Friday, March 5, 2010


Believe it or not, I've taught ESL for nearly 20 years and have only recently learned that most of my students can't read cursive handwriting. However, being international students with high respect for instructors, none ever told me this.
As a child, I was fantastic in cursive writing class. My fourth grade teacher said I didn't have to practice any more because I could perfectly copy those posters hung in the classroom. They were green, always near the ceiling, and each showed a letter as it was to be written reaching either to the first line or second line. Yes, I rocked at cursive.
Today, however, I scribble something that is a cross between cursive and print. I believe most American adults write like this. All these years of writing on the board and no one mentioned it was illegible. At first I thought mostly the Arabs couldn't read it. I learned today that my Chinese students can't read it either. I wrote their names on the board with the fancy, near-calligraphy-but-how-I-learned-to write-cursive-capitals of  "G", "Z", "F" and "Q". They were shocked! They had no idea what those letters stood for. I then googled "cursive handwriting" and attached the file to the class website.

1 comment:

  1. I've been teaching ESL for 6 years and agree that most adult students whose first languages use other alphabets cannot read English cursive--and won't say so. There's no time in the curriculum to teach it, either. Good handouts are important!

    Love the name of this blog, I also learn something new every day teaching ESL.