Do you think that today's society places less value on handwriting skills?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do you think that today's society places less value on handwriting skills?

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Have you ever seen pictures of the Vatican library with its row upon row of handwritten volumes preserved for history's sake? How about monks, vowed to silence, stooped over writing desks recording the country's civic and religious history? Until this century, the written word was the only form of written communication. Record keeping, letter writing, and the preservation of personal history were all done with the written word. In these cases, the written word refers to the actual putting of pen to paper.

Today, handwriting is becoming obsolete. Typewriters, Xerox machines and computers have revolutionized record keeping and communication of all forms. Whereas in the past, handwriting skills were valued and practiced, today the art of handwriting is lost. A staggering majority of the teachers who took this poll, over 90% in fact, believe that today's society places less value on handwriting skills.

The results aren't surprising. Skills like calligraphy are art forms and beautiful handwriting is nice, but it doesn't get you a job, at least not for the majority of people. Students need to learn technological skills in order to be relevant in the work place. The number of jobs involving handwriting in the past was far greater than today. Couple that with the fact that many people couldn't read or write and you had a situation where people with good handwriting skills were valued. Today, when literacy rates are far higher and the average person can produce legible writing, it's typing and computer skills that are valued.

The speed of society also doesn't allow for the use of handwriting for many business purposes either. Typing an email and sending it half way around the world in a matter of seconds is far more typical for today's society than old fashioned snail mail.

Is it sad that handwriting is going the way of the dodo bird? Of course it is. Seeing beautifully crafted letters adorning a crisp clean page is a wonderful experience. A type written sheet produced on common photocopy paper does not have the same effect at all. As with most things, convenience and speed have won out. It is far faster and easier to whip off a letter on the computer than writing it by hand. Many things in the modern world are the same. When was the last time you saw someone down by the river washing their clothes by beating them with a rock? In some cases, modernization is not a bad thing.