,

     

    I know through experience that when a Spanish or French (European educated )pupil enters the UK teaching system that they are not 'pulled' up on their handwriting.

     

    This isn't always the case - if I get a student that you can't read the writing of, they will be pulled up on it, no matter where they are from or how they are doing it (I have to say, generally the kiddies I get from overseas have beautiful scripting, but then I do teach KS2, so there has been longer for them to develop). Indeed I have several 'odd' handwriters in my class who write in a very bizarre way (as far as the school are concerned) but have lovely handwriting, so its not an issue. On the other hand I have many (mainly boys - thats another conversation though) children who's handwriting is appalling, despite holding pencil correctly and so on - where this is the case I take them back a step and drop the joined up, and we go back to printing.

     

    This isn't a very fashionable view, I know because I have been at the mercy of a couple of parents' wrath, who think I'm trying to mentally scar their children for life, when all I am trying to do is help them become writers where people can actually read their handwriting. It is something that is assessed in the UK system at various points (in English), but even in subjects where it isn't it is something that as an exam marker I know is really important. Humans mark exam papers - the second I pick up a paper I am making judgements - I try not to and be as impartial as I can to various things, but at the end of the day I am a human and therefore sometimes these things happen sub consciously. Those candidates with nicer, easier to read, handwriting put me in a good mood and therefore are more likely to get a better mark. I would stress here this is NOT something I do consciously, but it is human nature and whilst I try and guard against it, you just can't help it to a certain degree. However, whether this is right or wrong, its a fact - and therefore I want to give each of my little charges the best possible chance in later exam life, good handwriting can help with that. I don't know if the system is the same in Aus (I've yet to look into exams over there) however I would guess that at least some exams are marked by human rather than just computer marking and therefore it does play a part in exam life.

     

    Obviously this is all a long way off for your daughter, I was just saying all of that to kind of explain where I am coming from really - either the teacher is talking rubbish, in which case don't stress about it and smile and nod when you talk to the teacher and explain it all to your child, like she has to play a game when at school or something. Or the teacher isn't talking rubbish an considers your daughters handwriting not neat/legible enough and therefore wants to help her by taking her back a step. You obviously know your daughter better than anyone, so only you can say - is your daughter's handwriting a bit ropey (I know she's only 6, so in context lol), or is it beautiful?

     

    Hope that helps a bit - one more thing, it could possibly also be a school thing - maybe if you do think your daughter really doesn't need it ask the teacher - the amount of things I have to do that are completely nutty, but because the school want them done that way I don't have any say in the matter....

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    At the end of the day you are in Ozz now so do as the Ozzies do.

     

    Ah I tire of hearing this. Its wheeled out so many times and is a bit of a cop out in some situations, this being one I feel. It doesn't help or support the OP and its not constructive in the least IMO.

     

    I think you need to consider this is a 6 year old child AbbyMac is talking about. Not an adult who you can more easily use this reasoning/logic with. Consider the child may be upset and can't fully understand the reasons behind being asked to suddenly change her writing from the way she has been taught. And that it is hard to suddenly just change the way you write, even at an early age.

     

    I realise considering not doing the writing homework sheets is maybe a possible bone of contention, but doing things the Aussie way isn't so straighforward if you are 6. There is more to the picture than simply saying pull your boots up and do it their way to a 6 year old who is upset with the situation.

     

     

     

    AbbyMac, if you as the parent are happy with your child's writing but don't mind them changing their taught style over time I'd suggest just seeing how things go, not making a big deal out of it for her. As she is upset by it so far I'd consider a more gentle approach and just letting her develop her own style as she goes for the time being. She may start to do her writing un-joined but it may remain joined up. But once she is more confident and knows she has your support, even if its in a hands off way, she may be happier to try her writing in an unjoined up way and find it happens more easily. Let her play around with the sheets perhaps, don't make them a 'thing' just have them there if she feels like having a try. Do some research on the subject in the meantime so you can be more up on why its being taught this way in school and how to go about helping her make the transition in her writing style if that's where this goes.

