366 unusual things: days 239 – 243

26th Aug – Found out that lactose-free cream can’t be whipped.

27th Aug – A 10 year-old told me about a scorpion.  It’s a dirt bike trick where the rider throws his body up off the seat, curling his legs up and back like a scorpion’s tail.

28th Aug – Taught English to an ambassador.  That’s a first!

29th Aug – Read that some of Marcel Proust’s lines are the longest in English literature.

Illustration of a sentence by Proust, from ‘How Proust can change your life’, Alain de Botton, pp. 32, 33

30th Aug – My students never write in cursive (running writing).  One 13 year-old said he had one-hour cursive writing lessons once a week when he was in Year 3 (8 y.o.), but he didn’t like it and prefers to print.  What is truly amazing to me is that teachers give them the choice.

7 Replies to “366 unusual things: days 239 – 243”

  1. The reversion from cursive to print is interesting observation; I found that I reverted to print during my time as a student/tutor at University for notes that were to be read by others and especially for text that was to be used on white boards or copied by others.
    This was 20+ years ago and I no longer use cursive.
    (I think there is also a link back to the writing to text requiring single character input, but I’d need to dig a bit deeper to unravel that part of the transition.)

  2. Thanks for your comment; I’m so pleased to know someone reads my stuff. I’ve only recently observed that no young people, not even my own adult sons, write in cursive any more. All the adults I know who are, say, 30 or over, do. This is a very big loss to our culture. And now I find myself printing for my students because they can’t read my running writing, no matter how neatly I write. Young people are now recording all their thoughts with a keyboard of some sort, and this is happening from the earliest school days. An art form has been abandoned. I feel like holding cursive writing classes.

  3. I notice how the sign or shape impacts on meaning. In this case, the snake line of the sentence changes the way I look at Proust writing and adds a lot of interest. It is even fun.

  4. I agree, it is fun! But I wonder why a writer would write something which would annoy his reader. As Alain de Botton says on the page above, this sentence is almost 4 metres long. I love the way he’s taken one art form and transformed it into another. (Yet even in these lovely curves, the sentence to me was still unreadable; I couldn’t finish it.)

  5. My son attended a public school for a few years and they spent very little time teaching cursive. Later, in 5th grade, he transferred to a private school where they insisted that everybody from second grade on use cursive. But, nobody wanted to teach him and they didn’t want to send him to the 1st grade classroom for instruction. As an adult, he has no idea how to write except for printing. My writing is not very legible, but I think he finds it difficult to read anyone’s cursive. It has officially been removed from the curriculum where I live. Sad.

  6. Thanks for your comment, Anne. I can’t think of any reason for this loss except for the changes in how we communicate, just as I’m doing right now on this blog, pressing keys. Yesterday I saw a journal from 1849 written in beautiful copperplate script which for that writer would have been his everyday writing. It’s now seen as calligraphy. Yet it was exactly the same copperplate I was taught in the 1960s and that I still use every day. I suppose schools remove it from the curriculum because they have so many other things to teach now, like IT.

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