Students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade in the Knoxville School District continue to learn handwriting through the “Handwriting Without Tears” program.
West Elementary Principal Mike Montgomery, who oversees the instruction of all Kindergarten through 1st grade students in Knoxville, says he and teachers at West feel that students need to be taught clear, legible handwriting as it is the first step in acquiring written communication skills.
John Keitges, Principal at Northstar Elementary, which houses the district’s 2nd through 5th graders, says he believes that at this point handwriting is still important as it is still a major way of communicating for many. However, he says with the increase in technology, he thinks handwriting may not be focused on as much in the upper levels but the basics will still need to be taught to elementary students. Montgomery agrees abd says he feels that their youngest students will need to be affective legible communicators in written language on into the future as typing is a skill that is most readily acquired in the upper elementary grades.
Though both printing and cursive are currently part of instruction in Knoxville, Keitges says he struggles with the concept and purpose of cursive writing as nothing anyone reads in books, magazines or online is in cursive. He says note taking is primarily done electronically this days through lap top computers and hand held devices and students are becoming very quick at typing and texting.