     

    Its my understanding this is going to be how things go in the UK in future years and handwriting as we know it will be phased out lesson wise. Typing is taking over, handwriting style, joined up, italic, isn't considered as important as it once was. No longer are our essays written by hand, but typed and printed out. Letters, coursework, its all done via a keyboard.

     

    If joined up writing isn't being taught, chances are she'll develop into doing it in an unjoined style. Just be happy to go along with her at her pace for now I would say and tell the teachers you are not going to push her because its upsetting her, but that you will be positive and encourage her and when she is more ready you will try tackling the sheets. Kids at that age often have handwriting that is hard to read, joined up or not so I'd not fret overly. Ask her teachers not to make it a thing at school (and tbh they should be able to read a childs writing, joined or not I'd hope) and that if they can't understand something, to just ask her in a nice way what is says, not telling her they can't read it or don't understand it. Or to ask you for some input into what she is writing. It can't be a change that will happen overnight and while I think in the longer term her handwriting style will change, making it a big thing now doesn't sound like its going to be helpful. I'm sure with a bit more positive support from the teachers rather than negative she'll feel more confident and willing to give the sheets and the new handwriting style a try.

     

    ETA - Adelaide_bound gives some good advice I think also. Her POV is obviously coming from teaching. The going back to basics thing is something I apply with children in my care if the need is there for whatever reason. It can seem harsh but it shouldn't be, not if its handled properly. In the long term it often helps more doing this than struggling along on that next level and then failing with it or not grasping it fully and getting swept along further and further with less and less understanding.

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    Perhaps when ready do a bit of handwriting practice at home with both styles. Let your daughter write something joined up for the fridge door (say a few words about a picture she has drawn) and then do some more unjoined up handwriting for practice for school (and that she can show her teacher hopefully and get some positive feedback on it). So its slowly making the transition without pressurising her and she doesn't have to feel she has just got to change overnight or give up the style she is used to suddenly.

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    Guest Nick11

    When we originally came over here my daughter was a year 5. In her end of year school report she was heavily critised for using the cursive style!!! Go figure. Her handwriting was beautiful and definately a level 4 plus in sats!!! She is now a year nine. When I see her friends handwriting...I am shocked. I couldn't decipher some of her birthday cards ...looked more like a reception kids writing in some of the boys cases.

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    We had exactly the same when we moved over. Our kids had been taught cursive from day one at primary in England - there had been some sort of research that showed learning and unlearning certain styles was counterproductive I think. Anyway, I spoke to the teachers here and they were really helpful - they were happy for mine to carry on in the style they had been taught. Perhaps try another visit to the teacher - you could always do a bit of internet research on the pros and cons, there must be something around - and nicely point out that as they're going to end up doing cursive eventually, it's a bit daft to unlearn it now!

     

    I have to say, I was really lucky with my kids aussie teachers. They were really helpful and understanding (at primary!)

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    Guest Janine3979

    Hi, My daughter had the same problem and I think the main problem is that cursive writing in the early stages can look messy and if the teacher is not used to decifering it they may have a problem working on other areas of learning if they can't read her work. You could try and un-teach it so she fits in or you could try and improve her cursive handwriting so the teacher can read it, here is a website where you can create your own practice sheets http://www.handwritingworksheets.com/flash/cursive/paragraph/index.html

     

    Good luck and I would go off how your daugther feels (what would make her happier).

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    I know through experience that when a Spanish or French (European educated )pupil enters the UK teaching system that they are not 'pulled' up on their handwriting.

     

    My experience was somewhat different when I moved back from France to the UK. it was a 50-50 chance whether the teachers would rave about my handwriting or mark me down for it because they couldn't read it.

    I stuck to my guns, figuring that in any exam that counted for anything, if the examiner marked me down, I could appeal. It certainly wasn't easy going.

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    My son had this issue, and they silly thing is, now 4 years on (year 5) , he is learning cursive script again! If your teacher can be a bit more understanding it might help your daughter, I think that cursive looks messier in the early stages but develops well, whereas my son (who struggled anyway) was upset with it and had major issues with then having to try and learn another way - and now back again - and his writing is pretty poor. Think his script wouldn't have been great anyway, but I feel it suffered more beacause he was forced to learn non cursive.

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    If she is only in Year 1, then, if her cursive is unreadable, then she is going to have three teachers before cursive is actually taught. It may have changed, but I always thought cursive was taught at around Year 3 level. What is she going to be doing in handwriting lessons for the next three years? I think she is young enough to go with the flow, and save hassles for the next three years.

     

    As a (retired) teacher, there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to read a child's handwriting, and no, you can't always ask the child to come up and read it for you. You may need to be helping other children with something, or marking writing at home.

     

    I don't believe that children can't cope with a little change in their lives at times. I believe a lot of the problem these days, is that children are not allowed (By their parents) to cope with any stresses in life, and it makes them more vulnerable later in life. If every time there is an issue, the parent tries to 'fix it' for them, then when will they learn coping skills. There is a name for that, being 'Helicopter Parents', who hover around trying to smooth the way and make sure their children never have to learn how to face a hurdle. I don't think it works for the best in the long term. (I'm also not accusing the OP of doing that at this stage, as it's more a question and not a statement of intent.)

     

    I would just be following the opinion of the teacher in this case, and see how it goes. I think we are too ready to fight with the teachers before even trying things to see how they pan out.

     

    Anyway, that's just my old-fashioned opinion. Everyone has their own views.

     

    Start by taking away the authority of a teacher, then it will be the parents, then the police and anyone else in authority, and where does society end up?

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    Guest Lisado

    Hi

     

    My son has also had this issue. He is 11 now. His writing is much neater when he writes in cursive writing and I think he is one of the few in his class who write like this (others being English too). One teacher said they couldn't read it but others have made no comment. More comments have been made by other kids in the class but I told him to continue writing the way he always has. As long as they are doing the work, I can't see a major issue.

     

    Lisa

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    At the moment all exams are handwritten here at yr 12 level and at uni, unless learning disabilities such as dysgraphia allow the person to word process.

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    If the issue is that her handwriting is illegible, then maybe she should be going back to print. If her handwriting is legible and the only real issue here is that the writing practise sheets aren't appropriate for joined up writing, then I would have thought your daughter could be accommodated.

     

    If you really feel that daughter's handwriting is absolutely fine, then maybe go have another word with the teacher.

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    Hi, My daughter had the same problem and I think the main problem is that cursive writing in the early stages can look messy and if the teacher is not used to decifering it they may have a problem working on other areas of learning if they can't read her work. You could try and un-teach it so she fits in or you could try and improve her cursive handwriting so the teacher can read it, here is a website where you can create your own practice sheets http://www.handwritingworksheets.com/flash/cursive/paragraph/index.html

     

    Good luck and I would go off how your daugther feels (what would make her happier).

     

     

     

    Thanks for the practice sheets website, Janine. I had been wondering how cursive was taught in the UK, and this has given me the information.

     

    Having looked at it, the lower case letters are not all that different from what is taught here, however the upper case letters are quite different, and, unless the little six year old has already mastered the alphabet, then she is not going to be able to learn it very easily in a South Australian school. I could see, that it may become even more of an issue if she continues to write in that way, as cursive is not taught until Year 3, and so she would have two more years, and two more teachers, where her writing may be illegible for others to read. (If that is the case at the moment.)

     

    I really do think that she would be better off to go back to print, and then learn with the other children when the time comes. The sooner she is able to work on this, the better.

     

    If she was going to get worksheets from the internet, then it would be better to get them in S.A. print, rather than continuing to try to improve on a writing style that is not used here.

     

    I found a website where the letters are shown, but my computer skills are not as good as my handwriting skills, and so I cannot just say something like, 'Click HERE', and have it appear, LOL!

     

    The website is: www.sacsa.sa.edu.au. When you get to it, click on 'Click to enter', then under Handwriting heading it says, 'The book and parent brochure can be downloaded from here, and if you click on that, you can see the printing style used.' Maybe someone with more computer expertise than myself, can find an easier way to do it.

     

    If I lived in Glenelg, I would say to send your daughter in to me, and I'd help her with it, but I live a 30 minute drive away, and I'm going to be away for a couple of weeks from next week. However, I do feel for you, as I gather you are in those first weeks, and I'm sure everything must be happening at once, and things that don't seem such a big deal to others, can seem like a big deal to you. I haven't emigrated, and don't know how I would cope with all of that, so I'm sure you're doing a great job.

     

    I sincerely hope it sorts itself out soon, but I really wouldn't be insisting on going against the grain with this one, as some short term angst may save long term difficulty, especially if your daughter is still in the early stages of learning to write legibly. It really is an important skill to learn, I feel, as messy handwriting is very difficult to read.

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    I don't believe that children can't cope with a little change in their lives at times. I believe a lot of the problem these days, is that children are not allowed (By their parents) to cope with any stresses in life, and it makes them more vulnerable later in life. If every time there is an issue, the parent tries to 'fix it' for them, then when will they learn coping skills. There is a name for that, being 'Helicopter Parents', who hover around trying to smooth the way and make sure their children never have to learn how to face a hurdle. I don't think it works for the best in the long term. (I'm also not accusing the OP of doing that at this stage, as it's more a question and not a statement of intent.)

     

     

    Totally agree with you, but I also think we underestimate how much emigrating is not just a 'little change' in a childs life. Yes they adapt quickly, but it is a major change in their life, just as it is in ours, and sometimes the little things seem like the biggest hurdles.

     

    I think children should be taught to respect and obey their teachers generally, and indeed thats what we did upon arrival, my point is, with hindsight, I might have spoken to the teacher a bit more, seen if there was an alternative solution, as I do think it was not a benefit in my sons case, his writing was not very legible in cursive, and I take your point on not being able to read it, but for over 18 months, his print was pretty much that way too! so no bonus for the teacher in enforcing change. If they are supposed to teach cursive in year 3, our school is doing a really poor job, I am going to ask at the next parent rep meeting, what the process is, as it looks as if it needs to be improved.

     

    To the OP, I don't think you should tell your child to ignore what the teacher says and carry on as she is, as that would be sending a really confusing message to her, you and the teacher need to be on the same page, but maybe speak to the teacher again alone, and go through the process of how writing is taught here, you may come out of the meeting with a clearer understanding of how it will work here, and be able to pass that confidence that this is the best way to go to your child.

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    I find this really strange as at Christie's Beach Primary where i did most of me primary education (before my ma and pa emmigrated back to the UK) you had to learn to print first and all the letters had to be formed correctly and of consistant size (upper and lower case). When you could print neatly you then moved onto cursive handwriting - all this was in pencil. To progress to a pen your cursive writing had to be of a good standard and a licence was stuck to your desk stating that you had attained the standard required to use a pen!!

     

    When i got to the UK i couldn't believe how poor my friends and other kids handwriting was - they all commented on mine and so did all the teachers at primary and high school in the UK they couldn't understand how neat and well formed everything was. I have tried to get my kids to write the way I was taught but the school they attended weren't for it - cursive straight away!!! I couldn't understand it but hey ho - their handwriting by the way is not what I would call neat.

     

    So from my experience I would be a great supporter of neat printing and then move on to cursive. However, as the world is moving on maybe they should be teaching touch typing!!

     

    By the way my writing now resembles that of a doctor - college has a lot to answer for!!

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